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Tips For Creating A Community Around Your Business

Small business marketing is a tricky business. On the one hand, you want to reach your target audience as widely as possible because you believe in your product and the benefits it can bring to people; on the other hand, you’re no big enterprise – you lack large advertising budgets, and feel as if the competition for the attention of your potential clients is becoming more expensive and more challenging to attain.

So how does one manage, after all, to accurately market a small business, without breaking the bank?

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

My personal business – Hedonistit, started as a small lifestyle blog and became a recognized brand in the world of blogging and content. It was built with my own two hands in 2015. Over time, after focusing on my niche and business plan, I decided to use the blog as a platform to begin selling various products and services such as personal consultations, content strategies, visual content, digital courses, and more.

Soon, my small scale business became very profitable, and it didn't happen by chance…

I spent a long period of time fostering a virtual community around my blog. My goal being to join together ambitious women from around the globe, who want to take their life into their own hands, and live it to the fullest.   

The community around my blog created the most amazing thing.

Although I recognized its power from the get-go, only, later on, did I realize how essential it is for my business.

Thanks to the community I lovingly nurtured around my brand over the years, I was able to create products that have real demand and reach my targeted audience in the most direct and authentic way possible.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Your business needs a community, too.

Often the idea of ​​building a community around the business is secondary to other aspects of the business – assuming it is in the mind at all. 

As a small business owner, you are most likely preoccupied with technical aspects like production, billing and shipping, sponsored advertisements on various media channels, and more. 

While all these aspects are important, your primary goal should be to build a quality and active community in the long term. The benefits of a community around the business are greater than increasing the traffic to a store or business site and are also beyond creating awareness for the business. Creating a community around the business creates a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the target audience, and in the long run is beneficial to both the business and its customers.

So why is a community an effective marketing tool for a business?

Generating a dedicated audience is often one of the biggest struggles small business owners face. It's one thing to put a product on the market or offer a service, but it is quite another thing to get people to connect with your brand and buy the product specifically for your small business.

This is exactly where the community comes in.

We, as humans, love to unite. We seek a sense of belonging, to connect with people who share similar values to ours and enjoy the sense of security that the community creates around us. It is more likely that people who receive real value from you, with no exchange, and who share the same values as those of your brand, will prefer to buy a product or service from you rather than trust another business they are less familiar with.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Building relationships with my target audience is one of the things I love most about my business, but surely, to start a successful community you have to invest yourself and your time, and learn and understand some essential details about the topic. In this post, I will share my tips for building a community around your business.

Small Business Marketing Through Community #1 : Start a Blog for Your Business

Some business owners think of a blog as something only “bloggers” need. The fact that a blog can turn into a real business may not sound too far fetched to too many people, but if you ask small business owners to name three ways to promote their business, chances are the word “blog” will not come up in the conversation.

Why’s that? It may be because blogs are still perceived as relatively inferior, or something that is mostly done as a hobby, as opposed to an essential digital asset.

Although there are hardly any businesses that do not already have a website. But a website alone doesn't always offer enough information, personality or authority to stand out from the competition.

This is exactly where the need for a blog comes up.

In fact, a blog is a powerful marketing tool, with which you can build an entire active community, composed of your target audience, and through which you can offer enjoyable and educational content to your ideal buyers about your products and services. Still wondering if starting a business blog is worth your while? Here are five reasons that’ll make you regret that you haven’t yet started your business blog.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Small Business Marketing Through Community #2 : Be Human, Accessible, and Beneficial

The message that should be relayed to your customers is that behind your business is a real, genuine person. Don’t fake it or try to sound like someone else who seems to be doing it better than you. Use your unique voice and just be yourself. People will connect with your voice and the things you share will resonate with your ideal target audience, which over time will become devoted supporters of your brand.

True, most of us have a hard time with exposure, but the truth is that people love and appreciate honesty and authenticity. When you write a blog post, or share a story on Instagram, don’t direct the attention only at your products and services, but also at the challenges, the values your business is based on, and silly things that go on behind the scenes. Readers will appreciate your honesty and the fact that you care to share things that aren’t usually brought up, which is exactly what will make your business more accessible. Authenticity, accessibility, and vulnerability are the building blocks of a true community.

Now, I totally get it, it could be difficult to introduce your true authentic character through your blog, newsletter, and social media. And that’s absolutely fine. It makes perfect sense that it’ll take you some time, but you should strive to get it done if you want to build an active community around your blog and business.

One more thing and no less important is to be helpful to the community you created. Although there are other ways to get people to return over and over again, from my experience, nothing gives a sense of community like giving providing value and mutual help – sharing personal knowledge, tips, and advice.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Small Business Marketing through Community #3 : Post Quality Content

It all starts with good content. The content you create for your blog and social media should speak to your target audience and provide real value.

