The holiday season is upon us. It is a time where we tend to think a lot about community. Our neighborhood, friends, family, co-workers. One of the most important Communities you belong to is your business community. The customers, vendors, and fellow businesses that make up the ecosystem that you are economically dependent on.
We all take the importance of community for granted. It is part of every day and we move between groups without a thought. When needed we engage giving and taking from other members as needed. The reality is that being part of a community doesn’t take a lot of work, you basically have to show up and not piss anyone off. Hopefully, your company is meeting this minimum requirement.
Success rarely comes from meeting minimum requirements. To take advantage of your community you need to be engaged and give to the group. The obvious ways to do this are to join industry and local groups, attend events, donate to charities that the community wants to support, and participate in the all-important networking to exchange ideas and resources with others. But how do you reach people when you are not directly interacting with them.
The answer, of course, is your business blog. And I’m not just saying that because this blog is promoting a book on business blogging. Your blog is an extremely effective tool for interacting with your business community. It allows you to distribute news, invite people to events, share advice or information, and help promote the sense of community in your community. Think of it as the local paper for that community.
Most people will point to social media for fulfilling this purpose, and it can be a very effective way to get small pieces of information out and to interact quickly and efficiently. But social media lacks depth. Instead of only using social media, use social media to share your blog posts. Taking this approach not only gets your message out to the community, it also gets them to your site and your branding.
Be careful though. One way to actually piss off your community is to be selling. You need to follow the key rule of business blogging; publish useful content often. If you are seen as always selling or as being self-serving, you will be shunned. And remember, your customers are part of this community and you don’t want them shunning you.
Put your Company in the Center
The best thing for your business is to build your own community around what you do, or if the community is well established, move your company to the center of the group. Just as with any community, you do not want to get to the center by forcing yourself into the middle and shouting so loud that you have to be noticed. Instead, you want to find your place, do good things, and the crowd will move around you. Following the basic rules for business blogging is a great way to do this.
If you want your business to benefit from being part of a community, then participate in that community. It costs less than advertising and it creates loyalty and referrals. People want to belong and support the things they belong to. Take advantage of that by blogging things that the community wants to know about. If you focus on community, your community will focus on your business.
Need help in getting started or improving your blogging game, purchase your copy of “Better Blogging for Your Business“