Photo Credit; Unsplash
As a startup that looks to enjoy growth, you should be exploring different ways to drive it. The recent digitalization worldwide has provided several ways for businesses to grow their reach and increase productivity.
One of these ways is to create an online community of individuals who share similar values and goals with your business.
As a startup looking to leverage an online community to drive growth, knowing what an online community is and how to work with it is vital.
What Is An Online Business Community?
A community is a group of people who share similar passions, interests, and desires and are willing to come together to achieve a common goal through clearly defined means. It becomes an online community when the activities of these groups of people are carried out virtually.
With modern civilization and the continuous advancement of technology primarily through social media platforms, we have seen increased online communities.
While many people wonder why the increase in online communities and a few others are trying to explain it, several businesses-small and large are leveraging these online communities for business growth. The difference between the growth levels recorded by businesses leveraging online communities is how every one of them goes about it.
As a startup, it is vital to know the best ways to create an online community and leverage it for business growth. Here are five tips that can help startups leverage an online community to drive business growth.
5 Ways a Startup Can Leverage Online Communities
Establish an online presence
The first and what appears to be the essential step to creating and leveraging an online community is to create an online presence. There is just so little that your startup can do in this digital age without an online presence.
It is impossible to create an online community when your startup doesn’t have an online presence. This brings to mind a very important question – how can a startup create an online presence?
Several ways exist, and some of them include:
- Creating a responsive business website.
- Setting up detailed social media profiles.
- Creating an email marketing system.
While any of the ways highlighted above will work to create an online presence, nothing stops your startup from working with all of them. In this technology-driven age that we are, taking every step to ensure business visibility is necessary.
Whatever niche your startup specializes in, creating an online presence is important. It doesn’t just set the foundation for building an online community alone but also helps to increase visibility and guarantee enhanced productivity.
Create a community around your target audience
Many startups, when advertising the products and services they offer, carry out general advertisements. In other words, they market to the general public trusting that such marketing strategy will convert. The danger of doing this is that you will discover that you’re investing a lot into marketing and getting so little from it.
The best way to market effectively is to market to your target audience, and the same applies when building an online community.
To build an online community that converts, you must build one around your target audience. This way, you’re rest assured that every action taken in the online community is directed towards people who need the products or services that your business offers.
To build an online community around your startup’s target audience, you must first identify who these people are.
Your target audience should be fashion-conscious people interested in growing fashion trends if your startup specializes in fashion items. When you find your audience, building a community around them becomes easy.
Create talking points around your startup’s products and services
This is one of the most effective ways to build your online community. Creating talking points around your startup’s product or service helps sustain your online community, increase its reach, and ultimately drive business growth.
Members of an online community remain there and active only to the degree that there is something to talk about. As the business owner, an intelligent way to leverage this community you have created around your business target audience will be to keep it engaged.
Do you have a startup that sells shoes, for example? After creating an online community of shoe lovers, ensure there are discussions around identifying quality shoes and contributing to making a fashion statement.
Don’t just create an online community where all you do is advertise your show products alone, but where members are provided with helpful resources around shoe purchases.
Get involved with the online community
Photo Credit: Unsplash
To leverage an online community for growth as a startup, ensure you get involved with the community. An excellent way to do this is to bridge the communication gap in the community.
Some people in the community will undoubtedly want clarity on certain information provided and answers to specific questions. Your startup should be readily available to provide these answers and verify this information.
This not only sustains engagement in the community but also builds trust between your business and its target audience.
Create a review system for the online community
To grow as a startup, you have to be open to the opinions of others, and the best place to get these opinions is from the online community you have already created.
To do this, you will need to create a review system that carefully analyzes the opinions of members of the community regarding the products and services your startup offers.
When creating a review system for your startup’s online community, some factors that should be considered include:
- Who is the review coming from, and why?
- The type and nature of the review – product, sales, or service review.
- The quality and end the review seeks to achieve.
Working with reviews provided for your startup by members of an online community not only helps to retain existing customers but can also be a good way to attract new ones.
As a business owner, you should already know the importance of creating an online presence for driving growth in your startup. However, beyond creating one alone, knowing how to manage and sustain it is very important. Ensuring steady communication of what your startup values and goals are with the community becomes very important.
Setting up and growing an online community might appear to be difficult initially, but the benefits will always be worth it in the long run.
Marketingprofs: Take 10; How to leverage your online community
Entrepreneur: 3 Important foundations to leverage online communities
Business: How to build an online community for a small business
Higherlogic: What is an online community? The basics & benefits
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