Oftentimes in business, we recycle certain philosophies and disguise them with new names. For example, branding has been a cornerstone of marketing and commerce for decades. But we are fickle creatures. Shiny new things occupy our interest.Similar to branding, community building is a topic people are rallying around these days. Building a community has a nice ring to it because it sounds more sincere and empathetic compared to branding. But make no mistake about it, defining yourself by the markets you serve, and weaving yourself into the fabric of those communities is at the heart of marketing and business success. Community building takes time and remarkable understanding — both of which are embodied in great marketing.
Consider how you’re building your community and compare it to the communities that define your life. Are you intimately involved in, and a part of that world? Are you interacting with that segment, respective to the things that matter most to them? Either way, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on how to engage and become an integral part of the worlds that are important to you. Here are three ways to become part of your community today:
1. Friends and Family: We live in a world where we only buy from those closest to us. The truth is that you’re not going to buy from somebody you don’t know or you don’t trust implicitly. So, while we don’t expect you to solicit your family’s money like you’re selling insurance, connecting with their trusted networks is a good place to start for any business.
2. Volunteerism: We recently read that the founders of thriving, small to mid-size businesses in operation for at least three years share an interesting characteristic. These companies allocate more than twice the percentage of their profits to charity than many of America’s largest companies. Sixty-two percent of these founders believe that “giving back” makes their company more prosperous, according to the “Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund” survey. In addition, 70 percent didn’t wait for their businesses to be successful before they started giving back to their communities, the survey said. You can surmise that the real work of giving back provides greater rewards than you think. The side benefit is that it deepens your relationship in the community and makes you stand out in a very positive manner.
3. Content: Speaking of buzzwords, content marketing is all the rage. Content can be an amazing community building tool. To be specific, the process of creating relevant content is similar to the sales and marketing process. You must listen attentively, and then present the information to your audience’s corresponding interests. This we know: People like to read about themselves and the things they identify with. Your ability to create and present thought-provoking stories, data and ideas will have a profound impact on your community building success.
“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”
– Ani Difranco
In case you missed it…
The Case for Marketing Automation Done Right. Tuning In: how to channel your creativity, find courage and defy convention. Something Old, Something New: the intimacy of print. Trending with Serial Entrepeneur Jill Salzman. All Print, All the Time. Publisher’s Letter: Old School.