A Community of Your Own
Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn Groups and other third-party social platforms are fantastic places to find, attract and engage your target market. Your interaction with your target market and ideal clients; however, should NOT end with your use of these networks. It is important for you to first meet the folks with whom you want to work on their home turf (i.e., third-party social networks) and then inspire them to connect with you on your home base (e.g, your mailing database, email list and/or a community that you control).
While building a private online community for your business does take effect and can require a community manager, effectively maintaining such a community is a highly effective way to
- increase brand loyalty;
- learn more about the wants, needs, desires and habits of your target market in a closed setting in which you influence the environment;
- launch informal focus groups;
- implement various campaigns; and
- influence the behavior of your core market and ideal clients.
There are lots of platforms that make online community-building free – from a software/tools perspective. A few community platforms with great potential for small business owners are listed below. I suggest checking them out …
- KickApps —> http://www.kickapps.com
- GroupSite —> http://www.groupsite.com
- Ning –> http://www.ning.com
- Pluck —> http://www.pluck.com
- Jive SBS —> http://www.jivesoftware.com
- BlueKiwi —> http://www.bluekiwi-software.com
- WordPress + Wishlist Plugin —> http://www.wishlist.com
- Lithium —> http://www.lithium.com
- Leverage Software —> http://www.leveragesoftware.com
Now that you know what to do, how will you use this information to take UpwardAction® in your business?