Building a community around a website is tremendously beneficial when done correctly. If you put your effort and manage to build a community the members of which actively interact with you and with each other, you get a sound ‘fan-base’ that is promoting your business not because you pay them, but because they like what you do.
This genuine liking tends to go viral and inspire other people to jump in. Today, we’ll speak about building a community around your website and boosting your business by doing so.
By reading this article, you’ll learn the 6 key factors to building a strong online community. Are you ready to see them? Let’s go!
It all starts with good content. The content that does not promote you, but the content that is of interest to your target audience. Let’s say you offer some hair care products. Posting about them every day is not what would make people like and follow you. They’ll learn about them once, that’s enough. But posting insightful hair care tips and tutorials once in a couple of days will make people come back for more content and tips.
There’s a lot of content on the web. To build a strong community you shouldn’t be repetitive. If there isn’t plenty of information on what you’re going to post about, go for long (2000+ words), in-depth posts. If there are a lot of them, but not many videos, start a series of videos on the topic. Are there quality interviews missing? Go for them! Do not repeat others and deliver value by creating something new.
To build a strong online community, your content should be educational, inspirational or entertaining. The posts that get most shares are usually a nice mix of these three factors. Such posts are insightful, in-depth, but written in simple language and having an impact on the lives of the readers. If you create such posts they are bound to get shared and making other people check your brand out.
No doubt, delivering masterpiece posts once in a blue moon is not a right strategy to adopt. In this case, your blog will turn into a one-time read. Coming back in a year to have a decent portion of new posts is not what people do. So, set the rule of updating your blog with a fresh post once in X (let’s say 2 or 3) days. This shows that you’re devoted to the matter and leveraging the quality of content with the frequency of updates.
What’s more, consistency of posting is even more important when it comes to social networks. If you greet your community with a quality post every day, you’ll enter their lives and become a part of their daily digital routine. In this case, it’s not the length of the post that matters. Be a real person that’s hanging out there. Mention your products only to the point, emphasize your positive approach to work and collaboration with your customers. If people get a chance to see you as a real person that’s passionate about what you do, they are likely to enjoy following you and checking your website out on a regular basis.
Let’s say you followed the first tip and started posting shareworthy content. To see the growing number of shares, you should ensure that sharing is as easy as possible. First of all, make your social sharing buttons appealing and noticeable. Don’t make people search for them. For example, it’s a nice strategy to have them both above and below the post. In this case, people learn that they can share the article right away. Once they finish reading, they’ll see one more reminder to share, which is harder to resist. Check out an example of social buttons’ implementation of one of the 2017 best WordPress themes:
Another good practice is having a floating left/right social sharing bar. It stays visible as users scroll down the post, making sharing possible at any time. To see an example of such a floating social bar, check out Didi, one of the newest fashion themes for WordPress on the TemplateMonster marketplace:
Secondly, it shouldn’t take more than 2 clicks to share your post. One click is great. Two clicks are also ok. However, if it takes 3 or more clicks to share your content, you’ll experience a dramatic drop in the number of shares. So, search for the top social sharing plugins for the website engine you use and choose the one that works best for you.
We’ve come to the point when you have noteworthy content and get it shared on social networks, so more people are coming to check it out. Now, you want to see a bubbling discussion of your insightful posts in the Comments section.
What to begin with? Encourage the discussion in Comments at the end of the article. Include a line or two that encourage people to speak up on the matter. Avoid standard phrasing, such as “If you have any questions or comments, use the Comments section below”. It would be much better if you ask a relevant question and indicate that you’re eager to see an answer. It can be something like: “Which one of the X methods proved most effective for you? Let us know” or “Are there any other ways to boost X that I’ve missed? Your insights would be much appreciated!” These are the lines that make people feel that their expertise is valued and much needed.
As a result, you’ll see the first comments below your posts. This is not the point to celebrate. You want to see a discussion there, right? So, take a first step and answer all the meaningful comments, penalizing the spammy ones by your silence. Moreover, bring the points of two readers together in one answer, contrast the points. Gradually, you’ll see that people start answering the comments of each other and discussing the matter.
Do you know what’s the difference between an audience and a community? Your audience reads/watches what you offer them, but stays passive and is not involved in much interaction. A community stands for two-side interaction, where people participate, speak up and share with their friends. Having an audience is good, but way less valuable than having a Community.
The majority of modern people are more used to interact in social networks rather on a website. So, to get more participation, start interacting with people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. First of all, you should choose a network or two that you’ll be most active in. Opt for the networks where your target auditory hangs out most. Secondly, start asking questions, answering comments, commenting on other people’s posts and connecting with the people that show the biggest amount of interest. If you bring real value on your website, people who read your articles will be ultimately pleased to have a real-time discussion with you.
Keep in mind, that modern social networks bring you more and more tools to help you build a community. Consider starting a group on Facebook that’s helping people get to know each other. Ask questions on Instagram (they recently introduced polls to get people even more involved), stream live podcasts, run your own YouTube channel, etc. Find the thing that works best for you and cherish devotion of your community in social networks.
If you want to expand your community, there is a simple strategy to broaden the pool of people interested in what you do. If you’re reading the influential bloggers in your field, you’re likely to follow some of them. Ask one of them for an interview. For instance, ask them to share their stories of success or the tricks that come from their personal experience. As this is an honor to be interviewed, many are likely to accept the offer. Share the links to the interviews with them and thank them genuinely.
As a result, they would also promote the interviews they’ve participated in, and you’ll get a part of their communities peeping to your website. If you offer valuable content and have your own small community, some of the newcomers are likely to join.
So, interviews are an incredible way to create valuable content, promote you and someone else and find new members of your community. What’s more, by interviewing others you not only broaden your community, but also build lasting connection with devoted people in your field.
Building a devoted community is something that takes time. If you post insightful content, don’t expect that people will instantaneously start commenting. There is no tip that would work for everyone. You should be out there and actively following the 1 – 6 of this list for people to start taking your effort seriously and participating.
If you see that not much is changing after a month or two of your efforts, keep your goals in mind and genuinely enjoy communication. If you’re persistent and restlessly working on building a community, you’ll become popular in the long run.
Building a community around your website takes time and effort, but pays back manifold. Create valuable content, encourage people to comment and share, interact with the audience by asking questions and cheering them up, interview others and reach out to their communities. If you persistently do your utmost to connect with your target audience, the day will come when you’ll see your community working for you just for the reason that they want to share how great you are.
Are there any community-building strategies that I’ve missed? Share them in the Comments section below.