The introduction of social media has changed the way we connect with friends, family, co-workers and brands, from which, patterns have emerged. These patterns can lead to a qualified business community following, should the data be harnessed correctly.
Here, we explain the meaning of community, its importance, and how a community can help businesses thrive. We use the term "qualified" to highlight the fact that these are not random people joining a community, but people who are engaged with a specific brand or business that could potentially turn in to customers. For a business to survive, they need to disown hard-sell practices and adopt the natural organic community strategy.
What is a Business Community?
When we refer to business community, we mean a group of people who are interested in what a business does, what they're doing, and what they have to say. Your community should be full of people who fit within your buyer personas specifications, along with others within your target market.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is another term for target market or audience that are potential customers. You should create profiles for potential customers to extend your reach, you in effect create stereotypes. Wikipedia defines personas as "...fictional characters created to represent the different user types that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way."
Once you have put together a profile for each potential buyer persona, you can begin to target them with content tailored to their needs and interests. This will then encourage them to engage and join your community.
Find Your Target Market
There are many ways to find people that fit your buyer persona profiles. Once you have recognised where your target market are, what blogs they read, what social networks they use and what their interests are, you can use this to network and connect. To begin, try the following:
- Follow competitors social media channels to see what they're doing, and see who follows them
- Use Followerwonk. Check search terms relevant to your personas, and export lists of competitor's followers that you can then engage with
- Use BuzzSumo to find blogs relevant to your personas to comment on (using targeted keywords)
- Share, comment and like/favourite social posts which you have identified to be relevant using targeted keywords or hashtags. Just be sure to be honest and engage with what you are interested in
Ensure you have a presence online, but be consistent in order to become a reliable and interesting source of information and advice. For more advice on using social media to build your business community, check out Part Two!