Building an Online Community: All you need to know!

The idea of a community seems natural to nature. It is seen across species in the animal kingdom- the orchestrated manner in which birds migrate, the dynamics of an elephant herd, the strategic planning that lion prides exhibit while hunting, and of course, humans! We come together to empower through unprecedented norms and celebrate each other’s victories. 

We stand by the pillars of accountability, trust and honest communication. It’s in our system to be attracted to such qualities. These qualities are not only expected out of individuals but also from brands, we interact with every day! A service provider has the power to build a community of happy customers. In turn, create a family that if nurtured well, will keep growing. 

It’s no longer just a face to face experience anymore- time and technology have given mankind enough power to create communities across seas and build online families we might not even physically meet. The expanding possibilities of community building might sound intimidating at first, but well, we are also extremely adjusting creatures- so making this our new normal hasn’t been an uphill battle after all! 

Building a community can be done broadly in two ways – offline and online.  

In this blog, we are going to explore the online and how a service like AutoLink, can help you take your first step towards building an effective, interactive and successful online community. 

There might still be some questions in your head regarding your organization:

  • Is it really important to build a community?
  • Does it serve as a competitive advantage?
  • Is meme marketing more effective than celebrity endorsements? 

Here are a few points to consider when building a community for your brand:  

Gaining Trust

Building a community is an effective method of earning trust from your consumers. 

It is natural for customers to be curious about the process of creating the products they use, and receiving answers for these questions, would in turn help build trust and encourage consumers to make repeat purchases. 

Allow your customers to get to know you – and your service/ product. 

The more details you share, the less you leave up to guessing. 

Increasing Engagement

It is quite likely that if your customer enjoys your offering, they will recommend you to others. 

Imagine it like a game of modified Chinese whispers. The modification being, the players now have a mic to share information – the mic being social media! Thus, spreading information about your brand, with just one whisper. 

Social media gives your customer the power to share their honest opinion about your product. We live in a review based economy, from platforms like Zomato to GlassDoor, the success of brands largely depends on these customer testimonials. 

This will either give you relevant feedback or attract new customers. In both cases, some level of brand  recall will be generated among your existing and new audiences. 

A key takeaway from building an online community, is that it creates more room for referrals.  

Building Connections

Online communities can bring individuals that share a common interest together. 

For example, GoPro has been successful in creating a strong online community where they share content created by the device made available for anyone to view – acting as an inspiration to use this product. 

Airbnb has brought travelers from across the world together to share their experiences and build friendships based on a common love for traveling. Hosts  can connect with one another globally- and together they are encouraged to feel like they are creating a space where anyone can belong! 

Your brand may be the sole purpose for strangers to become friends. 

You could be the connecting factor between two individuals living light years apart who would have, in any other case, never met! 

Community building is a powerful way for not only you to connect with your customers, but even for your customers to connect with one another- and this is vital in the quest to forming a bigger community. 

So, how do you build a community? 

For starters,increase their social media following. 

Regardless of whether or not your followers are your direct customers, they must know you exist. 

Adopt the AutoLink way: 

  1. Posting consistently: About 2 or 3 posts a day.
  2. Focus on indirect promotion as much as you focus on direct promotion.
  3. Post at the right time by studying engagement details about the social media platform you plan to use.
  4. Use the right hashtags and keywords: Think SEO. 

Keeping the above points in mind, now for building an interactive community. 

Once you see some growth in terms of your follower count – it is time to focus on your audience. Give them a reason to engage in your  content, create FOMO around your brand through social posts. 

How can you do this? 

  1. Ask your audience questions. 
    • The AMA stickers on Instagram stories – Helping your audience know you listen and care about them
    • Quiz sticker on Instagram stories – Industry relevant questions
  1. Host competitions
    • Giveaways based on the interests of your follower base. This serves as a tool to encourage participation and create a sense of belonging. The possibilities here are endless, and curating the most engaging activities is a fun and crucial activity your organization should look into!
  1. Reposting and sharing any tags you have received by your customers increases the sense of belonging. Encouraging more engagement with hopes to one day being featured too.
  1. Reply to your customers actively. 
    • Do not miss out on engaging in random conversations every now and then, have fun talking to your audience as your brand.

Apart from the above points, it’s a healthy practice to let your creative juices flow. 

The more unique your form of engagement, the more fun it becomes for your community to participate. 

The one thing that should not be missed in any activity that you conduct while building your community would be branding. It is important to embed your brand or the idea of your brand into your customers mind so that it can form positive recall. 

The team at AutoLink promises a personalized and professional approach in taking your first step towards building and maintaining an online community, fulfilling your marketing goals. 

It is essential to optimize your digital experience, and we take care of everything to boost your online presence. AutoLink is your friend in all things digital marketing.

Start building your community here.

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