One of the best things you can do as a small business owner is build a community. Creating connections with potential customers can help you reach your target audience and even make more sales.
Learn more about how having a strong community can give your company a boost.
What Is a Community?
A community is a group of like-minded people who come together around an idea or goal. There are many types of communities — including in-person and online communities — where you can foster emotional connections.
Building a community is particularly important for business owners who can create bonds with their customers. For example, a yoga instructor can use social media to engage followers, which can help them book appointments.
Why Does a Community Matter?
A community is incredibly important to business owners, who can reap the benefits of making meaningful connections with their customers. Building a community allows you to:
Make genuine relationships
Businesses aim to make connections with their audiences because they understand the importance of making genuine relationships with their customers. Customers are at the center of any business, after all, so doing what you can to nurture that relationship can yield positive results.
Improve Customer Loyalty and Advocacy
Community building can increase customer loyalty and advocacy as well. If your messaging resonates with your audience, it will make them more likely to continue doing business with you. And what's more, they might even start recommending you to others.
An active community can help spread the reach of your content, especially on social media, and put you in front of more new customers.
Tap Your Audience for Ideas and Feedback
If you have a strong bond with your audience, you can ask them to weigh in on your current service, future products and even pain points that they are facing. All of this can inform how you approach your business. For example, if you sell online courses on makeup techniques and your followers tell you that for an extra fee, they'd love to book a 30-minute session so they could ask you more specific questions, that's something you can start implementing.
Where to Build a Community
Where you build a community depends on the type of business you run and the ways in which you want to talk to your audience. Here are a few places to try:
If you want to go a more discussion-heavy route, you can start a Facebook group. For example, if you're a resume writer, you can talk about the mistakes you see on a regular basis. You can invite your community to weigh in on whether they have made these errors and how that might or might not have affected them.
If you prefer a video format, you can turn to TikTok to connect with others. This platform is a great place to share slice-of-life moments as well as educational content.
If you are in a more visual medium, you can try Instagram. For example, if you sell vintage clothing, you can upload eye-catching images that show how to style different items in several ways. You can explain your styling process and inspire others to ask questions or talk about how they wear vintage styles in modern ways.
You can ask your customers to sign up for your newsletter, which you can fill with exclusive content. For example, if you are a tutor, you can offer studying tips and other information that is useful to your audience. Or you can start a community newsletter to highlight events in your neighborhood. Creating an engaged email list can help you foster a sense of community.
You don't have to start your own social media page to have a community. Let's say you're an expert at golf. You can join a golfing community forum and share your experiences and set yourself apart as a subject matter expert. You can eventually redirect people to your own business.
Build a Community in 6 Steps
Successful communities require nurturing. Here's how to build a community from scratch:
Set a Goal
Before you get to community-building, set a goal. You should know whether you want to educate, share behind-the-scenes content or share your thoughts about issues that pertain to your field. Clarifying this will help you create content that is consistent.
Pick a Platform
You'll find that not every platform connects organically with your business. Instead of opening up several social media accounts that you might not be able to manage, pick the few that match your content.
Offer a Reason to Follow You
If you want potential customers to follow you, give them a reason to. This could be content they can't get anywhere else or behind-the-scenes footage that makes them feel like they are part of your team.
Set Community Guidelines
One way to encourage participation is by creating a safe space, so one thing you can do is create community guidelines that deter people from being disrespectful.
Interact With Your Audience Regularly
Whether you send newsletters or post on social media, you should regularly create content. If you post on a schedule, even better — your audience knows when to look forward to your next post. To go along with that, make sure you regularly write back to your audience, too. If they take the time to comment, they'll appreciate a response.
Accept Feedback Graciously
Not every reaction will result in people agreeing with what you say, so it's important to accept feedback graciously. This can make your audience feel more comfortable to interact with you.
FAQs: Build a Community FAQs
What makes a community?
A community is merely a group of people that come together — whether online or in person — around a shared interest or experience. All communities engage in different ways.
How do you keep a community strong?
To keep a community strong, focus on regular communication and meaningful interactions.
Aside from nurturing a community, you can provide your customers with regular updates through Noodle. Sign up today to take advantage of Noodle’s tools and build a better relationship with your customers.