Creative Ways to Build Your Online Community | Geek Business

Creative Ways to Build Your Online Community

No matter what type of product or service you are marketing, consider the ways in which you can diversify the user relationship with your brand through alternatives sources besides your own site. Sometimes, you need to get a little unconventional in your approach to build and sustain your communities.

What most companies fail to realize is that a community is built on mutual affection, relation and support. These actions surrounding your products and company are what truly build customers into a community.

While it’s easy to say you can achieve this by creating social media accounts, sending out eblasts and a good blog post here or there, there’s so much more than that.

Use Swag

Instead of outspending your competitors with expensive PPC campaigns, try killing customers with kindness with branded swag! Creativity is key to keeping costs low and happiness high. Use your imagination and find interesting ways to tell the story of your brand.

Shatter the expectations of your fans by getting creative and mailing them some unique swag branded with your companies name and information. The art of traditional mailers is lost, soimagine how excited a user is when they see your hand-crafted, thoughtful gift amidst the cornucopia of flyers and bills.

Keep in mind the consumer you’re hoping to target though too. Try not to “over brand” your item – pick a product that is subtle and actively be used. This will be much more effective.

Swag is also a great way to raise engagement on social media. Everyone loves free stuff! Try creating a contest or giveaway with an incentive of winning some branded merchandise. This is a great way to reach a new audience and gain new ‘likes’ without much effort.

Host Meetups

To enhance the participation of your online community, get offline. There are plenty of ways to host a meetup: workshops, camps, networking events, and tweetups — the key is to keep it simple and participatory.

When you build a community around a product or service you will come to realize that many of your users share similar interests, despite their different backgrounds. Have your community vote on or pick an event and go out and get members of the industry to speak, better one of your own influential community members!

Show Everyone You Are Listening

Social media is not a one way broadcast, responding and interacting with your community is a big part of building and maintaining your online community.

Respond. Respond to every comment, like or share posts from community members on every social media site your company is on. When you devote time to respond to your entire community, consistently, users will recognize your effort. You will gain a reputation because you are doing something most brands won’t do.

Learn. It is important to learn what type of content your community responds well to and what they dislike. You can pick up on this through the metrics you (should) monitor on a weekly basis. The only way you can figure this what works and what doesn’t is by experimenting with various types of relevant content, gauging reactions and tracking engagement to see which content is the most well received by your community. Give the people more of what they want!

Use Humor

Humor is one of the most effective and underappreciated tactics in communications. This applies to everyday business discussions, professional presentations, and yes, social media. Look at Pinterest. Some of the most popular pins are funny or offbeat. Twitter and Facebook is even better. Who can’t resist a clever or funny tweet?

Good humor works well because it connects with people at an emotional level. We live in a very serious world. Humor provides us a mental break. For companies, it’s a great way to come across more engaging and naturally, more human.

Most importantly to remember when using humor is making sure to handle it correctly. Sometimes something that is humorous to you could be seen as offensive or negative someone else. Stay simple and lighthearted and always remember to THINK BEFORE YOU TWEET/POST/PIN/PUBLISH.

In Conclusion

This is not just something your community manager should know about; make it a company wide fact. The more people that are on board with your message, the easier it is to build a community, because first and foremost, your company is the building block of your community.

Take into consideration the new ways you can put these tactics into place. Salespeople should send out swag to their customers, people inside the company should be sharing your company’s work, and no one should be too serious, live, laugh, and love.

Keep your community strong and growing for years to come by passing on the love and thankfulness your business has from all the support of its community.

Matt Powers is an in-house Internet Marketer and graphic designer. He also writes his random marketing thoughts on his own blog. Connect with him on Twitter, he’d love to chat.