Create Authority and Build Trust by Creating Community Online

One of the most effective ways of engaging your audience is where you start the conversation and talk with clients about what they need and how your business can give them that.

Here’s how it works: You join groups which match your corporate vision on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

Creating the conversation allows you to help people with their problems, offer suggestions and so on, all for free. At some point it’s wise to offer a free giveaway, a special report of some kind, in exchange for people signing up for your list. Regardless of what method you use, it’s where you give the user valuable information for free and with a call to action back to your site, to learn more about what you’re doing.

Here’s how we did it using Facebook.

Note: the email signup part of what you need to do is detailed in another article.

Here are the mechanics:

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This is a basic Facebook profile. To make this work, you need to create a Facebook page, first, then link to that from your basic Facebook profile.

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On the Facebook page above, you will notice the signup button on the far right. This allows you to create a number of calls to action, such as joining a group, create bookings or redirect users to your website and/or squeeze page.

You will also want to fill out the page description information and purpose.

Next, you return to your profile page and make the following changes:

  • Add a Facebook page link to the Work and Education section on your profile.
  • Add a Facebook page link to the contact info on the right.

An optional step is to create a group, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on building community and creating email signups on your blog, which is ultimately what you want.

Now that you have that in place, you want to search for groups and page likes which match your keywords.

Conduct a search. In this case I used the keyword “branding.”

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This brought up the following. As you can there’s not much information about branding here. To get additional information, click on the More tab at the far right and in the drop down list, choose groups.

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This brings up a long list of groups of various sizes. Ideally, you want to join the largest groups you can find because these will likely be best for engagement. You might want to join a few small ones, too, because they might be more active.

Once you’ve joined a number of groups, it’s time to do a bit of lurking, to see what people are talking about. Once you get a feeling for what is going on in the various groups, you’re ready to start posting.

Ideally, your posts should only be a 4-5 sentences and not long one, due to the attention span of readers. Also, make sure to use page breaks. Nothing is harder to read than a run-on block of text. It’s a great way to lose your audience.

When you start writing, don’t be surprise if people will disagree with what you say. In fact, the stronger your opinion and stance, you will attract haters and trolls. Some will vilify you in the comments while others will attack you personally. While it can be painful to be attacked, it’s also a rite of passage. The very fact you’re being attacked means you’re doing something right. A great read is the article “7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters,” by Tim Ferriss.

When I encounter haters I usually ignore them. Sometimes, if they are really vicious, I block them. Other times, I address other people in the conversation and act like the haters don’t exist.

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One thing you may encounter is being booted out of groups if the admins don’t like what you say. In my case, I made some early mistakes, such as inserting a call to action (a major no-no in some groups). Other times people disagreed (sometimes quite violently) with what I wrote. In one group (from Australia), I thanks my stars I wasn’t nearby. I think they would have burned me at the stake.

As you post, you will discover some important things. In some groups you can only post text. Other groups will allow you to post a short blurb with a link to your blog.

If you do this, it should look like the above. This will allow your post to blend in with the other posts. The text for it should look like this:

Your anxiety and depression is the end result of growing up in society. Your parents could only teach us what they knew, so they are blameless.

Your society is largely unconscious, spiritually speaking, almost completely cut off from who they really are, a place which cannot be reached by thought. It functions in a realm closed to the mind.

http://nathansegal.info/your-anxiety-and-depression-is-not-your-fault/

The link will draw information from your WordPress blog and automatically set up the layout for the post in each group. This also works when posting to pages. In each case I have not used a direct call to action, only to the post on my blog. The call to action is on the page they visit, not in the excerpt and not on Facebook.

Some sites will be OK with this; others won’t and they will let you know.

A good strategy is to go back and forth between short posts (with no links) and posts with links.

When I first began using this strategy I only posted straight articles with no links. This is a passive way of building your audience. Those who want to know more about you will check out your profile, your page, your group (if you have one) and some will sign up for your email list.

The second approach tends to build engagement faster.

Both will help you create the conversation. If your content really resonates with people, expect plenty of likes and unsolicited testimonials (which you can ask to use later as part of your marketing).

Eventually, as your list grows, you will be able to send out marketing offers, run webinars and more.

Nathan Segal (4 Posts)

My name is Nathan Segal and I have been working as a Freelance Writer for 16 years. In that time, I have written 816 articles and published seven books. My articles been published in many popular magazines, including: CE Tips (Consumer Electronics), Computer Graphics World, Database Journal, Mac Design, Photoshop User, Rangefinder, Smart Computing, The Computer Paper, Streaming Media World and Windows Expert. I worked as an Associate Editor at WebReference.com for five years. I also wrote several feature columns on 3D and video tutorials. I was the sole columnist at StreamingMediaWorld.com and wrote 111 articles over a 16-month period. Some of my books are The Photoshop Companion, How to Speed up Your Computer: In 30 Minutes or Less, Professional Photographic MS Word Templates and The Corel PHOTO-PAINT X4 Insider. http://nathansegal.info/