The idea of blogging is excellent. Share valuable and relevant information that people will find valuable. As a result, build a strong loyal following. Sounds great right?
One fundamental problem, as I see it, is that blogging is all about building an AUDIENCE. One way communication. I write something and push it to you hoping to gain a bit of trust and maybe, just maybe, you’ll take the next step in using a product or service of mine. Of course, I’m spinning this from a business perspective.
Whether you have 100K people following your blog or just 10, there is one extremely important element missing. It’s the element of COMMUNITY. It’s a step beyond blogging. It’s where your AUDIENCE becomes connected not only to you, but to each other. The platform from which you share not only allows you to share content, but provides the ability for what used to be your audience, that which is now your community, to engage, share and connect around thoughts and ideas all based around one central purpose. This is what I call a Social HubSite.
Let’s break this down into a real world example. One of our clients, Meadow Creek Organics (a soon to launch online farmers market), needed a way to share content and connect with the different groups of people around them. In this case we are talking about Local Farmers, Vendors, Chefs and Health Enthusiasts (potential customers). Meadow Creek keeps certain groups open and certain groups private, as certain bits of information they don’t want floating around the web (i.e. messages to Vendors).
In this example, Health Enthusiasts have a natural tendency to want to connect with the local farmers that are growing the food they are about to eat. This is an incredibly important connection between members in the community especially since the transaction is taking place online. Needless to say, it builds a much strong sense of trust that content alone will NOT establish. Health Enthusiasts now can spark a conversion with the farmers growing the vegetables they are buying. Meadow Creek can also keep all the groups (Farmers, Vendors, Health Enthusiasts, etc.) of people up-to-date on everything relevant to them without clumping content that is relevant for one group, but not another Keeping everything relevant (or in context) is the key to KEEPING people engaged over the long-term.
If Meadow Creek were to solely attempt to build trust from potential customers by blogging, trust might never be established within the community of people around them. If your like me you want to get to know the people you are buying from personally. The only way to spark this activity is to turn your blog into a community.
Absolutely not. Just start thinking of ways to elicit 2-way conversations versus one-way communications. You’ll not only connect better with your community (i.e. groups of people around you), but also allow your community to connect with each other. This creates a sense of connectedness to your brand that your competitors will wish they had started sooner.
In a sea of ever growing noise, the only way to harness the time, attention and energy is to view the people around you not as your audience, but as your community. Allow them to join your ship and tread the waters together. Don’t let them float in the sea of noise forever. Give them an environment to make them feel connected to you and others around you.
Remembering these points will give you a foundation of thinking that will help you achieve your goals much faster. Your community can help you. Provide the right conditions for them to do so and you’ll find yourself achieving your goals in less time and for less money.
Social HubSite is designed to bring all of these elements into one central platform for you. Try it today for free. You’ll also experience how we use our own community (http://connect.socialhubsite.com) to help you get the most of out your Social HubSite.