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Building an Online Community

  
  
  
  
  
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Small businesses rarely have huge marketing budgets, so harnessing the power of the Internet seems like a good alternative. Except…the Internet is enormous, unwieldy and intimidating. Where do you start? How do you attract customers to your site and get them interested in your products or services? Building an online community could be a good option. Here are some ways to do it:

  • Do you have content (white papers, videos, tutorials, etc.) that would be useful for potential customers? Try creating a membership-only site, where people pay a fee for relevant and useful content. But, as Nathan Segal from CIO.com cautions, “Just make sure the information you’ll provide is unique, has high value, and is unavailable elsewhere for free.”
  • Build an online forum where your customers and others can share useful tips and information. As much as people are steering toward social media for this type of exchange today, forums still have their place for people looking for real answers and information. You, as the forum manager, can then advertise useful products and services to members.
  • Finally, of course, there are traditional social media outlets—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and even Instagram can help you collect fans and potential new customers.

Read more about how to build an online community for your brand.