Building a targeted community for your business

by Michele on June 26, 2013

In last week’s post, I talked about the warm bodies trap.  In short, this means in your efforts to build a community of people for your business, don’t focus solely on adding warm bodies.  Instead, focus on building  a community of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

I was at a training a few months ago, and we were learning various legitimate ways to build a following of interested people for a Facebook fan page.  In the training there was someone there with a very niched, local business who talked about how he skipped all this work and simply purchased fans through a site that brokers freelance gigs between buyers and sellers.

On the surface, this might seem like a big time saver.  After all, why go through the effort of reaching out to people, creating great content and staying active on your page if you can just pay a few bucks for a whole bunch of fans?

Because those fans probably aren’t interested in your business.  They probably aren’t the kind of fans who will love your content, share it and be happy to hear from you.  There’s no shortcut to getting the right kind of people interested in your business.

I know it’s tempting to focus on just raising those numbers, but will it do you any good?  Will building big numbers of disinterested people actually lead to business for you in the long or short run?  Probably not.  In fact, it may hurt you.  It’s difficult to get a handle on ever-changing behind the scenes rules, but it’s likely that Facebook will see big numbers of fans but little interaction as a sign that you haven’t attracted interested people.  As a consumer, when I see someone with big numbers but no apparent interest from fans/followers/connections/etc, it looks a bit odd to me.  I’ve heard people say that even Google views a big bump in fans/followers/connections/etc.  that comes too fast to be natural as ding in your credibility.

In short, building big numbers of disinterested people probably won’t help your business and probably will hurt it.  There’s no real shortcut to attracting the right people to your business community.  Yes, you can work smarter and follow best practices but you still have to do the work and be worth the attention your community has trusted you with.  It’s an honor and a complement when someone joins your community, and you have to continue to earn that person’s interest.  Treat your community like the valuable people they are and don’t ever treat them like numbers.

How do you grow your community of interested people?  How do you continue to demonstrate that you value your community members?  Share it in the comments.

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