Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site.
Have you noticed that the top brands of the world today all have a strong community of customers?
Brands like Nike, Starbucks, and Apple have avid customers who essentially identify with the brands and share their values.
In this post, I’d like to share why you should start building a community around your business right away. And I’ll also show you some practical ways to get people to connect with your business on an ongoing basis. Let’s get started!
There are several advantages to building an online community for your business. Here are some of them:
Today, it isn’t enough to create a website, market your product, and keep pushing your brand. People prefer to work with brands that have a deeper connection to them. By making an effort to build a community, you create the opportunity for your customers to do more than just buy your product - you can get them to relate to your business and advocate for you online and in person.
We’ve looked at why you should build a business community. Let’s look at specific ways to bring people together and create discussions around your products and services.
Create a membership site
The most impactful step you can take is to build a membership portal on your website. A membership setup allows you to place content behind a gateway that approved users can access by logging in.
Why do this?
When you have a membership site that the public can't access, you create exclusivity with your brand. You can also ensure that any discussions that take place center around the right topics.
You’ll be able to position your content and your website as offering higher value and give users a reason to sign up for your membership content.
So, use a simple membership plugin for your WordPress site, and you’ll have everything you need to create a community around your brand and site.
It’s virtually guaranteed that all of your customers are active on social media. And this is why creating groups on social media will make it easy for you to connect with your audience. Creating forums and groups on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are completely free.
You can set up private or public groups and create rules for the kind of content discussed in your groups. It’s also easy to share images, host live chat sessions and live videos on social media.
A Facebook Community around the WPBeginner Blog where people can ask questions
Make sure that your brand is present and active on social networks by posting content regularly. You also want to keep redirecting your audience to visit your website and sign up for your newsletter, so you can connect with them via email.
Email newsletters are also a great way to bring people together around a brand. Sending a newsletter regularly keeps you in touch with your audience and also builds a sense of community.
Jason Zweig is the author of a Wall Street Journal column called The Intelligent Investor. He creates a weekly newsletter in which he invites readers to send their thoughts and comments to him after reading his work. He also asks a question to the readers and features their answers in the next newsletter.
Answers sent in by readers of The Intelligent Investor
This is a brilliant way to create responses and foster a sense that the newsletter reader is part of a wider audience.
You could follow this example in your own way and create newsletters where you invite readers to send their questions, thoughts, and ideas.
The difference between run-of-the-mill companies and great brands is that the latter is backed by real people. People who are eager to buy from the company, engage with its content, and promote it with a little incentive.
If you can build a community, you’ll also build a powerful brand image that your competition will struggle to match up to.
I’ve shared three powerful ways you can start building a community today. Remember that you need to keep creating content and that you also need to engage with your audience continuously to create the best effect. And finally, you also need to make use of the right platforms to make community building and management easier.
Make community building one of your priorities right from the start, and you’ll see the benefits compound over time.
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