College is an interesting time of life for most people. Faced with new-found freedom and an abundance of ideas, there’s so much opportunity to learn and grow.
But when I think of my time in college, there’s really one thing that I consistently look back on with fondness: the community.
This isn’t a dig against the academic rigor of my alma mater. I simply attribute it to the fact that as humans, we are naturally wired to be drawn to be in community with other people. In fact, that’s really the reason that I applied in the first place: I met some genuinely awesome people.
Humans love to feel that they are part of a valuable community. From a business perspective, there are few things more valuable than being the facilitator of a loyal online community. Prospects will be ready to be engaged by your brand and participate in relevant discussion. The greatest challenge is to get people in the door.
When you look to start your online community, there is one important thing to keep in mind: if you build it, they won’t come.
What I mean here is that it takes a lot more than an empty shell to create a community. It takes hard work to get people in the door. Here’s how:
The secret: Create exceptional, value-adding content.
Having the right channels is important. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn groups, or some other platform, you need to have the means in place for people to commune.
The secret to getting people in the doors and keeping them there is to create exceptional, value-adding content — and providing the opportunity for discussion to take place.
The challenge remains: what makes for great content that will truly add value and retain community members? It all starts with an understanding of the types of people who you want to be active in your community. What are their greatest challenges? What questions are they always asking? Which answers are they most likely seeking?
The answers to these questions will help you to hone in on the type of content that you should be creating in order to establish your company as a leading resource in the industry.
Ultimately by investing in this community, you will create a culture of sharing, and members will begin asking and answering questions. If you go to just about any popular LinkedIn group, you will find people being genuinely helpful. These advocates will help you to continue building a loyal community, all while keeping it sustainable.
So there you have it. It’s all about creating content that makes a difference in people’s lives. How will you use content to build your community?