If you successfully build a community around your brand, it can help engage existing customers and help you find new ones, too. Benefits include:

  • Social proof …
  • Link love…
  • Lower Cost of Advertising…
  • High customer retention…
  • The list goes on…

Let’s look at each of the above benefits a bit closer:

Social Proof

Having a community that surrounds your brand means that people are willing to converse with you and talk about your service or product.

For example, if you’re looking to choose a new type of software for your business and see an active and supportive community around a specific brand, wouldn’t you be more inclined to try that brand than one without a following or evangelists?

In the world of search engine optimization and online marketing, links are powerful. Your community will continually help your SEO by building new links and expose prospective customers directly to where you are waiting to engage with them.

Cost of Advertising

A community that rallies around a brand can help propel that brand forward with minimal cost relative to other traditional marketing channels. Social marketing can equate to free advertising. People who “like” your comments and share your content with other people are helping you succeed.

Customer Retention

When you build a community of people around your product or service, they are more likely to stay loyal.

If you provide value through your offerings and community presence, your business will not only become a solution to your customers’ problems, but also a go-to resource. By making your small business and surrounding community an expert forum for your clients, you will receive more repeat business.

How do you build a community around your brand?

  • Your Small Business Blog:
    Blogs can be highly interactive. They can join them to receive new posts via RSS feeds and can be notified of new comments. Prolific and interesting industry blog posting can create an engaged and qualified community that grows over time.
  • Your Facebook Fan Page:
    Facebook is be a great place for you to interact with clients and your community. By having a Facebook Fan Page, you can have people follow your business and experience your corporate story and expertise via the newer Timeline format. When Fans interact with your Fan Page, it also opens the possibility of bringing in new visitors that see their friends interacting with your page on their Timelines. This can help you nurture a continually expanding online community around your brand. The more followers, the more social proof that you are worth following.
  • Twitter:
    People who follow you on Twitter will see short updates from you and many of those can be responded to and re-tweeted. Those activities can grow the community by pulling in other interested Twitter users who could be led to your other online communities where associations and relationships will continually strengthen.
  • Google Places and Review Sites:
    If your business is local or regionally targeted, Google Places and other review sites can show people reviews and other information about your site. As people create their own reviews on popular online places, this helps you illustrate your expertise and helps you draw more visitors to your page. Be sure to complete online profiles for review sites and address reviews — both good and bad.

Developing a community can take time and effort but it can have excellent results.

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