Building & Managing Your Community in the Digital Age

No one ever said building your brand is an easy process, and if someone did say that, they were dead wrong.

In fact, building and managing a successful community takes countless hours of dedication, hard work, and most importantly – the knowledge and experience to overcome the many obstacles one comes across during this process.

Let’s face it. Not everyone is cut out for the marketing world, but for those who are – here’s what you need to know about the keys to building and managing your online community in the digital age.

1. Establish goals
Establishing goals is sort of a given. Whenever you begin any sort of project, goals are essential.

After all, if you don’t have goals, how do you know what you’re working towards?

Goals should be established with a holistic approach, looking at the business, campaign or brand as a whole.

Now, don’t go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot by choosing a set of goals that are unattainable.

Of course, we want to reach for the stars and set expectations high, but don’t set them too high where they’re almost impossible to accomplish.

After your goals are set, make sure you explain yourself and what each goal means to the brand. Remember the why’s and what’s in this process, so clients have a better understanding of where you’re coming from.

2. Define KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators)
What’s the million dollar question here? For most – it’s how will you measure your performance to show clients that their dollars are being put to good use.

With so many analytical tools and systems that are available at little to no cost, it’s easy to have your statistics automatically generated in the traditional format that thousands of other businesses do as well.

Sounds lame, right?

Be creative when proving your value! Develop your own unique document for proving your KPIs and give your clients something to talk about.

3. Develop a creative strategy
While this is a creative process, the strategy really needs to be the most creative of all.

Start by having a brain storming session with your team where you all can openly discuss your ideas. Weed out the good from the bad and put together an extensive list.

After you’ve got a strategic list of ideas, the next step is to put together an outline.

I know, I know. Outlines are boring and a pain to create.

But guess what? They work.

Have a vision for a 12 month strategy with broad ideas for all 12 months, but focus primarily on one quarter (3 months) at a time.

This way, you can hold brain storming sessions every 3 months. This way you and your team will be able to develop some fresh and exciting ideas each quarter!

Thinking strategically, you also want to make sure that the tools you’re using match your goals. Whether this means your tools will be social media, content, email marketing or even media outreach, make sure these match up with whatever your goals are.

4. Do work
After all this planning, it’s finally time to actually do the work.

  • Set up your analytics
  • Follow your strategy and execute with confidence
  • Be consistent with the quality of your work
  • Stay focused on the big picture – your goals

5. Evaluate progress
After all the analysis that goes into building a strategy and executing it, the last step is to evaluate the entire process.

Once you’ve reached the end of your first or second quarter, look at what you’ve accomplished thus far. How many goals have you reached? What’s working and what isn’t?

Chances are, you’ve found out what techniques work best for this client and which ones aren’t as effective. It’s okay if not everything worked out as anticipated. This is all part of the process.

Keep in mind that every client is different, and every industry draws in people in different ways. Each strategy is a learning experience, so never allow a small hiccup to interfere with the future of your clients growth.

What has your experience been like when building or managing a community in the new digital world?

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