Studies have shown that consumers are about 20% more likely to decide to invest time and money into the community’s brand after joining an online community.
This is just one of the many benefits your brand can gain from growing its community. Implementing a good growth strategy and studying the data you gain from users can give you key insights that you may have otherwise missed.
Community growth also comes with other benefits, such as building a stronger connection between your brand and its audience, which increases your brand’s return-on-investment and nets you more subscriptions.
However, growing your community can be a difficult task. You will need careful planning and research to see the true business value of improving your online community. To help guide you, we’ve collected a few tips to help reinforce your community growth strategies.
Help your new members connect to the community
When a new reader joins the community, chances are they may hesitate to participate in activities and discussions immediately. To help them connect to others and keep them engaged, introduce them to the community culture. Use FAQs on your platform and tools like email marketing to show new readers what your brand is about.
Your long-time readers can also be a great way to get your new readers comfortable with the community space and participation. Your community’s vibe is a good indicator of how your brand and content work, which lets them acclimate more quickly and feel more encouraged to start contributing to discussions and interactions.
This improves how engaged your readers are, and the faster new readers join your online discussions and engage with your brand, the more likely it is that they’ll become brand advocates themselves. Your brand will benefit from connections to even more new visitors, which will continue to feed into your retention and conversion rates.
Cater to your customers
When creating an online community for your digital media brand, keep your intended readers and what they’re looking to get out of your brand in mind. Creating an appealing community for your readers to be a part of incentivizes them to return at a later date.
Consider what a new reader gets when they look for a community. What are their key interests and needs, and what will they get that’s exclusive to your platform? Whether it’s the breaking news that’s on everyone’s minds at that moment or exclusive scoops on niche topics that they can’t find anywhere else, your reader’s preferences will change from person to person.
Once you have several dedicated readers, keep communication open between them and your team. Use tools like surveys to ask your readers what types of events and topics they’re interested in and implement them into your community as it grows.
It’s been proven that using analytic tools can give you further insight that you may have missed from conducting surveys. Maintaining communication and adjusting your content to fit your reader’s wants is a good strategy to incentivize brand loyalty and convert new members.
Provide an incentive with personalised content
What attracts new readers to your community? Why would they choose to visit your digital media brand over another? While some readers are satisfied with general topics and coverage, others may need some incentive to visit your platform over others.
There are several ways to provide this incentive, such as giveaways, contests, and free subscription periods. Offering incentives for long-time readers with giveaways like a referral program can increase the number of people that join, leaving your content to appeal to them once they’re on your platform.
Additionally, items like digital badges or discounts can make joining a welcoming committee far more appealing. A good community can easily build audience engagement and retention by providing things your audience likes.
Provide consistent updates and cover fresh & interesting topics
A community around sports, news or other forms of digital media needs to update and provide new content as it comes in continually. Most media brands will have no issues doing this. Still, it’s important to consider individual user preferences and provide content tailored toward them. Ensure that you’re providing new content at a reasonable pace; your brand will automatically see boosted retention rates and conversions, leading to community growth over time.
On top of this, you also can’t just provide content with no substance – it’s important to report and publish enjoyable and well-written articles. When you’ve just started your community, this will be the most important factor in growing your audience. Soon enough, frequent visitors will share your content with their acquaintances and increase brand awareness as a whole
Guide & Moderate Community Interactions
With a growing community, the chances of encountering toxic and offending behaviour also increase. To prevent your online community from developing a bad reputation that hurts your overall brand image, ensure you have a moderation team that will enforce your community guidelines.
A good moderator or community manager should be well aware of your guidelines and work towards moderating community behavior while representing your digital media brand. Being people-oriented is also important since their ability to connect to your readers is what can help them mediate situations and maintain civility across your community space.
Good moderation support means that your audience will recognize that you care about them and the community you’ve built, which fosters brand loyalty and encourages them to revisit and recommend your brand to others.
Continue to Adjust Your Advertising
As you might expect, advertising is one of the best ways to grow a community directly. While your existing readers can easily refer their friends to your community, your brand should actively be carrying out marketing and advertising campaigns to showcase your brand and appeal to potential visitors.
Advertising works in conjunction with the other factors we’ve outlined to grow your community, so make sure to allocate a proper budget to marketing efforts to ensure proper community growth.
These are several ways you can grow your online community. Keeping track of market trends and your readers’ needs makes growing your community a simple task. Keep in mind your company’s goals and mission when adjusting your strategies to keep engaging your audience. With some effort, you’ll see a noticeable increase in retention and a boosted opinion of your brand, which will pave the way toward the successful growth of your online community.