How to leverage online communities to market your business

Transcript – How to leverage online communities to market your business

Online communities can be a great way to promote your business, whether it’s a Facebook group, a LinkedIn group, a subreddit, or even just following a hashtag on Twitter. Making people know about your business for free using online communities can be a great way to spread the word. There are certain rules and certain things you shouldn’t do and things you should do in order to get the best from doing that. I’m going to break down all of those down for you coming up after this.

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Hey, everyone, Darren Taylor here of thebigmarketer.co.uk giving you tips, insight, and opinion on all things marketing. If that’s up your street, you should consider subscribing. I’m looking at individual communities online and how they can really help you spread the way about your business, product or service. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a product or service, letting people know more on online community can be very powerful for your business, but there are certain things you can and can’t do. Let’s jump right in and I’ll go through the things you need to do or shouldn’t do when promoting your business through online communities.

The first thing to think about is that you don’t want to go in with a hard pitch straight away. It’s crazy to do that because you’re going to alienate people straight away who’ve been on the forum adding value over time and you’re going to come in straight away and start pitching sales to them or products or services to them. That’s not going to fly in those kind of groups. Whether it’s a forum, a subreddit or any kind of thing like that. If you pitch, pitch, pitch at that forum, then you’re going to get into trouble. You’re going to get kicked out, people aren’t going to respect what you’ve got to say and they’re going to think you’re salesy.

online community marketing

Online communities can be a good source of growth, just don’t spam them!

That’s not the way to do things. This leads perfectly onto my next point and that is, what do you do if you’re not allowed to pitch your service directly into these communities? That’s easy. All you need to do is provide value to those users of the community.When they see you’re providing value, talking about your subject matter like you know it like the back of your hand, they are really going to be engaged with you. They’re going to talk to you, they’re going to give their opinions and feedback, and they’re really going to engage with you on a higher level. When it comes to the time when they’re ready to purchase or need to find a service or product that fits the description of your business, they will knock on your door because you’ve been there providing value to them as a valued user of that community. That’s really going to help you in the future.

You Need to Be Consistent

The third thing to think about is to be consistent. There’s no point in joining an online community, whether it’s Reddit or even a forum or any Facebook group or anything like that, and literally turn up one day, post loads of value, loads of content, loads of information, be really, really helpful and then two weeks later you’ve done nothing since then or three weeks later passes, you’ve done nothing since then. Then you go again and start posting more and more things again in maybe four or five weeks time. There’s a break in consistency there. That’s not going to work for your business. You need to make sure you’re posting consistently, providing value because the other thing to remember is on these forums everyone doesn’t login every single day. What’s going to happen is there’s going to be spacing in the amount of times people engage with the forums. You want to there when everyone shows up, so you’re always going to be in the minds of people providing that value about your business.

Tip number four is to be respectful of the group. Whether that’s the admin, whether it’s the structure because, let’s be honest, a lot of these groups sometimes have an admin who has set clear rules for the group. You need to remain within those rules, otherwise you risk being kicked out or alienated. Make sure you follow those rules very carefully when you slide into any online community. Because the people who own and run that community are very precious of that community because they want to make sure it’s consistently adding value to the people who are members. Doing anything that will break that value-add is really going to hurt you as a business as well.

Yes, some groups are a bit political, there’s a hierarchy, not just from the admins. There are some groups where you have the admins, then you have regular contributors who think they are kind of the police of the group. Sometimes when you’re new into a group, you just have to respect that and get on with it. Just see what happens, continue to add value, continue posting, and being that person who’s the go-to guy for your subject matter, and then you’ll be able to be one of those people in the hierarchy as you climb the ladder in terms of cashing in your respect and what you’ve done on that forum, because that is the way you’re going to really build relationships long-term.

 

Share the Love, Don’t Just Talk About Yourself

That leads perfectly on to my next tip which is to make sure you’re not just talking about yourself. It’s very easy to do when you think you’re going to go into a community and start telling people about adding value. You really want to kind of push your message across in some respect which is good if it’s not a sales message, a direct selling message and you’re trying to add value which is great. At the same time, you’re there to also communicate with others. Get involved in other discussions, comment on other people’s content, provide valuable feedback to others as well. Don’t just rest on your own content and your own situation. Look at what other people are posting and get involved in all those discussions. Don’t just start your own threads, also reply to other people. That is really important.

My next tip isn’t really a tip, it’s more of a statement and that is, it’s hard work promoting your business in an online community. It takes a very, very long time to build up respect for your business and for what you’re trying to say and what you’re trying to achieve. You can’t just walk up to a forum and expect results straight away, you can’t expect sales straight away. This is just going to help you assist getting sales. I know I said at the beginning of the video it’s a great way to market your business for free, which it is, but at the same time you need to make sure you have expectations set in your mind that it’s going to be a slow burner. It’s going to take a very long time to build these relationships and to see those in revenue and bottom line from the back forums and online communities, it’s going to take a while and it might not even be direct. Guys, stay consistent, stay at it, and you will eventually reap the rewards of turning up and showing up every day.

Don’t forget, I talk a lot about personal branding. In fact, the actual reason I’m doing this channel is personal branding. People get to know who I am in the marketing industry. The same thing goes for forums. When you’re posting on forums, think of your personal brand. Every time you communicate, that is your brand coming across, do not forget that. Come across in the right way, and you’ll do very well within all forums you join.

 

It’s a Great Way to Get Feedback

Finally, looking at online communities and forums aren’t just for getting your business name out there. It’s also for helping with the direction of your business as well. A great way to get feedback. What you can do is you can go into a really good forum, really targeted to what you’re trying to talk about and your target audience. Ask questions, be very open, and make feedback or providing feedback for the user as easy as possible. Ask very clear and concise questions with specific areas of feedback. Even if you’re not sure, narrow it down with multiple choice options and eventually the feedback to your business that you get from the forums will be really useful and you can use it to drive your business forward as well. If the feedback you require is very specific and very detailed, try and take it offline as well.

There’s no harm in asking people to get in touch with you directly via your website to give that detailed feedback and maybe even incentivize people for giving feedback. Maybe a free trial of your product, maybe some kind of free offer of some kind that they can really help within your industry. Something like that’s really going to help get engagement back from people within online communities and really get the answers you need to drive forward as well. Thank you guys so much for watching this video. If you liked it, please leave me a like. Leave me some comments below, let me know what you think about using online forums to promote your business. Let me know of your successes or otherwise. More important than that, don’t forget to subscribe and check out the other awesome content on my channel. I’ll see you guys next time.

Darren Taylor