Why You Absolutely Must Build an Online Community for Your Business

online community

There is a really big difference between an audience and a community. An audience is one-way. It is not interactive. It isn’t social. An audience passively watches or reads. An audience doesn’t participate. Or share with others. It just observes.

Global communication concept

On the other hand, a community is a two-way conversation. It is a living, breathing thing. It is extremely interactive. It is Social. Sure, there are some people who just watch or read, but many more participate and share with their friends. And that is why your business needs to build an online community.


So what exactly is community building? Well, your mother was right; to make friends you have to BE a friend and this especially applies to business marketing online.


It is not enough for a business or brand just to exist on the Internet any more. Your business needs to thrive and attract attention, and the way to do this is have an active community. The days have gone when all businesses needed was an online presence which basically consisted of having a website with a logo on it and a way for people to email you.


Even now, if all you have done is just fired off a few tweets or made a couple of Facebook posts about what your brand has been up to this week, that really is the bare minimum that you can get away with. You need to think of that as being your starting point.


From there you can build a community of like-minded people who aren’t just your customers – they’re also your potential customers, your peers, the leaders, innovators, visionaries and stand-out voices in your industry. If you create a space for all of these people to join you in conversation you and your business will reap huge rewards.


Why Bother?


At the heart of all communities are relationships. Your first step is to identify, reach out and build a relationship with all the diverse groups that fall within the sphere of your business.


This will have positive benefits for your business, particularly in the search engine rankings. Here is the reason why: Google frequently updates its search algorithm to reflect real-world interaction and penalise the companies who are using out-dated and sometimes, unethical Search Engine optimisation (SEO) strategies to bump their web site to the top of the search engines.


This is good news for companies like yours taking part in social media marketing. So long as your marketing efforts align with what a live, actual person would find valuable, your site will not be in any danger of being penalised from algorithm updates. All the people that you are building relationships and establishing a community with, are going to be naturally linking to your website, your content and your blog. You are going to be providing exactly the sort of content that Google is looking for to rank highly in the search engine, and it is all down to having strong relationships with your community.