Using online communities to promote your business

The beauty of online marketing is that it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can even use online groups/communities to help promote your business for free.

Online communities are groups of people who share advice, knowledge or stories related to a shared interest. They connect and share content on forums, on social media, or even on their own website or blog.

If you want to engage with an online community in order to promote your business, you need to do a little bit of research.

To begin with, think about your target audience. Who are they and why would they be interested in buying your product or service? For example, if you lease IT equipment to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) then you might want to connect with business owners and business managers online.

Next, identify a few potential online communities that you can engage with. In the above example, you could consider joining a small business owners group on LinkedIn or you could contribute to a business blog site.

In order to engage effectively with your new target audience, you need to avoid “selling” your product or service to them. Instead, you should contribute to the conversation and share useful articles, tips and advice. Using the above IT example, you could share tips for managing anti-virus and cyber security software systems or ideas on how to get the most battery life out of your laptop / tablet. The key at this stage is to promote awareness of your brand rather than to sell products.

To drive traffic (and potential new business) to your company website, include a link to the news section of your website at the bottom of each article/contribution that you make on your various online groups. You could use wording such as, “click here to read more useful business tips and ideas.”

Finally, make sure you track the number of people who click through the link using a tool such as Google Analytics. You can use this data to understand which topics are of the most interest to your target audience and refine your future marketing content accordingly.

GreenStones host the Peterborough Business Community on Facebook.  Simply search for us and request to “join”.

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