How to Grow a Meaningful Online Community

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A lot of businesses, when working with an online digital marketing strategist, will start out with the question “How do I grow my online presence and increase followers?” And, it’s not always as simple as that. Growing an online presence takes time. Sometimes that can mean a few months, a year, or longer. If you haven’t already built that solid follower base, it’ll take you some time to develop a strategy, and find your groove.

How do I grow my online presence and increase followers?

Let’s start with some follower history in regards to online influencers. How did they get thousands or millions of followers? Generally, and we’re talking about the ones that have grown their online presence organically, they started out by sharing their story. There was something about them that made them interesting to the public. They were sharing something different or unique, or they found their voice and made something that they do interesting in a way that hadn’t been done before. Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to create something new or do something extraordinary. It means that if you share what you know, from your heart, with passion – you will reach people that believe in what you have to say, what you share, and what you do.

If you’re new to the online space and aren’t sure how to share your story, you might have to practice your pitch, practice being in front of a camera, and practice storytelling. Or, if you have the means to hire someone to do this for you, you’ll have to dive deep into your story and the message you want to convey so that the person helping you build your online presence understands the root of your business, and how to share that with the world.

It sounds involved – and it is. With over 3 billion people online, what makes you stand out in the crowd? You don’t need to re-invent the wheel; you just need to tap into the authenticity that makes you, you.

Okay, so now you’re probably thinking, “That all sounds great, but what steps can I follow to get started?”

We’ve put together a list of simple steps to get you going.

 

1. Find Where Your People Are

This means that you want to explore similar brands to yours and see what platforms they perform best on. Do they have more of a following on Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? Or, somewhere else?

2. Start Jumping Into Relevant Online Conversations

Find where your desired user is engaging and start getting in there. Leave comments on other accounts, like posts, add valuable advice in a comment thread, and then watch how people start to take notice. Remember though, you don’t want to spam a thread with sales or sales pitches. You want to bring a human element to your brand. Let people get to know your brand’s personality.

3. Follow Your Competition

It’s okay to use tactics that your competition uses for your benefit. This doesn’t mean that you copy what they do – it means that you’re learning what works and doesn’t work, and maybe you can apply this to your own strategy. Use this kind of research to understand what your ideal user likes and doesn’t like. You can learn a lot from others’ wins and mistakes. Observation is key here.

4. Don’t Let it Consume You

Set aside a couple of hours each week to plan your online strategy. Don’t spend all day, every day going online and trying to grow your following. Having a solid plan of when you’ll follow, like, engage, post, etc. will save you resources, and will help you develop a comprehensive strategy that works.

5. Try and Try Again

If you see growth, great! Keep going in that direction. If you see a pattern of stagnation – you might have to go back to the drawing board. Growing your online presence takes time and a few tweaks here and there to get it right. And, even that doesn’t ensure you’ll continue to grow. There could be months of growth, months of stagnation, and even points of loss. Your job is to monitor this data so that you can better understand what happened when those numbers changed.

If you’ve done the work to understand the core values and mission of your business or brand, you’re already in a great spot to grow your online presence, and start building an online community. Now you need to find your voice. How are you going to convey your messaging to your audience? How are you going to share your story? Start there and the community WILL follow.

Now, let's talk followers.

Click here to learn more about what makes a good online following.

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