You’ve decided to take the plunge into creating a digital community. You’ve recognized the importance of a strong community and the benefits that it can provide not only to your brand, organization, business or association, but also to your members, customers and potential clients. Now what?
What steps do you take today to get your digital community off the ground and to create a thriving environment that works to meet your needs and objectives? It’s simple. There’s 5 easy steps that will get you moving in the right direction, and I’m going to share them with you.
1. Start in the Right Place
Yes. Facebook is an excellent community…for individuals. Sure, Twitter is a great place to broadcast a message…as long as you catch your followers at the right time, before a message is buried beneath hundreds or thousands of others. Instagram can be fun, but there are only so many photos that can be shared before your users get bored. LinkedIn? Also a great network, especially for the professional, job hunting or networking crowd.
However, as a brand, you’re probably looking for something more. Something that’s customized to work in the way that you do, that allows you to connect with customers, clients and members without distractions…that also allows them to connect with one another. The motive is the same for any network, but it’s the core function that varies. By choosing a platform – like Social HubSite – that’s dedicated to helping brands connect with their communities, you’re taking the first step in the right direction, you’re choosing the platform that’s right for you and for your goals.
2. Communicate With Your Core
A great community starts with strong, reliable members. Think it through, you already have them, they just might not be online. Who are your regulars? Who are your customers that regularly share your company with their peers? Associations, who are your members that can be relied upon to come through when no one else will? These are your first adopters, your brand ambassadors who will likely become you first – and strongest – members.
Reach out to them, along with the rest of your email list. If you don’t have one, start one soon. Ask for an email address at checkout, create a lead form on your site and get creative. Share the reason for your community and encourage them to check it out and participate. They’ll likely jump on board without much convincing.
3. Generate Excitement
A community needs excitement to grow. You can provide it!
By sharing your own excitement and the reason behind your new community, it will spread quickly. Share that you want to build relationships with your customers, that feedback matters to you and that you believe in your community. A little thanks and some serious honesty can go a long way. Use it to your advantage and create a sense of excitement from day 1.
4. Provide Incentives
Sometimes excitement isn’t enough. I recognize that. But, it doesn’t mean that it’s an obstacle that cannot be overcome. It just takes a little creativity. A little bit of an incentive can go a long way.
Look into ways to thank your most frequent posters – no stress, the team here at Social HubSite is looking into gamification options to make your life simple in this regard. However, until that happens, a personalized note, a coupon, a gift card or monetary prize can provide the push your members need to get active and to share your community with others.
5. Keep it Simple
No one wants to take the time to learn ANOTHER social network or to have to figure something new out. For this reason, we believe that the most successful branded digital communities are simple. They’re straightforward and they tie into how social networking already works.
Ask your current community to join your new online community. Make the web address simple, keep the link on your homepage and post content that matters. Combining simplicity with the other ideas above might be all it takes to get your community moving in the right direction.
Still need a little assistance? Contact us and ask! We’re here to provide the support you need to grow effectively.