Let’s chat shall we? What do you define as a community? For you is a community a group of people working together? Is a community people of a town coming together at a festival? No matter how you define the word, community is important.
You might be saying: “Duh Nik, we all knew this, community IS important.”. But today, let’s talk about more than just being a part of a community. How about creating one? Now you might be installing bbPress and BuddyPress to create a community, but step away from that activate button, this is what you should focus on later. bbPress and BuddyPress help with the building of the community. What you need to sit down and think “HOW do I go about starting a community?”.
Do you know the cool people over a CyberChimps? They create cool WordPress themes. Recently, they have started a forum for their users to interact in.
But wait, forums are only used for support?
Nope, take a step back and forget what most other companies do. Yes, forums could be used for support, but think about how it could be used for community as well. At the CyberChimps forums, they have plenty of forum threads that are meant for fun and to just hang out. THIS is a great idea. This gives the customer a great opportunity to give feedback and share ideas. And that’s what you want, right? You want your users to return to your site and recommend people to your site, right? In building a community, it is important to make your customers feel comfortable with your product or products.
But, communities are not just forums. There is also social media, and more specifically, Twitter. Now to switch over to yet another theme company. They’re called UpThemes. The other day, they used Twitter to embrace community. An employee from UpThemes got on Twitter and personally talked to many users in one day. Company to client interaction IS important and can definitely make the user (again) feel more comfortable with returning to buy another product.
Social media and forums, two examples that I have seen work great for building a community around a company (could also work great for products). So how about you, business owner? Are you going to go out of the way today to talk to your Twitter followers for a bit today to get feedback perhaps? So now, take a few moments to think about how you could start a community. Do you have a following but never interact with it? If so, simply start interacting and thinking of ways to create a community. It could become really rewarding in the long run. Hopefully, I have “maybe” inspired you today to start thinking about building a community for your customers. Make sure to think about your goals in building a community and where you want it to go.
Note: This blog post was more focused towards businesses with products, but community can help out with many more different kinds of businesses out there. Also this blog post is more focused at the WordPress community but again, it could work in a lot of different businesses.