Every content marketing program needs an online community to support it. By converting your target audience into fans, followers, and subscribers, you are effectively earning the right to communicate with your targets directly. For that reason alone, it is important to encourage your target audience to like your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, join your LinkedIn Group and, perhaps most importantly, sign up to receive your opt-in e-mails and newsletter. Once they do, you have a direct channel for sharing messages to help move them down the path to purchase.
5 Tips for Building a Community of Fans, Followers and Subscribers
1. Start Small
Focus on just one area at first. You will be much more successful concentrating your efforts on building a community on Twitter, for example, than on trying to simultaneously build one on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. Build a successful community on one platform before tackling the next, and make sure to leverage your existing community to help build others. Once you have built a good following on LinkedIn, for example, you can convert that community into subscribers for your e-newsletter.
2. Provide Value
If you are sharing useful content (even if it isn’t your own), people will be far more inclined to join your community than if you are just making noise. Take care to select content that will resonate with your audience because it is useful to them. If you can become a trusted resource by sharing valuable and relevant content, and over time your community will grow.
3. Actively Engage
Pose questions, foster discussions, and always respond when people contact you. In
addition, try to forge personal connections with people and to bring everyone together so that they feel like they are a part of a real community. That means not simply broadcasting out at your audience, but also actively listening to them and interacting with them.
4. Show Some Personality
It is important to be more than just a logo. Develop a voice for your company that helps personify your business and lets people know that they are dealing with real people, not just a company. Share photos of employees where appropriate and make it easy for your audience to relate back to you.
5. Be Patient
Building an online community is a marathon, not a sprint. It is going to take time, so keep your expectations in check. The good news is that once you establish a community, as long as you continue to nurture it, it will continue to grow.
No matter where or how you start, building a community of fans, followers, and subscribers will go a long way toward helping you drive more conversions. Once you are able to directly contact your target audience, getting them to do other things is only one step away. Of course, you are going to have to give them a reason to take that step.