What is an online community and how to use it in your marketing strategy
One of the great changes that the internet has brought to society is the possibility of gathering groups of people with the same interests in the virtual environment. So, whether it’s talking about trivial matters – such as hobbies or health issues – or more technical and specific topics, the internet offers all the support and platforms to bring the people who are interested in the same topic together. The same goes for the corporate issues as well. But do you know what an online community is? Check out how it can be a powerful ally for your business.
What is an online community?
As its name suggests, an online community is a web site where people with similar interests meet. It can be built via Facebook pages, forums, email groups, among other channels. The goal is to strengthen the bond, the exchange of ideas and experiences among these people. Also, knowing how an online community works, the company can invest in actions aimed at the public or its own employees.
It is possible to keep the public interested with up-to-date information on issues involving your company. Also, it helps your company to build a better image, credibility, integrity, authority as well as a stronger relationship between its clients and the public.
A company that knows what an online community is and uses its features correctly, stands out in the market. But if you do not know where to start and still have questions about the benefits that these virtual groups bring to your business, check out our tips to get your strategy right.
The rewards of building a community of users are so positive that many companies are including that idea among their key marketing strategies. Here are five tips for building a strong online community.
How to create an online community?
Just like any other marketing strategy, it’s important to know what an online community is and plan it. For this, an important tip is to have people who are willing to research and find the best tools and platforms for your virtual community.
How will you start to create your online community?
Will you create a Facebook group to share news with your followers? Will you create forums within the company’s intranet system to strengthen the relationship with employees? What kind of content will be shared and/or broadcasted on these channels? Who will administer and mediate the communities?
These are essential points to consider when starting your online community implementation.
Choose the right audience
For your online community to function as planned, you need to find the right people for it. It is important to choose the audience that are really interested about your brand and the actions it has to offer.
As previously stated, online communities are places where people with common interests meet. More than that, they are willing to interact and engage with others who also have those interests. So, it’s no use making your brand create an online community if you do not have the right audience.
- For employees, being part of the online community of the corporation can mean being part of relevant corporate actions, engaging with the causes of the institution, suggesting new ideas and solutions;
- For customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders, participating in your online community means strengthening the bond with the company, participating in exclusive events, suggestions, feedback, etc.
In other words, knowing what an online community provides internal positive results on the institution’s teams, external ones and to the market.
Do not control all actions
Yes, it is important to monitor, manage and always keep an eye on what is spoken in your virtual community. But that does not mean controlling everything that is said. This is because the community should be understood as a space for users to express themselves as they see fit. Remember that the quickest way to destroy a community is to discourage discussion. Therefore, avoid this action.
Do not delete postings – except in extreme cases, such as offenses. Act as a mediator, stimulating and encouraging the exchange of ideas, opinions and experiences.
For the virtual community to function as a good marketing tool you must remember that it is, above all, a place for feedback and relationship. One of the reasons that made you invest in this action is because you do not have all the answers and want to improve. So, keep that in mind and let the dialogues occur naturally.
Enjoy the experience
Being in touch with people who are interested in your brand, products and services is an experience to be enjoyed. So, make the most of it. Consider that the people there are your allies and wish the best for the success of the brand.
Invest in a good technical part
The more resources you invest in your online community, the more participants will be able to enjoy the experience they offer. Therefore, for the group to function as it should, you need a qualified team. Still, it is important to have a platform, support and software that supports all your needs.
When making these investments, think about up-to-date, easy-to-use tools. Its purpose is to attract participants and not create barriers between them. The chosen platform should guarantee this.
Keep an eye on results
The results of an online community are not so easily measured. Because this is not an action of metrics and certain data. However, it is possible to see if there is a greater interaction between the participants, if the engagement is high, if the number of stakeholders increased over time, among others.
And now you know more about what an online community is and the advantages of investing in this strategy to improve your business relationship with the public and employees! So, does your company already offer a good online community? Leave your comment!