Online communities are most successful when loyal members transform into fanatics. Unfortunately for website managers, this is no easy task. There are many theories on how to collect loyal users and feed them the content they are looking for, but there are only a few best practices that consistently work.
At BlogWorld New Media Expo, online community expert Dino Dugan shared his insights on which best practices deliver results.
Emotions are key: Being vulnerable, genuine, helps build community
- Make community members feel welcome by facilitating, answering, connecting, and thanking.
- Create a special language that makes users feel included.
- Helping is the new selling : Give away what you know. Helping will make users feel supported.
- Recognize value. Showing that you understand that users are looking for quality will make them want to come back. In essence, create content that inspires and lives up to user expectations.
- If they’re doing something for free, that means it’s not about money … it’s about passion.
- Strive to be somebody’s favorite. Be specific in your blog. General content doesn’t cut it.
Be sure to have a CTA (call to action)
- Experts say that eyeballs are over-rated, and that page views should not be a goal. Convert viewers into fanatics by prompting them to respond.
- Building community comes down to intention: What is the intention behind your community?
- Fill in the blanks: because of this Blog, <specific audience> will <specific benefit>
- Then observe “after visiting this blog I want readers to do (this), and then second to do (this).”
Be different. Change it up!
- Using awards and rankings are another way to generate unique content & draw viewers.
- Do the blog headline exercise: write 50 DIFFERENT headlines that answer questions for your audience.
- Publish at least 1 non-standard post a week: interviews, videos, podcasts, presentations, and surveys
- Avoid “Superbowl” mentality (one ad that goes to many). Use many highly targeted ads to segmented audiences.
Look at your community in the long-term
- Consider your blog in years, not months. Be specific to be someone’s fave.
- Create a cohesive business model: social -> blog -> speaking -> clients.
- Be consistent. Keep to a schedule.