You've decided to create an online community, Congratulations! Now you need members, and fast. Here are ten ways to promote your online community that will encourage growth and ensure member retention.
1. Send Invites
If you've decided to create a community, hopefully you already have an idea of who your members will be and have a target audience in mind. Send a thoughtful, well-constructed email to your list of prospective members with a link to join and brief overview of your community's focus and features. Up and coming community platform, Follr's power email capability makes this so easy.
2. Add a Short Video
Create a short video in which you introduce yourself and the community and elaborate on why you started the community. Keep it short and sweet; it doesn't need to be fancy. Simply seeing you - the face of your community - entices new members and gives a sense of transparency. Just be sure to have a simple background behind you - a.k.a. no screaming kids or barking dogs - and dress appropriately.
3. Business Card & Email Signature
Add your community link to your business card and email signature. This is a great way to make all types of people aware of your community and a great conversation starter when you exchange business cards at networking events. For those of you who don't already realize, business cards and resumes are slowly but surely becoming obsolete thanks to platforms like Follr and LinkedIn, so take advantage of email and add your link there too.
4. Create a Hashtag
This seems simple but come up with one simple - shorter the better - hashtag for your community and use it religiously! Photos, updates, content, you name it - it should all be searchable by your community hashtag.
5. Create a Newsletter
Weekly or bimonthly send out a short newsletter via email to your members. Let them know what's going on in the community, highlight new members and give the community a heads up re: upcoming events or promotions.
6. Join and Participate in Similar Communities
Visit blogs, groups and forums where your target audience is likely to be hanging around. Introduce yourself and join the conversation. Once you're established in the community, casually invite members to take a look at a piece of content or a post on your community to entice them in.
7. Leverage Existing Followers
Take advantage of any traction you have on other social media platforms and blast out your link there. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and don't forget your Facebook and LinkedIn groups as well. P.S. Use that hashtag!
8. Pimp Out Your Friends
Same as #7, but use your friends! Kindly ask a small circle of close friends and family who support your community endeavors to blast our your link to their followings as well. The more exposure, the better.