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4 Tips For Building An Online Community That Promotes Your Business Growth

Topic: 4 essential tips for fostering a true ‘community’ online that will promote business growth and provide your customers with what they are REALLY looking for.

In my latest book ‘iLead’, I make a statement that I believe to be VERY relevant to the subject of fostering an online community.

“For businesses seeking growth, this goes beyond customer surveys and focus groups. Those tactics sometimes work, but they have a much smaller return on investment when you consider the time, money and effort needed to make them work.

Done properly, a community will be an entirely organic thing, growing every day, expanding your audience and accumulating new posts, giving you more valuable customer feedback to dip into and use to improve every past, present, and future product and marketing campaign. In short it will do more work for you than you could ever do for yourself in a focus group.”

There is no doubt that community has always played a big part in business… but nowadays, a successful business community consists of very different components than it used to. The truth is that business growth relies on the community, but a lot of businesses miss the whole point of this statement by relying on methods that have been used for years instead of embracing new technologies that are serving to change the marketplace and the way in which consumers do business.

In this article, we are going to discuss 4 tips for fostering an effective online community of your own. The sooner your organization embraces the evolution of the interaction between consumers and businesses, the sooner you will be able to take advantage of new opportunities by creating a mutually beneficial community, which will not only drive customers to your store (on or offline), but also raise the value of your goods/services in their eyes in ways that will truly appeal to them.

Tip #1… Create An Online Hub

Your company needs a hub for its online presence. Let’s face it… offline is not enough nowadays! Creating a compelling website that will raise the value of what you are offering your customers is absolutely essential in the modern marketplace, and if you don’t have one, you will miss out on a lot of potential business. You need a website that…

•    Is well designed
•    Is optimized
•    Contains a specific call to action
•    Offers a way for visitors to get ‘plugged in’ to everything else that you are doing online

Tip #2… Get Involved On Social Media

Getting involved on social media sites is not just smart… it is actually essential. Getting plugged in with current and potential customers on a medium that is inhabited by virtually everyone in the consumer marketplace is not a new idea, but it is one that your business must embrace. In ancient times, a business may set up shop where a river and a road intersected, since that was where 99% of the people could be found in the area. Nowadays, everyone is online… so it only makes sense that you would embrace this new frontier by getting plugged into social media… the junction through which everyone is connecting, sharing, and interacting.

Tip #3… Make Your Interaction Mutually Beneficial

In other words… no shameless advertisement or spamming! If you want to earn new customers in the online community, than contribute to the conversation by sharing facts, information, or content that will benefit THEM. In doing this, you will develop trust and will keep from alienating yourself with the kind of negative ‘shameless promotion’ that so many businesses utilize.

Tip #4… Have A Specific Goal In Mind

What do you hope to accomplish by interacting with customers online? Is it to get them to visit your website? Is it to get them to share your posts on Facebook? Do you aim for them to Re-Tweet what you are posting on Twitter, in hopes that you will gain the attention of new potential customers? Always keep your goal in mind so that everything you do online leads to what you are planning to accomplish.

Fostering a community and creating a ‘buzz’ online is all about putting in the time and effort to cater to the individual in a way that will benefit them. If you can do this, than you will be a step above your competition in the race to give customers what they are really looking for… a business that understands and values them for what they are… people.


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