How to Engage Online Communities in Your Business
A community is an inseparable part of businesses. The community here refers to every single stakeholder, including customers, employees, and any person or organization who is relevant to your business. Nurturing communities in business can be beneficial, be it online or offline. Social networking, especially, will be a prominent part of your business marketing strategies.
For beginner and even advanced startups, community matters because having support from specific groups of people may help you to take the leap of faith in building your business. Take the example of Medella Health, a technology that helps diabetics be able to measure their bodies’ health indicators, like their glucose levels, simply by looking at an application. The data about their health condition will be sent through the information that the application obtains from the user’s contact lenses. Harry Gandhi, the founder, along with his team, admitted that they would not have become as successful without the support from the University of Waterloo and the local entrepreneurship community who provided them with resources. And this benefit is only the tip of the iceberg. When you have community support, it will become easier to join groups that have the same vision as you and your team. More importantly, when going into the market, trusted relationships created via an engaging community will help your business when it is time to pitch to potential investors.
In the past, engaging a community was about building a strong base network. Now, as technology grows and gradually becomes dominant, there is a change in the way people interact with their community. Businesses should find new ways to keep on engaging and appearing dynamic while still providing the same benefits as before. Strong communities offer loyalty, a more trusted identity, and more regular business transactions.
Since engaging communities relevant to your business should be on your to-do list, here are some tips to increase the engagement of communities in the digital era, as adapted from the “Top 10 Ways to Increase Engagement in Your Online Community” whitepaper:
1. Start with relevant content which is always updated
Right from the beginning, make sure you put up high-quality content so that customers who show up at the start are likely to come back. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and find out what information they need the most. Afterwards, maintain your community by giving them new and fresh content regularly as they are a dynamic group of people who need constant information. Analyze what they are looking for and take a look at today’s trends and recurring themes. This will help customers build their trust towards the community.
2. Make the community easy to find and position them as part of customer experience
To make your community easy to be searched for, attach the location of your community in your business’ official website and other social media platforms—places where customers often ask questions. If necessary, you can embed the online community into your actual product for bigger contextual purposes. Also, show your community as an essential part of keeping up your relationship with customers. Have a first proper greeting to a newly signed up member/customer so that they will get to know about the community in greater detail and understand how you value the community.
3. Offer exclusive content and reward members for their contributions
To make sure customers keep coming back, provide them with things that can’t be obtained anywhere else. Offer them anything that might help you to retain customers but make sure what’s surrounding them is engaging and reinforces your general community goals. Also, for their act of contributing to the community, drop them a reward or a gift to show your gratitude. This can be a good point to increase the engagement of your business’ community and to value their contributions which are a precious thing.
4. Encourage employees to contribute to the community
Maintaining a community is not only about customers. To make the community more vibrant and active, employee engagement can be used to engage your customers so that they can see the face of your company. Here’s a tip: Give training to your employees in interacting with customers based on how you want them to represent your business.
5. Advanced Tips: Create a champion program and utilize the crowd
Lastly, if the tips mentioned before are already in your hands, you can develop a champion program as a bonus for customers who contribute the most within the community. Also, using the crowd in communities as a resource, you can post a question about your business and see how the customers respond to you. You might just gain a new perspective on how to develop your business while at the same time engage your online community!
To encourage interaction within the community, you have to provide a platform that can be a place to meet online or chat regardless of place and time. Here, at Qiscus, we can lend you our hands to make sure you have the platform the way you need it. With our Qiscus End-to-End Solution, you can build and customise your platform right from the beginning, so that you can nurture your business community. Drop us a note at [email protected] and see what help we can offer you!