Building a community is like the holy grail of marketing.
If you attract an engaged group of potential buyers in a closed-off communication circuit, they become highly susceptible to purchasing from you.
It sounds simple enough. But like any great thing, achieving it requires consistency and hard work. You can’t expect to see results overnight. You need a strategy. And the first step of that strategy is to:
Grow an audience
Because when you’ve got a network of engaged individuals, leveraging them into a community becomes a much easier proposition. And thankfully, there’s a long list of different ways to build an audience. For example:
- Start a podcast
- Start a blog
- Start a newsletter
- Publish an online course
- Create a regular video series or YouTube channel
There’s an option for everyone. It all comes down to defining the audience you want to attract, identifying where they hang out, creating content they’ll want to consume, and engaging with them consistently. The goal is to become a point of reference; someone your audience expects and is eager to hear from.
It requires time and effort, but it’s worth it. An engaged audience can reap results if you leverage it right. Here are a few tips worthy of attention, that will help you build your audience.
Choose your avenue wisely
Once you’re defined your ideal audience, work to understand where it hangs out. There’s no point becoming the number one question-answerer on Quora if that’s not where your audience is. Choosing the right platform can make or break your efforts to build a community. So be observant, be inquisitive, and choose wisely.
Have a strong mission
How are you making a difference in the market? There’s no point in building an audience of numbers. You want to attract a community of individuals who could, at some point, buy from you. The “more” isn’t necessarily the “merrier” in this context; you want to attract the right kind of people.
Having a strong value proposition helps you both differentiate yourself from your competitors and ensure you attract individuals who want to support to your mission; people who will help you make it a reality. Consider how you’re adding value; why should people join your community?
Do more than sell
You built this audience with the intention of selling to them. So, great, go ahead, sell away. But it’s super important that you don’t spend the bulk of your time on the community just selling to them. It’s one of the surest ways to lose their interest.
Instead, try engaging in meaningful conversations. Answer their questions, share a funny story, offer advice, and pay attention to what your audience is saying too; what are their concerns? What do they want? What’s annoying them? Discussions amongst them can inform your business decisions; help you come up with new ideas and guide your future content.
Remember it’s a long game. Strengthen your community’s commitment to you and your brand first through genuine engagement, and only then do you go in for the sale.
Get to really know your audience
Don’t execute on your plan without considering your options. Pick up the phone and get to know your audience. Ask them questions that will help you better understand what your audience needs and wants. See where you and your product or service fit into the picture; how can you capture some of their demand?
Keep an eye on the most engaged members of your community and gradually work to turn them into advocates of you and your brand. You can send them merchandise, for example, something they can in turn showcase and indirectly promote your brand.
Think how your decisions influence you now, and in the future. Build a community growth roadmap that will carry you into the future, along with your audience, and reward those loyal enough to come with you.
Building and maintaining a community isn’t easy. It requires strategic planning and consistent execution. You need to be prepared to dedicate time every day towards building and nurturing relationships with your audience, listening, engaging, answering, sharing. It takes hard work and dedication. But get it right, and your efforts are sure to be worth it.