I often give marketing advice to small business owners looking for support on community building. It can definitely be an area that causes stress, trying to think about whether your business has a community around it.
Whether you feel a connection with your customers, followers, or whatever word you use to describe the people you serve, or not I hope these 10 suggestions will help you.
Marketing Advice to start your online community
Would you say that you could identify your biggest business supporters right now?
Starting an online community is really about how you nurture the connection you have with people who care about what you do. It's about looking at the ways there are to reach out and deepen what you already have.
Without further delay here are my 10 marketing ideas that may help strengthen your community
1. Create a community event Once per week let people know where to find you. Make it all about them. Help them in some way. Give knowledge, help them find like-minded people whatever. This works well for Facebook Groups where you host a themed day for your group. It could be to help people promote themselves (always a good way to build connection among small business owners) it could be to offer people a place to share problems and find solutions. It could be an accountability event where people say what they commit to completing before the week is out. 2. Find a great PR source for you
Get featured in a place that your people will see or hear. They will be so proud to see your articles or other features. One of my tips is to look up the hashtag Journorequest on Twitter and see what PR you could attract.
3. Invite people to share their photos with you
Your supporters will be very happy to generously share photos of themselves enjoying your business offering. All you need to do is ask. To encourage sharing you could create a branded hashtag, and regularly feature the photos of people who use it.
4. Ask for reviews
Your supporters want to help you and great reviews do that. Reviews on your Google My Business page will really help your SEO. Positive reviews generate business. Your loyal supporters want to help you so let them!
5. Start/maintain a mailing list
Create valuable content and send regularly. Make your mailings generous, and not sales led. Email marketing is still incredibly important, in fact it might be the most important way of connecting with your customers.
6. Speak at events that your community can benefit from
Look for regular opportunity to do this. A good place to start is speaking in your own community places, whether you have a Facebook Group or page. Then going wider. Look for other pages that invite speakers. Networking groups are always a good place to try if in doubt of where to begin.
7. Ask your network what they need
Social media is great for regularly asking your customers what they need from you. New products have been launched in exactly this way. If you find out all your customers want a new service then launch it! Or someone else will.
8. Write or record something just for them
A short ebook. A helpful blog/video/podcast. Make sure you let them know it's there.
9. Find others like you with a similar audience
Look for ways to collaborate. Your joint efforts help both of your people gain value.
10. Create a challenge your supporters can join in with
Could you give them 5 days of activity to entertain and help them improve at something? They'll be glad of your time and attention.
I've heard marketing described in many ways but ultimately it is about building a connection with the people you hope to serve.
I really hope that this blog has given you some new marketing ideas.
Why not try one idea per week and see which ones work for you.
Thanks for reading
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Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London. Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.