Building a community around your business can be one of the greatest ways to create momentum for your product. A community is much more than a one-time marketing campaign, and can help you throughout your company’s life cycle if you take the time to grow it right.
Here are 5 tips for getting started.
1. Get to Know Your Users
Use Twitter searches to see who is posting about your company, competitor or about a topic that is relevant to your company. You can use that to follow people, start a conversation and engage with them. This way you can start to build a relevant following from the ground up.
2. Leverage Any and All Connections at Your Disposal
Ask your friends and connections to be a part of your community and to help you grow it. Email lists are often overlooked as a chance to ask your existing community to follow you elsewhere.
3. Build Social Into Your Product
If you want people to share, make it really easy on them. When they sign up for your product or service, give them a checkbox to sign up for your newsletter. Ask them to follow you on Twitter and like you on Facebook as part of your onboarding process.
4. Think in Terms of Advocates, Not Just Numbers
Getting fifty followers (or even 5,000) doesn’t mean much in itself. Think about building a quality follower and fan base that is engaging with and sharing your content. Your goal should be to turn your user base into advocates who help spread the word about your startup in a way you could never do on your own.
5. Expect It to Take Time
Real community doesn’t happen overnight. Every community will go through an ‘awkward phase’ where conversations feel a little forced and people aren’t initiating conversations on their own. It will pass. Keep building your community one person at a time, and it will eventually begin to flow naturally