People are highly social creatures. We tend to have our own opinion concerning every little thing around and quite often we are anxious to share this opinion with someone. If people use your products or services, attend your club or belong to your community they will definitely make up their opinion of what they get and they will share it with others whether you like it or not. So the best thing you can do is to provide them with a place where to exchange their opinions and ideas. This will show your audience you care about them, will increase customer loyalty and will give you an opportunity to monitor and influence what people say about your organization. Not by making the disappointed shut up, of course. But by listening to their needs and feedback, showing better sides of your business and changing your company to better serve the target audience. This is one of the core principles of the marketing of today: when there are many more or less identical service providers a customer can go to, win the ones that get off their spots and go to the customer themselves.
There are of course many steps to be taken on your way to a successful and beneficial online community. Just like marketing starts long before you have the product, online community starts before you’ve got the web-portal up and running. The portal is just a tool, very important and decisive, but only a tool that should be used knowledgeably and nattily. So before your portal is ready, start planning the activity and gathering the team.
If you want people to come and stay you have to give them something. And as in many other marketing projects, the ridden to death AIDA formula is also applicable here. the new audience will not come to you as if by magic. You have to catch their Attention. It’s up to you how to do that: by viral marketing, by launching a new product or by unbelievable discounts. Then when they are looking in your direction you are supposed to show them something of Interest and this is when knowing your audience is a must as only in this case you will find something that will make the visitors stay a bit longer. Just enough for you to awake their Desire to join your community – to get some valuable knowledge, advice or to get support and sense of community. And finally the last step of the cycle is to bring the users to Action – involve into communication, turn into active community members contributing to your brand awareness.
Users will not develop the community for you. That is why to achieve these goals you need community evangelists, charismatic online leaders, who will move other community members to the right direction. For sure you can wait until there occur ‘organic’ leaders, people who will be so much in love with your organization that they will dedicate their time to promoting and developing it. But it may take a long time to happen, and probably when such organic leaders arrive, there will be nobody to fill with enthusiasm any more. So to trigger some buzz in your online community you will need at least several people to help you.
Marketing manager – this person will help you get closer to your target audience, understand their needs better and define the most beneficial development direction for your community.
Community manager – an enthusiast who knows the subject and is keen to discuss it actively with others. This person will build a real community around your brand or society.
Content manager – a person who will create content and plan community development. Only with his help your target audience will get the information that will make them not only stay but also bring friends.
PR manager – a team member who will plan and organize events to attract more people and increase customer loyalty and brand awareness, monitor reaction on events and adjust the strategy.
These people will make up the core of your online community team when the portal will be functioning. And their work and activity will bring organic leaders and members to the community that will grow exponentially.
Development of the portal itself and its design is a one-shot activity and it’s reasonable to entrust the job to an experienced team who will be ready to provide ongoing maintenance and support for your project. Spritecs will be happy to help you with these tasks. If you have any questions on the subject don't hesitate to contact us.