Building impactful local business communities

We may have hundreds of friends on Facebook, thousands of connections on Linkedin and our posts may get plenty of likes but the way to add real value to your network is to build an impactful community.

A commitment to building a digital community can sometimes be intimidating. It requires going beyond content creation and sharing posts, an impactful community connects with your fans or customers in a meaningful way.

If you are considering building a community firstly we need to establish what will make it a success. A successful community:

Provides supports for its members

Provides a sense of camaraderie

Enables strategic connections

Act as a trusted source of advice

There’s no hack to building communities they are built slowly, member by member but if you invest the time it will help customer retention, employee experience and help generate new customers & brand ambassadors.

The #1 rule for communities is to be purpose-driven. The key to this is to start thinking about how you can best serve your community members and make it a natural fit with the purpose of your business.

Remember your community isn’t all about your business so don't let your desire for brand awareness interfere with the discussions among your users. This destroys the authenticity of their interactions and could turn people off to your business.

It is important to set out the rules of your community you want people to establish meaningful connections but you don’t want people to use your community as a lead sourcing tool, nobody wants to be sold to when they are looking for peer-to-peer advice. Also, establish early on who your community is for this gives you the best chance of nurturing these conversations.

Once you have identified your audience, you can find the right way to connect with them. You can choose the right platform based on the size of your audience, how they prefer to engage for example video, audio, or text.

Start small and test the various platforms to see how they engage. As the numbers grow, you will be able to choose the best platform that suits your requirements.

Finally, involve your members in the decision-making process there is no better way to improve engagement by making your members feel like they have really helped to shape your community.

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