by Craig de Borba, founder of Onpoint Internet Marketing
If you’re starting a business and wondering how you can generate momentum, you’ve come to the right place. One of the simplest and strongest methods to beef up the effectiveness of your campaign is building an online business community.
An online business community is not just the number of followers on your Twitter account; it’s a network of people who care about what you are doing and what you represent. They might have a similar passion or be consumers of the particular product you aim to sell. In either case, they are your cheerleaders. They can be the positive foundation on which you spread your business. Their excitement can translate into invitations or recommendations to others, resulting in a business that reaches farther and gathers more revenue.
Now that we’ve established why an online business community is important, it’s time to figure out the details of how to build it. Try this 3-step method:
1. Start with Conversation.
Part of the reason behind an online presence is to start meaningful conversations with the public. First, seek out those who are already talking about your product, service, or industry. Extend appreciation for praise. Offer advice. Make helpful suggestions. The public will respond positively to being part of your world, leading to excitement for your company over the competition.
2. One by One.
Many companies rush into a social presence, gaining as many followers as fast as possible without ever stopping to assess those who are being built into the community. This kind of community rarely engages, interacts, or benefits your business at all. However, if you seek out those interested in your brand one by one, you’ll be creating a community that eventually builds upon itself. You want advocates, not numbers.
3. Leverage Connections.
Building an organic business strategy and community takes time. You can help it go a little bit faster by remembering to invite your existing communities. If you meet people in person, remember to mention or direct them to your online community. If you have a newsletter or email subscription, link to your online community so that those who are already interested can easily connect.
Allowing Your Online Business Community to Market for You.
Once your community is established, the online presence of your business will grow so long as you continue tending to it. Keep communicating with your public, share your goals and new offerings, and be true to your startup. Doing so will help more and more potential customers find your business and begin to develop a relationship.
Remember that having a personality is good! The root of relationship is “relate” and if your online business community cannot relate, it won’t be inspired to market for you.
Need help creating your online business community? It starts with a strong web presence and marketing plan. Write your comments below and let us know what your plan is.
Craig de Borba is the founder of Onpoint Internet Marketing, a Sacramento based SEO company driving more traffic and conversions to local businesses since 2010.