Adding a community to your business can really help in promoting your business, increase your SEO and be a great support channel for your customers. At the same time, if you have invested in your community it deserves the appropriate attention to succeed. Your social media and marketing channels can work to help your community succeed, but you need to plan properly to use them effectively. Here are five common mistakes to avoid and ensure you are giving your community the exposure it needs.
1- Making The Link To Your Community Hard To Find
If you have invested time in a community, make sure it gets the prominence it deserves. It should get promoted with the same energy and attention as your other social channels. At the very least include a visible link to it in the footer and header where you have icons to your social media presence. Don't make the mistake to hide your community.
2- Not Making Your Community More Prominent In Your Email Marketing
Do you regularly send emails to your customers? Make sure to let them know about your community prominently. It's great to include a link in the footer, but if it's so far down in the email, it may never be seen by your customers. Don't be shy to promote it the way you do Twitter or Facebook. Bonus tip: include links to discussions that may interest a user, so they have a reason to visit the community.
3- Keeping The Conversation Only On Social Networks
When you have a topic that is perfect for discussion, add a corresponding link to a discussion in your community where they can continue the conversation. Sure it's nice to have engagement on social media, but those likes and retweets are ephemeral. Getting users to create the content on your domain is great for SEO, but it also provides value by reducing your support costs by letting other customers offer solutions to one another. Also, as social networks search for monetization options, connecting with these audiences will cost you more.
4- Making It Hard To Register With Complicated Forms
The best way to get people to join a community is to make it easier, by only asking for only the basic information you need. A survey conducted by Blue Research on behalf of Janrain, a provider of social login and sharing solutions, found that just 25% of web users will complete a new registration process when a site requires it. The rest would consider leaving or avoiding the site if possible, and most would not return. While this applies to retail sites, the idea of frictionless experiences are a real one you need to consider. Also by adding share buttons to important social networks, you are encouraging users to share discussions to their social graph and in return bring more traffic into your community.
5- Not Integrating Your Blog With Your Forum
Creating content on your blog is a great way to increase traffic. If you have a forum though, why not marry the two? You have some options: instead of using a commenting system (Disqus, Livefyre, WordPress) consider a forum software which integrates comments or add a link to continue the discussion on the forum
Give Your Community A Chance
If you have spent the time on creating a community, make sure you give it the best chance at success by linking to it properly and encouraging users across all your marketing channels to use it. These small little changes will have a positive impact in making your community a goto destination and increase participation.
Do you have any other tips? Share in the comments.