As an online business, your core demographic is your lifeline. You can think of your core demographic or niche like a fire that constantly needs to be stoked. The last thing you want is for the fire to die down to embers, because that means your e-commerce shop won’t be viable anymore. So, how do you stoke the fire? One of the best ways is to find a strategy that builds community engagement. However, many businesses think that by simply starting a website or starting a social media campaign, that the community will come to them. The truth is, though, that it is a little more difficult that that. Here are some effective community engagement strategies for online businesses.
One of the best strategies is to simply be reliable. The more reliable your business is, the greater your community engagement will be. Reliability is also incredibly simple and doesn’t require your business to exhaust resources. One of the best ways to be reliable is to be there for your customers and your community. For example, if you notice a growing concern on your social media feed or if customers have questions, your company needs to swing into action. Even if the concern doesn’t have to do with your business, perhaps there is something your business can do.
Another strategy is to be a part of the community. There are a number of ways to embed your business into the community. You can start by finding a directory script that lists hyperlinks of relevant websites your demographic or niche may be interested in visiting. You can also increase your activity on social media. For example, you can make comments on updates and posts and you can even share posted information. For instance, if someone within your community has an interesting update, you can write a thoughtful comment or give it a nod of approval by reposting it on your business’ social media page.
Next, you want to imagine your campaign not as a marketing ploy, but as a genuine effort to engage. If you simply advertise and spam your community – your efforts will undoubtedly backfire. If you actively engage, you will have a much better response from your community. You can do this by giving back, hosting contests, sending out free products or offering your services gratis – anything to give back. However, you don’t want to run the risk of groveling, so you want to know when enough is enough.
Lastly, another great strategy is to showcase your community. If your demographic is niche or “underground” – you may want to take your resources and promote your community to a wider audience. Doing this will promote greater engagement with your company and it will build respect and trust. As a business, building trust with your community is critical, because you will also be building loyalty. Statistics show that loyalty is worth its weight in gold when it comes to commerce – especially e-commerce. In the end, the more trust you can build – the better your business will fare in the competitive world of the online marketplace.