Six reasons why you should build a community around your business
Creating a community around your organisation is a time investment that can boost engagement, get your name on the radars of people you wouldn't normally have access to, and ultimately improve your business across the board. Companies that fail to make themselves appear human and approachable are less likely to be chosen by customers, as well as by future talent when they're looking to fill job roles. Ultimately, this will negatively impact the business as a whole, and make it more difficult to evolve than if you had easy, close relationships with customers.
Here's why building a community around your business is absolutely worth the effort.
Social media itself is a community; no matter what platform you use, the algorithms group you together with like-minded people and create that community for you. Social media is so big now that customers have come to expect some kind of presence from the brands they want to spend money with. In fact, some customers may be suspicious of a lack of social presence.
The importance of social media is no secret; Facebook has been around since 2004 and Twitter since 2006, with several others successfully following suit since, so there's no excuse for not having a presence on these platforms.
As a business that wants to keep close to its customers and engage with them, why wouldn't you be spending time where they do? On average, internet users spent 114 minutes every day on social media and messaging apps, according to Statista, and this year, over 3.6 billion people are using social media worldwide.
Much of the time, interacting with a chatbot is like using an interactive FAQ page but they can also be set up to mimic speaking with a real person. Realistically, the aim is to mirror that real-world experience as closely as possible, giving your customers the soothing illusion of building a human relationship.
Facebook groups are a particularly powerful marketing tool for any business, and a chatbot can be incorporated to ensure that your business is available 24/7.
Having a community around your business means you have other people involved in your journey. Not only does this make you far more accessible to them, which customers enjoy, but they can even act as a sounding board as your business and brand evolve. Try involving your audience in your decision-making process — perhaps ask which version of a logo or packaging they prefer.
Not only can this improve your business and help hone your direction, but it helps you identify with what your customers want in the future.
As well as customers becoming avid listeners and potential advisors, they can also become cheerleaders, which is the best kind of marketing. When people are looking for recommendations on a business to hire or work with, they don't just want to know what that company has to say about itself – they want first-hand experiences from customers, who are the most honest judges.
Your business's community can generate plenty of (free) marketing on your behalf, provided you treat them well, which is incredibly valuable.
Your community could also serve itself with questions from newcomers being answered by those loyal customers who just want to help. This takes some of the pressure off you as a business owner.
What will truly draw people into your community is a human image. This is something businesses need to cultivate for themselves, but it doesn't have to be difficult; it's all about how you speak to customers and how you present yourself in a casual, approachable way. The average customer responds far better to a business that communicates in a conversational way than one which exclusively uses a corporate tone. There's a sense of friendship, care and attention that comes with this approach – and who doesn't want that?
In short, creating a community for your business is a recipe for increased trust, a cheeky bit of free marketing, and, ultimately, longevity for your organisation and its image.
Want to know how a chatbot can improve how you communicate with your customers? Take a look at our guide, here.