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Does your company or organization have a Facebook page?

It’s a question that most companies encounter today. The question itself highlights how powerful Facebook has become as an online marketing strategy. It also signals a herd mentality, meaning you must have it if your competitors do.

In order to be truly successful in building a community on the web, you need to have both a positioning strategy and an execution plan in place. To formulate a strategy, you need to ask yourself a few critical questions before beginning.

 

Why should I create a online community?

An online community can serve multiple purposes and can be very powerful provided you have a clear objective. Some of the objectives to consider include:

– Brand building and promotion.

– Customer feedback.

– Lead generation and online sales.

– Online reputation management.

It is important to be open to changing your objectives as you witness what works and what doesn’t in the building process.

 

Who’s the target audience?

– Another important piece behind successful community-building is to know your audience. Segmenting the target audience includes weighing their location, age, gender, income, education, attitudes, values and lifestyles.

– Another approach to segmenting your audience is to consider their role as influencers, decision makers or users of your product, brand or service.

– Depending on your business objectives and the customer segment you plan to reach, you will decide on the channel or channels to pursue. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or another to engage with them.

 

What’s in it for my target audience?

This is one of the more important questions you need to answer if you want to capitalize on the true potential for your business or brand. However, this is also the least understood and appreciated question. Obviously, the people in your organization who are talking to your customers can best answer this question.

There are two basic questions: Why will a person join our page/community? And why will that person participate in the community on an ongoing basis?

If your audience consists of a variety of members, you will have to answer these separately for each of those segments. While you may not have the perfect answer to begin with (and most people don’t), the extent to which you are able to define these objectives will determine the best outcome.

Well thought out answers to the questions above will help you lay the strategy for launching your brand. However, it is the execution of the strategy, which will ultimately give you the business results you want out of building an online community.