The greatest achievement any business can garner is when people build communities around their brand. It is not an easy thing to perform but it does happen, although rarely occurs quickly.
Building an online community requires patience, diligence and persistence – but most of all discipline. It requires the use of proven methodologies which one fine tunes to capture the interest of participants which fit the company’s demographic target.
1) Tell your story – Nothing is more credible and sincere than your story. The story of small business is typically one of achievement in spite of difficult circumstances. Don’t be afraid to share something that you may not necessarily proud of. For instance, if you come from a humble upbringing, you have much to be proud of starting your own business. Yours is the story of ambition and living the American dream. I dare say, all small business owners have an inspiring story to tell if you reach deep enough.
2) A reason for belonging – Think about why we have communities to begin with. We form communities because the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Find a need for collaboration among your customers – something that drives them together in a positive way and you are well on your way to forming a community around your brand.
3) Create an American Idol – Your brand needs something distinctive enough that people embrace it for itself. One of my favorite brands is Coca-Cola. Think of all the memorabilia available with that brand name. I think you could supply almost everything in your home with a Coca-Cola logo. Why do people embrace the Coca-Cola brand (emblem, logo, design)? Because they identify it with some aspect of themselves – they own it. This is magic, small business owners, but it DOES happen! For example, it might be a really great t-shirt design you’ve done for your business. Everyone wants one! Congratulations, you’ve done it!
4) Share your culture – One of the reasons why people do business with you is they like you and your employees. They like the way you do business. Put more plainly, they like your style. Now, all you need to do is to transmit that style, your culture, over the airwaves to your online community (which more than likely includes potential customers as well as current customers).
Building a community online around your brand can be both challenging and rewarding. Buzz My Biz stands ready to assist you on this journey which begins with a single step.