Think about every community you’ve been a part of, from your group of friends to professional networking groups to your neighborhood. Communities create loyalty based on common interests, personal passions, or even just familiar locations. Similarly, forming a community around your enterprise is just as important as social bonds. People are attracted to what you’re offering!
My company’s product was a personal answer to my soda addiction. After years of struggling with some extra weight due to sugary diet drinks, I began to look for a flavored water that didn’t have a lot of sweeteners or preservatives. I knew I couldn’t be the only one that wanted this type of product, so when I created my solution (hint water) and shared it with the world, I found a community of thirsty people that were looking for the exact same thing!
Finding that unique solution wasn’t just a personal success or business success, it ended up creating a community with the common interest of making healthier choices.
So — why is community building important for business? Well, it will help you to establish trust and credibility and improve customer loyalty. It will allow you to add value to the customer experience and improve customer service while creating brand advocates who rave about your business or product. Building a community also organically increases word of mouth business. These communities can also provide you with valuable feedback about your products, services, and your business.
But how exactly do you begin build this community? Here are a few ideas on how to start:
Give your community a place to gather
If it’s a local product or service that you’re selling, having a regular meetup could be of value to you. Maybe host an event a shop that carries your product or a gym that coincides with your lifestyle product. It could be at one regular location, or it could change every month. If your business has a broader community, you could set up an online forum where customers can share their experiences. Whatever the venue, when you give your community an easy place to come together and share, you’re building that loyal base of fans.
Provide value to your community
Rather than selling to your community, put things in front of them that provide real value. If your community trusts you and the product or service takes care of a real need, you won’t have to work too hard to “sell” the next big thing.
Our customers are looking for cleaner products that are safe for your body, so since they had already learned to love our waters, we introduced new sunscreen to them with the same ethos behind the production. We know that our community will give us valuable feedback and will share the news with their own communities.
All in all, a large community opens doors. Marketing becomes much easier because your community spreads the word for you. Partnerships are easier to secure. Press gets easier to entice. You’re not just collecting followers on Instagram and Facebook… you’re teaming up with advocates who are personally invested in seeing you grow.
When you find the thing you’re passionate about creating and you’re clear about your goals, it will pique the interest of the people inclined toward that thing… your community!