Identifying an online community for your business is an essential step towards expanding your online presence and the reach of your brand. It is an ongoing process and requires a significant time investment, but we’ve come up with some key strategies to organize and simplify the process.
- Determine who you want in your audience and how you can connect with them. To do this, you need to be clear on what you have to offer and what makes your business unique, along with what you’d like to accomplish. In order to build relationships that matter, you need to provide relevant and interesting information that leads to audience engagement, while making sure you are targeting an audience that will help meet your business objectives.
- Focus on quality over quantity. If you focus on strategically building relationships with people and companies that truly matter to your business, your online community should naturally grow. If you focus on numbers, you could end up with a lot of unengaged audience members who won’t contribute to your success.
- Consider factors that can point you towards online community opportunities, including:
- Your business’ overall target audience
- Who your competitors are
- What organizations you belong to, or could join
- Who you follow, respect, or read online
- Who your industry’s leaders are
- Determine where your target audience is already engaged online in social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can use data analytics to find options and filter down your choices according to information such as industry and location, as well as by quality indicators including activity, relevance, and followers. It’s a good idea to focus on a mix of high profile leaders as well as smaller prospects that might be easier to engage with directly.
- Identify blogs that offer connection opportunities. You probably will discover relevant blogs while researching social media possibilities. You can also use search strings to uncover more opportunities to engage and connect through blogs. As with social media, evaluate blogs by considering quality, relevance, engagement, and authority. Keep in mind that a mix of high and low profile blogs can work in your favor, since lower profile but still relevant blogs will generally be easier to partner with to advance both your goals.
- Prioritize and build gradually. Use consistent, thoughtful, and strategic effort.
- Continue to identify online community opportunities as your business grows. Revise your strategies as needed.
Identifying your online community is an ongoing process that should be fully integrated with your overall online marketing efforts. When done strategically and with full use of relevant data, you can create an online community that helps provide service, support, and knowledge to your customers, builds your brand, supports your business, and, in doing so, advances your search rankings. For more information on how to identify and build an online community for your business, please contact Zephoria.