How to Create Community Interaction

Online, connecting with your audience is a strong business building tactic. It’s been mentioned before, but we’ll say it again – people buy from people they trust, they like, and who they consider to be experts.

By spending time to create a community, you’re establishing your business as trustworthy and credible. You’re also likely communicating your brand and your personality.

Continuing to use the marathon training business example, imagine you’re considering training for a marathon. Would you buy a book on how to train for a marathon from a sales page you just happened to land on?  You don’t know who is selling, who wrote the book or what their credentials are. Or would you buy a book from someone who shares their experience, knowledge and advice in an easy to access manner? Someone you can connect with via their blog or on social networking sites?

Chances are, if you’re like most consumers, you’re going to buy from the ‘real’ person. This means it’s helpful for entrepreneurs to pre-sell by building a community.

So how do you get people engaged? Many businesses use Facebook for this type of engagement (but certainly don’t rule out using comments features on your own site too.)  But be sure to think through how you “engage” your audience.

Use questions to engage your audience. But be sure to use open ended questions – nothing that can be answered “yes” or “no.”

Consider the type of response you’ll get – and tailor it based on where they’re writing. So for example – on Facebook, people don’t typically write TONS of lengthy responses…. it’s a very “fast” medium. So ask perhaps a question that will generate a shorter response like “what’s one word that best describes your mom” or “what’s the most important trait your mother taught you?” if you’re writing on Mother’s Day.

Conversely, if it’s your blog, where people might tend to be more verbose, conside “what’s the fondest childhood memory you have of your mother?” or “what advice did your mother share with you about becoming a mom?”

Consider using polls to generate interaction.

Be visible – participate yourself too. Don’t just post and run…. check in regularly to see what’s happening or have your site send you emails letting you know about new posts.

Remember – cultivating readership is a bit like cultivating friends – you have to take time, ask questions and actually listen to get to know your audience. But it’s worth the investment if you do.

Category: Blogging, Content Management, Customer Relationships

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