Do you recognize the benefits of building community?
At the core of every great business lies community, the people in the company, around the company, and for the company. Call the community superfans, a management team, or whatever you want, but without a community, the business will fail.
Why Community Building is Important
Relationships set the foundation for everything worth building. If you want to create a successful business, then you need a solid foundation of relationships.
Internally, a business community sets it apart from its competitors. People want to be a part of the community and not just an employee.
Externally, the community around a business helps define the business brand and also gets it out to the world. The community of fans fuels the business growth.
Your community will help you know if you are going in the right direction or taking a turn to disaster. In the mid-1980s, the Coca-Cola Company introduced a new soda formula, aptly named New Coke.
They were listening to the consumer. After blind taste tests showed how people preferred the taste of their competitor, Coca-Cola made the change. But they may not have been tapping into their community. When the New Coke came out, the complaints came flooding in.
To make matters worse, Coca-Cola had not only created New Coke, but they had locked the old formula in a vault and discontinued its production. At one point, the complaint calls reached 8,000 PER DAY. The community staged protests.
It only took 79 days for the company to hear the community. Despite all of the research invested in the change by the internal community, the external community (the loyal super fans of other Orignal Coke) won out.
Community building is important because it helps you determine the better direction for your business.
What are the benefits of community?
Your community sets your foundation, grows your opportunities, and creates sustainable success, when you take the time to build community. When you build community you: Investing in community creates connections and expands on those connections.
- Create a level of trust – between you and your community as well as for your brand all around. Your community lets others know about your value and consistency. They are your trust decree.
- Learn more – your community knows things you don’t know or you share what you know with your community (which firms up your knowledge).
- Get connected – not only does building community get you connected with you the people around you, but you get connected with others with whom your community is connected.
HELLO – six degrees of Kevin Bacon – and we all know everything is better with #Bacon
- Establish super fans – the best way to advertise today, even with all of the advancements in communication, still resides with word of mouth. Super fans are super at telling others about your products.
- Harness your uniquenesses – because your community loves what makes you unique, you build on those unique qualities. Instead of trying to be better than someone else, you build up on being the best you.
- Expand your idea base – community fosters ideas. You play off the ideas that others provide, and they play off your ideas (which then expands the ideas you can play off of as well).
- Keep folks around – when others feel community, they stay invested in the community. Employees will stay longer, which not only increases the value of your business but decreases the cost of training new employees.
You only build community when you invest in people. When you invest in people, you invest in your business, which ultimately leads you to your desire.
How to Unlock the Benefits
You build a community like you build anything – one block at a time.
Start by investing in new connections. Attend your local chamber meetings or other social organizations. Find out where others in your industry spend their time and join them.
Also, invest in your existing customers. Don’t be so caught up in drawing new customers that you offend your existing fan base (Coca-Cola, anyone?). Find ways to engage them and to thank them for their loyalty.
Make it easy for people to reach out. Provide a direct line to customer service and make sure those lines are manned.
TIP: It’s okay to automate some of your customer service options but never eliminate the ability to connect directly with a person. Remember, it is ALL about the relationships!
Ask for feedback from your base. See what they have to say about what you are doing well, where you can improve, and any ideas they have for moving forward – or whatever you think the conversation needs to be. The key is to talk to your base (and be sure to listen).
You can create your success by building a community – a community in your company and a community for your company. The more you create connections, the stronger you will be for your journey to success.
Are you ready to invest in building community for business success?
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Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.