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A Quick Guide to Online Community Building

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General principles of Community Building

What every business needs is a team that is active 24/7/365 who want to spread the word about what you do.
This is the equation. Generate passion, include them in the process of growing and developing your business and they will tell the world on your behalf.
But you need to make it easy for them. As such, here are some tips:

1. Choose a Home Base for your community.
This could be on Social Media, but make sure the ‘home base’ for your community is one that is likely to hang around.
Personally, we tend to use Slack now as it is ‘platform agnostic’ and super easy to learn how to use it.

2. Offer something to community members that will make them feel special e.g. events, and access to key team members.
Think about giving people something they get by ‘stepping over the red velvet rope’ - it could be exclusive access to people, information, releases of new versions of software, ideas, events etc.

3. Look at all your existing social media channels and find your top 10, 50 or ideally 100 engagers. These people are waiting to be invited behind the velvet rope.
You may well already have an engaged community, but now is your chance to bring them together in once place.

4. Supply quality information to your community members first. Include them in your story.
To do this, you may exclude all offers and information going to everyone else.
Put your community first.

5. Make it about them.
Create stories about community members and the success they are experiencing. Promote them.
Help spread the word by boosting the profiles of your members.

6. Help fellow members to connect with each other across all platforms - this will generally strengthen the network and allow your information to flow more readily (i.e. people are more likely to see the content shared by others if they are connected)

7. Know, someone needs to ‘lead’
Not only that, but they also need to know what they are talking about!
If they are not an expert in the ‘thing’ relating to the community then they need to up their skills. Why? Well, they need to be seen as an authentic voice - then people will listen.

8. Set up a watercooler channel
This is a place where ‘anything goes’ for community members - they can chill out and connect on unrelated community matters. This frees everyone up a lot.
Also, ideally, encourage people to ‘Hangout’ together using video calls. It connects people in new ways and makes them feel part of something.
(Thanks Sheila Hensley for the name)

9. Listen to feedback
It is the community that decides whether they engage. If they are not happy, then it doesn’t matter how hard you push them. You need to adjust what you do, just as if you were surfing.

10. Look at the stats
Using Slack, for instance, you receive a notification of the people who have not engaged during the past 7 days. This gives you an opportunity to reach out and see how they are doing.
It is all about building and sustaining relationships, and as a brand who is building a community you want to make sure you re-engage those who may have dropped away.

community building

Finally...

Community building is a must for brands looking to grow in a multi-channel world. Trust me, we can help. Click here and get in touch!