There world of entrepreneurship has dramatically changed in the last 10 years. Adding value to customers is way more important than selling. Offering information for free has become an industry standard.
That’s why you see so many people on Youtube, Instagram and other social media that are spending more time than ever engaging and giving over their knowledge and expertise to their potential customers. Trust is built instantly when a brand or a business is being helpful to people, for no charge.
One of the most amazing things that have developed because of that are online communities, places where an entrepreneur can go and learn new skills, and communicate with both customers and potential business partners.
Quuu did a whole #QChat on that topic on Twitter – “How to Work Online Communities Like a Pro”, discussing the different rules of engagement of joining an online community, and it’s a very big topic in business circles.
But for those of you who don’t know what we mean let’s get back to the basics and explain what an online community is, and why every entrepreneur should join one.
Reason #1: Create B2C & B2B Relationships
Online communities are the best places to meet people. If you are more focused on B2B you might want to join a LinkedIn group related to your business. For B2C you are more likely to find your customers on Twitter using keyword searches or bio searches. Both are super effective ways to form real relationships with people.
Reason #2: Brand Yourself Better
The best way to brand yourself and represent what you stand for is through a variety of social media channels. If I see that you are on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and have a class on Skillshare or Udemy, and maybe even a channel on Youtube, or a Podcast on iTunes, then I automatically know that you are serious about what you do, and are passionate about your business.
Reason 3: Provide Value and Establish Trust
Quora has a great article on providing value to people by answering their questions. It’s super important to establish trust if you’re a business and being an active member of an online community is an easy way to do it. When you give your time, expertise, valuable information to people they are very likely to follow your brand or product and to interact back with you.
One of the most amazing fitness entrepreneurs I know built his entire brand around a free eBook. He has had that ebook for free for the last 5+ years on his website, and it’s the number one reason that he has grown to more than 1.4 million page views per month! His name is Mehdi, you can check out his site here.
“You need to spend all of your time and energy on creating something that actually brings value to the people you’re asking for money!” – Gary Vaynerchuk
Reason 4: Huge Learning Opportunity
Listen more than you share, that’s a key thing. If you join the right online communities than you will be able to learn from the top experts in your field. Ask questions, read their answers, make this a worthwhile research opportunity for your business. If knowledge is power than online communities is where you go to get it.
Reason 5: Grow your Following and Get your Best Leads
If you do everything right, bring more value than do actual selling, try to connect to people on a personal level, and listen more than you share then you will start making some good connections. For us at eClincher social networks have been key to meeting new customers as well as new partners with whom we can share content.
Online communities are a powerful thing! Go out and there, explore, make connections, and succeed.