When business owners start out with blogging, email newsletters, and social media, it’s usually because they want to market their companies and products or services.
But by thinking a little bit bigger and incorporating things like online forums, hangouts, discussion groups, and active common threads into these activities, you could do something even more powerful: build an online community.
Building an online community takes more time and work than simple marketing does, of course, but there are a number of reasons any business owner or executive should consider making the effort…
First: There are the Business Benefits
A popular website can be a great thing for your business, but building an online community – one that’s a hub of new posts and ideas, is even more powerful. That’s because all of that content draws in colleagues and new potential customers, and catapults your website to the top of Google’s search engine rankings. Plus, being at the front of a popular and growing online community naturally positions you as an expert in your field.
Then: There is the Potential for New Partnerships and Relationships
Sometimes, the best part about founding an online community isn’t the new sales it brings, but the partnerships and collaborations it inspires. That’s because you could suddenly find yourself meeting others in your industry, or in related fields, who can share ideas with you on growing your company or providing better service. These ideas can help your business grow in dozens of different ways, even if they don’t lead to a direct and immediate improvement in sales.
Finally: You Might Start Something Very Big
Like your business itself, the online community that you build could begin to pick up some momentum and grow into something spectacular. Remember that every major industry forum or social media group you’ve ever come across, even the biggest ones, were begun by someone who saw a need or opportunity. Why couldn’t your online community – built around your original vision – be the next big thing?
Just like any community, your online community could grow, take on a life of its own, and turn into something that’s bigger than you ever imagined. And even if it doesn’t, you’ll get a lot of marketing benefits from posting new content, finding others who can contribute smart ideas to your website, and becoming a source of information and advice.
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