How to Capture Your Online Community in 2023

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How to Capture Your Online Community in 2023

Whether you’re a small business or a big one, creating an online community is a great way to increase engagement with your brand or business and can lead to a bigger return on investment (ROI).

Whether you’re a small business or a big one, creating an online community is a great way to increase engagement with your brand or business and can lead to a bigger return on investment (ROI). But first, you need to decide what kind of online community you want to create. Are you looking to create a forum for discussion, a place for customers to give feedback and suggestions, or something else entirely? Once you have an idea of what type of community you want to create, you can start to plan out your structure and goals. The hard part is trying to figure out where to start.

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Understand Your Community

Before you can effectively capture and engage your community, you need to understand their preferences, interests, and behavior. This will help you to tailor your approach to their needs and increase your chances of success. Just as a hunter needs to track and observe their prey, you need to track and observe your community to understand what makes them tick and, in turn, effectively capture their attention.

You can see the idea of community being nearly perfectly employed with YouTuber celebrities such as Mr. Beast and PewDiePie. These communities are vast and may seem out of reach, but there are still lessons to be learned. Mr. Beast for example, involves his community expertly, by including common users in his challenges. The Beast brand also branches out beyond challenges, to include merch, burgers and even chocolate bars. His members feel extremely connected to him, so much so that it is part of their every day life.

You may already know your community through your target market, but it’s important to understand more than just what demographic you’re targeting. You need to understand the culture, values, and other interests. Take advantage of the world wide web to gain a better understanding of your target community. This will help you create more meaningful marketing and outreach campaigns to engage with your target community. Here are some possible steps that you can take.

  • Define and refine your target audience based on demographics, psychographics, and behaviors
  • Research your competitors’ communities and target audiences
  • Use website analytics, social media analytics, and other data tracking tools to further define your community
  • Think outside the box. How can you connect with tangentially related products, services or figures to further engage your market.
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Determine How You Will Connect With Your Community

There are many different platforms that you can use to reach your audience. Use existing, free resources; there are the obvious answer, like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more to reach your audience. The downside to using these platforms is that you don’t own them, if something happens to your account you will lose them. The great thing is that a large percentage of your customers are using these platforms daily, so the amount of data you can collect is immeasurable.

Alternatively you can create your own platform that provides to tighter control on content and more detail information on your market. Examples include a blog space, a forum or an email newsletter. Of course, the more you compound these approaches, the better the results. While you have tighter control on content, you will have to generate traffic through which takes time to do organically. This can be accelerated through advertising and paid search, but it is still a long-play.

You're probably asking yourself, what's the best option? And to that we say, "yes". The best solution will depend on who your audience is and what your goals are. But to get started we suggest you go with free platforms. The barrier to entry is almost non-existent, so the risk is low. Using a free platform will give your customers a spot to socialize and express themselves. It also gives you, the brand, the opportunity to get insight into what your customers wants and what they best respond to. From their you can start to architect your larger, more custom, and ideally more engaging solution.

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Grow Your Community

Now that you've observed, dissected and implemented, it's time to put your plan into action. You have already determined your audience and how you are going to reach them. You now need to create engaging content that will turn users into members of your community. Engaging leads to retaining your audience, which can be the most difficult facet of growing a community.

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Retaining Your Audience

There are many options to attempt your audience. We use the word attempt, because no matter what you do, there will be churn. It will be up to you to decide which are optimal, which are neutral, and which are detracting from your brand.

  • Host online or in-person events.
  • Create and share content that engages your followers.
  • Start a podcast or video series.
  • Organize volunteer opportunities.
  • Connect with local influencers.
  • Ask questions and encourage feedback.
  • Develop a blog.
  • Create an online forum or discussion group.

TL;DR

Creating an online community is an effective way to increase engagement and ROI for businesses of all sizes. To be successful, you must first understand your target community and their preferences, interests and behavior. Next, determine the platforms to use for outreach, such as social media or creating your own website. Focus your content and interactions around a specific niche to engage your target community. Lastly, implement strategies to grow and retain your audience. With the right plan in place, you can build a strong and engaged online community that will bring a high return on investment.

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