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Does your Business need a community?

by cbensen on August 21, 2008

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In my post on Marketing 2.0 for Small Business there was a request that I talk about community. It’s an excellent point and it’s difficult to cover every point at length in one article.

The question was:

Some sites and businesses don’t necessarily need a community, more specifically, not all communities are the same.

I agree with that completely! So there are two main points. The process of establishing your business online & where they are interacting on the web.

First it’s important to make sure that you focus on getting your business online. There are many steps. It’s important to make sure that you cover all of the items in the inner circle first before you invest in setting up a platform for a community.

Once your business is established online the next step is to engage with your customers. Hopefully you researched where your customers were at online before you invested in getting set up, but if you didn’t, now is the time. Use Google to search for your brand. Are people talking about your products? Has someone established a group or place where they’re already having conversations? Those are the places to join in. Check social networking sites like Facebook, Google & Yahoo groups and discussion forums. I’ll have more blog posts coming on how to do that.

I think that in doing that you’ll be surprised at what you find. If you don’t find much don’t be disappointed. The next step is to search for groups that could use your products. A good place to start is to use the keywords that you’re using for your SEO (search engine optimization). Start searching for places where there are people that need your product or service. When you find them those are the places to get involved. Just a note of caution! Make sure that you get involved & provide value. Don’t violate their terms of use or worse yet spam people with information that isn’t helpful.

So there are many things you can do before you even consider creating a community site. And you really should do them.

What have I forgotten? Are there parts of that that you have questions on?

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