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Creating a Community

Creating a Community isn’t just for customers or business community also for a group based on an interest.

Communities are a good way to stay in touch with people. For example, about every couple of months, I invited couples to our house for a potluck or we go out for dinner with each other.

One of the things that I have found is most of us will have friends (single) not very many couple friends..I found this interesting. When I moved to a whole new area, I wanted to connect and meet new people, couples mostly since being married and not knowing very many.

This couple group encourages us to develop relationships with each other and have some fun. This little community of couples is really for socializing.

Of course it is common now to form a communty with people who are customers, or are affiliated some how will come together. Why would you want to form a community?

For companies it forms customer loyaly, will provide valuable feedback, increase your sales, find new solutions and ideas to add to whatever you already offer. Customers can find support, advice and get their questions answered more quickly. It’s been documented that users of a web community will likely to be twice as loyal if they get the support and help they need.

Here’s an example – Fast Company Magazine – decided to create a community by which readers can start have conversations about what they read, or about the issues they are facing. Five years later they have 165 local groups in 35 countries with 44,000 members. Some of the successes their group has found is:

  • Started companies together
  • Gotten jobs
  • Found employees
  • Obtained book publishing contracts
  • Met new people, gotten married

In September 2011, another group was formed to help stranded travelers, if someone was stuck in a city, people/friends would open up their homes to travelers, show the city, go out for dinner this community of friends has fun, meet new people and of course the magazine has a substantial influenece on their subscription base.

This is their suggestion of creating your own community.

1. Just try it, proceed, if it is not working they stop it
2. Stay involved. Employee participation nurtures the community
3. Loosen up. They said they succeeded becasue of a hands-off approach.
4. Don’t try to control the group – allow innovation to grow

One of the reasons you want to create a community is to create customer evangelists. A community encourages customers to bond with one another, underneath the umbrella of your orgainzation’s goodwill. One of the strategies is to offer a specialized, smaller offering or what is called a bite-sized chunk.

A bite-sized chunk is like the 5 minute bite, when people sample Sedona Pies. You know when you try something you are more likely to buy it. When you go to Costco when you sample something do you buy it? Mostly likely, maybe on that very day..later you do.

Here’s some stats about sampling:

92% of people who sample will likely buy from you
73% of your customers are more aware of what you offer
84% will consider buying the product in the future

Is creating a community worth it to you? I don’t know, only if you give it a try. I’ll be writing another post about this topic, stay tuned…

MLHarris
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