Community… Seems to Be a Buzz Word These Days
If you are still relying on your database and sending newsletters every week, fortnight or month then you are missing out and have been left behind with the times. People today understand email marketing better than ever before. They don’t want useless information that they don’t have time to read, clogging up their inbox.
People want to be a part of something bigger; they want connection, and they want to be a part of a community.
Look at what some of these large corporates are doing because the understand the power of getting people to belong. The airline frequent flyer programs, large banks teaming up with sporting associations and numerous hospitality organisations with VIP cards.
What is your business doing to create a community?
Creating a community is one of the most powerful things a business can be doing right now to market themselves. It means that you create walking billboards, that you have people sharing you into their networks and that you generate more referrals from all of this exposure.
So what do you need to do to create a community?
Firstly, you have to understand what a community is and what does that look like for your business. A community can be created in many different ways, and you need to have an end outcome in mind. Your community must be present so that you can add value to them, build relationships with, show them how credible you are and not just to sell to them. No one wants to be a part of a community that pitches to them all day.
Your community is a group that you must care about, that you must engage with personally and that you must interact with on a regular basis. If you do this then your community will create new opportunities for you, they will share you with their networks, and they will be your biggest supporter.
So why is this so important?
When you think that people buy from those that they know, like, trust and think are credible the quicker you can make the happen the quicker you make sales. But it is even more than that, the more people you have in your network, the more people you will be introduced to.
Did you know that 80% of your network will never buy from you (the good old 80/20 rule) so rather than them being dead wood to you, by bringing them into a community they can still share their network with you, they can still promote you and still have a relationship with you.
Creating a community is not very hard with social media platforms. You can create groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that are closed to the public and just your people can operate in them. Google+ has a community’s page where you can create a community, so taking action and bringing all your people together in one place is not very difficult.
We made a big decision in 2013 to change the way we engaged with our network. We use to send out weekly emails and bombard people with information, and then we changed. Instead, we created a Facebook group and shared tips, tricks, videos and ways to help businesses grow their business with referrals. The group would then share that information with their networks, and before we knew it, we had a following of people that we didn’t even know.
We got better interaction, better conversations and better conversions instantly. Today we have groups on every social platform, we do referral tv and have the #1 ranked podcast in referral marketing. We learnt that interaction with people and ‘caring’ for them meant that they would care back and create new opportunities for us.
The key is why do you want a community and what will it do for your business.
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About the contributor:
Michael Griffiths is the #1 Authority on Referral Marketing Training and helps people to generate more referrals, use their networks more effectively and create new business through partnerships. See Michael’s Facebook group in action at www.facebook.com/groups/michaelgriffiths