Once you understand the “who” and “why” that define your audience, the next step is to find the right places to connect with them.
Let’s talk tactics.
The next question should move you from strategic to tactical thinking. You’re still mapping out a strategic plan, but now you’re getting into the details of how exactly you will define and manage your community.
First thing’s first. Where will you host your community?
Creating a thriving community isn’t something you can achieve overnight – which makes choosing a powerful community platform even more important. While you’re selecting a platform to host your community, ensure that it’s flexible enough to meet your needs, that will scale with you, and your community’s goals.
A good choice of platform can attract new members to your community while a bad choice of platform can force existing members to leave the community.
Which brings us to the next question. How to choose the right platform? While choosing a community platform, always keep these six things in mind -
The platform which you choose should align with your community needs.
Do research on the benefits, features, and products offered by different platforms.
The platform must have some features to create, share, and manage engaging content for your community.
The platform should have features to provide group insights.
Check if the platform enhances collaborative experiences.
What kind of community platform does your brand need? Free or owned?
This exercise is all about bringing in the right technology to scale the process that we’ve discussed in our previous newsletter.
Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn offer the advantages of a ready-made audience. People are already participating in these platforms. So you may find it easier to attract community members there, than to a site of your own. You’re meeting them where they want to assemble. Consider the downsides, however.
While most of the community managers host their “community” on social media, they can’t deny that sometimes it becomes really hard for them, especially if the goal is to create a community that brings people together to experience a sense of belonging. Since we are already here now, we thought it would be interesting to look at the reason behind it. For a better perspective, you know?
With limited reach, FB/LinkedIn prevents you from targeting all of the members of your own group. Moreover, it's not on your custom domain and hence gives you very limited or no branding at all. Even after putting in the efforts, the platform, members, and data are not really yours. With these constraints, building relationships among members can be hard.
And while it might become overwhelming at times to choose the right tool, the process can be made really easy instead. How?
Well, since you are well-aware of the expectations and what triggers your community members, select a community platform where the members can connect and perform the activities that you want as a brand. It could be anything from sharing ideas and helping each other to keeping the members updated and collecting feedback.
Glynk’s tip 💡
Technology definitely plays a crucial role when it comes to community building. Just think of the last time you had a problem with one of your appliances, and you visited an offline store to fix that problem.
There’s a more probability of you searching for a solution on the Internet which will ultimately land you in an online customer community, where other members just like you might be discussing the issue already and trying to help each other out. This itself reflects the power of technology where every two out of three customers are looking for online support.
And, starting up with a dedicated space for your online users can be a great thing for your business in 2020.
What does this mean for you, community professional?
A time to build and choose the right tool.
As a community builder, keep in mind the fundamental truth that people want what they cannot have. Understand the principles creating a sense of belonging, the longing for connection among members, the commitment curve, and the desire for exclusivity. And all of it begins with choosing the right platform for your community. You must find meaning in what you create, choose, and build. That is the community’s promise. That’s what community professionals are capable of creating in the world!
Don’t say it’s over...
I’d like to share with you all something amazing. I stumbled upon this podcast and TEDx talk yesterday and thought it’s worth sharing with you all.
“#25 From Customers to Community: How a niche brand built loyalty” by Retail Gets Real
“Building Community that Creates Exponential Impact” by Nadav Wilf, TEDx Talks
Are we missing anything important here? It’s a community-driven newsletter. So, if you have anything from your community-building experiences, do add your thoughts in the comment section and we will add it to our Newsletter. Or you can share it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn!