For the 4th episode of the Goodish Show we discussed the power of a strong online community. We were joined by Tom Norman, the CEO & founder of Kickstart Your Community. His company focuses on fostering brand loyalty and word of mouth marketing. During our show we discussed the value of a strong brand community and of social media groups in general. We also asked Tom for practical tips on successfully building a community so continue reading to learn how to build an online community for your brand!
How to Build a Community
Wondering what are the first steps for a brand to start their own community? According to Tom, you need to ask yourself why you want to start and what do you want to get from your community.
Engage With Your Community
We asked Tom about how can a brand can engage with their community and make community members feel like their feedback is valuable. In other words, how do you get your community members to respond?
In the very beginning it’s really important that your social media community manager is very invested in your brand community. They have to spend a lot of time and energy to make the community members feel comfortable and they’re getting what they came for. For some communities this might be getting the information they were after, for others it could be forming connections with other community members. All in all it really depends on the type of community you’re looking to have.
Social Media Groups and Other Platforms
With 2.8 billion monthly active Facebook users, Facebook groups are a great place for starting a brand community. Still, other platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Clubhouse, Discord, Slack or white label platforms such as Mighty Networks, Tribe, Circle etc. can work just as well. To engage your social media groups, start any sort of engagement activities: ie. welcome new members, ask them their opinion on a relevant topic, welcome insightful conversations etc.
Another thing to remember is to make sure to constantly evolve your community, as otherwise people will get bored of it or find it irrelevant. As society evolves, so should the community itself.
Having a Broad vs. Narrow Online Community
Having a more narrow versus a more broad brand engagement group depends on the brand itself and the purpose of its community. If we take a fitness community for example, a general “fitness” community could be considered too broad since there are a lot of topics that this community could actually cover. For instance you could have a “fitness for moms” community, narrowing your audience further. Tom actually recommends having a more narrow online community as those members will be the people that will really engage with your group and content. Such online groups are also easier to manage and make people feel comfortable.
Main Mistake You'll Want to Avoid
Number one mistake Tom notices with his clients is that people tend to think it’s enough to just post a couple of times a week. The problem arises when these posts aren’t providing the value that they should; every post you make should be engaging and as informative as possible.
“I Just Started a Company, How Can I Start Building a Community?”
The first step is to try and find people that are interested in your product or your service. The next step is to figure out how are you going to help your community members and what they are asking for, which cannot be found somewhere else?
Online communities are essential for any business looking to grow in 2021. If you’re looking for a step by step guide on building an online community, make sure to take a look at the article Tom wrote for Goodish, including an infographic which you can save for later.
Feel free to listen to the full episode below and we hope to see you on our next podcast!