If the content you post under your brand isn’t interesting, inspiring, entertaining, or of any educational value, people won’t give it more than 10 seconds, and will definitely not come back for more.

After all, we live in an age full of distractions on all sides, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, thousands of content websites sharing articles at a frantic pace, millions of TV channels and countless magazines, oh yeah, and then there’s real life too… So if you’re not creating content that is different or special in any way, the kind that is helpful to your audience, you’re just not giving them a reason to come back.

Your goal is to produce the best content you can possibly create. I know it takes time, and lots of work, but it is better to post less frequently, than to publish insignificant posts on a daily basis that’ll make your readers leave without turning back.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Small Business Marketing Through Community #4 : Use Branding as a Community Creation Tool

Consistent and proper branding leads to trust and solidarity, which forms the basis for the growth of an engaged and loyal community. The values behind your business should be consistently felt and expressed through the tone of voice that you use to communicate with your target audience in all platforms you have presence in {business website, blog, newsletter, and social media} and the visual features that characterize them {logo, color, photography style, graphics, etc.}.

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you really know your target audience. Who are they? What interests them? What areas do they find difficult? Once you’ve defined your target audience you will be able to understand exactly what it is you’re doing and how you can help.                 

A small but excellent exercise that can help you unravel your brand's focus is to complete the following sentence: I, [profession/business niche], help [target audience] solve [problem] and achieve [benefit].

In my case, for example – I, blogger and entrepreneur, help aspiring women overcome the difficulties of setting up and running an independent business and achieve self-fulfillment, passion and a life full of joy.    

Once your business branding becomes holistic and clear, it becomes easier for you to connect with your target audience, create a loyal community that identifies with your brand’s values, build real relationships with other brands based on those values, and avoid things that don’t suit the spirit of your brand.

In the end, once your target audience is able to identify your unique branding,  even if it comes across it outside the boundaries of the business website or store, it means that you succeeded at leaving a real impression on your audience and that you have created an authentic bond.

If you have not yet worked on the branding of your own business, or feel that its branding no longer reflects what it stands for you are welcome to enter my business branding guide, where I explain step by step, how to get it done, correctly and professionally.  

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Small Business Marketing Through Community #5 : Make Sure the Platforms on Which Your Business Operates Are Organized in a Community-friendly Manner

The two things that I find most crucial when creating a community are keeping an ongoing conversation and staying connected over time, so you need to make sure your target audience can easily make those connections with you. Be sure to consider the following :

1. Conversation – Is it easy to comment on the content that you post? Make sure the business blog is designed in a user-friendly way. Check out the blog from a critical point of view and try to leave a comment for one of the posts – Is the comment box easily found? Did you have a hard time leaving a comment {for example, did you have to create a username specific for the website}? Try to make it easy for your readers. If leaving a comment takes too much effort, they’ll most likely give it up.. 

Also, don’t forget to check your inbox and social media for any private messages – being responsive is key. A quick and attentive response directed at your community members will show them that you care and that you are not only interested in pushing your products. If you find it difficult to be available on all different platforms, use an automatic reply bot that sends all your messages to one place, to make sure you don’t miss any! 

2. Keeping in touch – A newsletter is one of the most important tools for building a strong community in the long term. That is why it’s important to make it easy for people to sign up for your newsletter no matter how they encounter your brand – whether it’s through your website, blog, or Instagram. Keep in mind that most people won’t just sign up for the simple sake of being updated, which is why you need to offer them something else of added value {like a free giveaway or a fun discount} to make sure they sign up. If you don’t have an active newsletter you should read this post.

entrepreneurship tips - Creating a Community Around Your Business

Small Business Marketing Through Community #6 : Consistency is the Name of the Game

Another important tool in creating a community is maintaining consistency – in terms of frequency and content. Keeping your posts frequent, constant, and continuous will leave the community you created conscious of your brand, and they will expect and wait for new content from you. If you abruptly stop posting on a particular platform, regardless of whether it’s due to a lack of content or going on vacation, it will weaken your community's trust. This is why it is important to create a bank of content or to announce a change in schedule ahead of time, before a holiday or expected vacation.

The same goes for the nature of the content you share… Don't post content that doesn’t suit your brand because it will create confusion among the members of your community. If you decide to change the branding of your business, it is best to do so gradually or come out with a formal announcement about the changes the brand is undergoing.

Bottom line is, building a strong community around your business is more or less like building true friendship. Think about your best friend, after all you didn’t become besties right away. Your close relationship is a result of shared values and interests, mutual help and support, perseverance, and other small yet major things that are placed at the foundation of your friendship. The same can be said about a community. Though it takes time to create, just like a friendship – it is worth the time and effort you put into it!

What are you currently doing to build a community around your business? And what tips will you take away from this post? Leave me a comment below! 

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One Response

  1. Definitely the key take away is being consistent but before that make sure that you are pointed in the right direction of working. Hedonistit! Thanks for the awesome post….

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