With the right tactics, growing and developing a niche community is often easier than building a broad and multi-faceted community. When you have a niche, you already know who should be in your community and what to search for. A niche provides built-in search criteria for you to use when finding and connecting with new members. Building your following should be a courtship on your end. You want to be equipped with a strong identity, plenty to offer, and even more to talk about.
Opportunities are endless for ways to keep your community members coming back to you. These five key points are guidelines to keep in mind as you grow this group of people who will stick by you if they feel valued.
Develop Your Voice
An ability to describe exactly who you are in very few words is a powerful calling card. Your brand should balance familiarity with novelty—something that your target audience will “get” right off the bat, but will still be intrigued by what sets you apart.
Sharing and aggregating great content will also reinforce your voice, whether it’s on a blog or a part of your social media campaign. This content should speak to your community’s interests and should not always be about your brand. A person who only talks about his or herself gets boring very fast. Your community will be engaged if they’re given new information about existing interests. Drive conversations by discussing viral stories and their relation to your community or try using a sharing app like Babbly, where your links are shared with built-in communities over social media.
Identifying your community’s influencers early on will act as a road map for your growth strategy. Form partnerships with like-minded individuals and complimentary companies within your reach. You’ll want to connect with those you can offer something to in exchange for what you ask of them, whether it’s a shout out or involvement in an event.
Find several influencers who you’d like your brand to be associated with and offer something to them that they’d benefit from. It’s easy to get in touch with these individuals through the many platforms where they might include their contact information: their websites, LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, the list goes on. Use a program like Ninja Outreach to keep your searches efficient and stay organized with personalized templates and email lists.
Give your community something to rely on. A weekly podcast, email newsletter, or live Q&A webinars are great ways to make a stronger connection to your audience and to get to know them better. You’ll learn who your biggest fans are and how to keep them interested. If they reach out to you, be responsive and let them know that there are real humans behind your brand. Understanding the best practices for staying in touch with your community by listening and maintaining visibility is key.
Give your community some special treatment for their loyalty. Giveaways, discount codes, or sweepstakes are all great ways to get your community excited and interacting with you. Maybe an influencer or partner has a new product that you can use in your offer.
This gives you a chance to simultaneously pay them a favor with a promotion while supplying your community with something they’ll want. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about your community members, especially if you can capture some of their data or give a quick survey in order for them to enter to win. The end result is making a community member’s day even better and getting to know them in the process. It’s a win-win!
You might think your community will love something then it winds up being less of a hit than you anticipated—that’s okay. Use that information to determine your next move. Getting feedback from your community is vital during all phases of growth. If you have a web or mobile app, try a tool like Intercom to monitor user activity and speak directly to your beta group.
If you see trends in feedback given to you, apply the feedback that you see the most frequently and keep an open mind. Being ready to pivot or shift focus when necessary is an important part of adapting to your niche. You’ll want to work with your community and their developing needs so you can remain for the long haul.
What are some other ways you have engaged a niche audience?