Five Reasons to Start an Online Community

To Inspire FollrCreating an online community – especially one on Follr.com! – can be so rewarding. One of the first steps is to get in the mindset of  your target audience and define what it is you want he or she to gain from your community. Do you have special or unique knowledge a member could benefit from? Could you provide a new connection or idea for their business? In order to have an active and thriving group of members – or customers! – on your site, stay true to one of the reasons below.

  1. To Entertain

How many people spend a portion of their day reading blogs or visiting other social networks? I’ll tell you: everybody and their mother. People have long used the internet to relax, zone-out or just take a short break from work so use this fact to your advantage and create a community around perking up people’s down time! Pick a favorite TV series, movie franchise or book as the launch pad for your community.

  1. To Boost Business

Giving your small business a leg-up online is one of, if not THE, most popular reasons for starting an online community. Whether you choose LinkedIn, Facebook or a custom community platform like Follr, building an online presence for your business is a crucial – if not imperative – key to success.

  1. To Connect

One HUGE reason potential members join online communities is affirmation and praise. Completing the registration process and clicking “Join” means they want to be heard, appreciated and noticed for their accomplishments and accolades. Online communities for scholars, writers or more specific groups of achievers are great reasons to start or join and online community. Remember to engage with members directly and often!

  1. To Inspire

Another hot online community focus is self- help and improvement. In this current news era, happiness and mental health are more prominent that ever. Everyone wants to do what they can to better themselves. Offering a quick, easy and welcoming online group with which to do so is bound to have members flocking.

  1. To Fix a Problem

If I had a dollar for every time I looked online for a solution to a problem or a quick fix, I could probably retire! The Internet is so accessible that most people reach for the keyboard before the user manual. Establish an online community as an expert of something you love or create a question and answer forum for specific issues/needs – cooking tips, smart phone fixes, travel and vacation ideas, etc.

Do you have any online community ideas like the ones above? Tell me about them in the comments section below and you could be featured on Links We Love!

Companies With The Most Successful Online Communities Have These 4 Things in Common

4 Things in Common FollrCreating a thriving online community of customers is no easy feat, yet companies succeed at doing it every day. Sure they probably have teams of social media experts and customer care professionals, but at the heart of it, it really comes down to having these four things on lock. Read on to see if you’re putting any of best practices to use… and if you’re not… well you know what to do.

 

  1. All innovation and R&D is done IN CONJUNCTION WITH customers. These companies no better than to make changes without soliciting loyal customers’ advice.
  2. Every single employee has been trained to put the customer first. No matter which department you work in or what your job description entails, you know that customer service is paramount and feel compelled to act accordingly. Zappos, anyone?
  3. Employees are encouraged to interact candidly with customers online. None of that stiff business language allowed – these employees are expected to be real, open and honest with customers over social media. Simply put, transparency is key.
  4. There are protocols in place for negative feedback. Each and every employee tasked with handling online activities knows exactly what to do should a customer get frustrated. Situations can be mitigated easier and faster because there are practiced steps in place.

Do you practice any of these online community engagement principles with your business? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t Make these Community Management Mistakes: Part 2

Online Community Mistakes FollrAs promised, more community management mistakes you don’t want to make, and how to effectively navigate out of them. Stay tuned for the third and final installment this Friday and check out Part 1 here.

  1. You’re Boring.

Sorry to be blunt but… no one wants to be a part of a community when all they hear is crickets. Spice things up by regularly posting diverse content and offering at east one unique engagement opportunity per week.  Check out some great ideas for that here. Also try to stay away from stuffy, corporate language and “buzzwords.”

  1. You’re Going it Alone.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can build a community single-handedly. Make sure you’re still regularly following and engaging in conversations on other communities and maintaining existing relationships. Pre-established connections are your best friend when it comes to community building. Reach out to already established bloggers and community managers and ask for constructive advice.

  1. You Sell too Much

There’s a difference – albeit it a fine line – between promotion and spamming. Make sure you’re on the right side of that line. If you’re overly promotional on other communities, blogs, or via your social media channels, you’ll turn people off before they even get a chance to take a look at your community. Make sure you don’t kill a potential member opportunity by coming off too strong.

Don’t Make these Community Management Mistakes: Part 1

Online Community Mistakes FollrAs an online community manager, you’ve no doubt got a lot on your plate. Growing and maintaining an active following are tough tasks. And that’s exactly why the Follr blog is dedicated to providing our community managers with the best resources, tips and tricks when it comes to community management and building. Read through these rookie online community development mistakes and make sure to stay tuned all week for more potential blunders and how to avoid them!

Your Community Doesn’t Have a Concrete Niche

You’ve no doubt decided on who or what your community is about, but is it too vague? There are a million communities that revolve around teams, fans, players and sport so make sure you stand out from the crowd. Examples include communities for Los Angeles New England Patriots Fans or Florida Leicester City Fans (are there any?) Creating your community within a small niche may feel like pigeon-holing yourself but it will absolutely help down the road.

You’re Not Consistent with Content

If you’re sporadic with your posts and engagement within the community, users will die off. Members like to see consistency and quality. Aim to post a few times a day at the least. It helps them view you as a real person. And speaking of…

You’re Not Visible Enough

It is of utmost importance to make sure your members know who you are! Have an ‘about me’ tab and explain why you have this passion and how it came about. Sell yourself as THE expert and enthusiast on your community topic. Bonus points for uploading a short video!

Start building your community now by Follr !

7 Great Tips for Promoting Your Online Community

Promoting Online Community Follr Blog 7Congratulations! You’ve taken the plunge and decided to start an online community. Hopefully your next step is to focus on growth and retention. To do that, you need to get your community out there by promoting. Read on for seven easy ways to do just that!

1. Create a Short Video Create a short video in which you introduce yourself and the community and elaborate on why you started this journey. It doesn’t need to be particularly long or fancy – 2-3 minutes will do. Simply visualizing you, the face of the community, will entice potential new members to join and give a much-appreciated sense of transparency. Embed it in the welcome text of your community and your email invitations (See #2).

2. Invite Your Target Audience If you’ve decided to create a community, hopefully you already have an idea of who your members will be and have a target audience in mind. Once you have email lists, send a thoughtful, well-constructed invitation with a link to join and brief overview of your community’s focus and features. Up and coming community platform, Follr’s power email capability makes this so easy.

3. Make your Business Card & Email Signature do Double Duty This may seem like a no-brainer, but not nearly enough community managers do this: add your community link to your business card and email signature. This is a great way to make all types of people aware of your community and a great conversation starter when you exchange business cards at networking events. If you ask me, business cards and resumes are slowly but surely becoming obsolete thanks to platforms like Follr and LinkedIn so take advantage of email and add your link there too.

4. Get Involved in Similar Communities Visit blogs, groups and forums where your target audience is likely to be hanging around. Introduce yourself and join the conversation. Once you’re established in the community, casually invite members to take a look at a piece of content or a post on your community to entice them in.

5. Take Advantage of Existing Followers Take advantage of any traction you have on other social media platforms and blast out your link there. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and don’t forget your Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well. P.S. Use that hashtag!

6. Use a Hashtag This seems simple but come up with one short hashtag for your community and use it religiously. Photos, updates, content, you name it – it should all be searchable by your community hashtag. Check out more great things to do with hashtags here.

7. Send Newsletters Weekly or bimonthly send out a short newsletter via email to your members. Let them know what’s going on in the community, highlight new members and give the community a heads up on upcoming events or promotions.