The core concept of community building and development is not new but people in the digital marketing sphere started talking more about it after the continuous fluctuation of Google algorithms and when small businesses got ripped off over night under diverse niches.
Community is defined as a group of people working and participating for some common interests in order to achieve common goals. For instance if you are building a community around your brand, you will more likely target the people who are looking for what you offer and work with them to build a strong bond that not only fulfils their needs but also gives them a positive vibe and a sense of ownership about the brand.
It is very important for any business to work on community building for their brand as this will not only help them sell their product or service more easily but will help them in a steady growth of audience, helping them pose themselves as an expert and get endorsements from other experts within the slot.
There are tons of articles about community building and development that can provide you with ideas on building a community, paying special attention on how to continuously engage with your people and lot more but I thought to go a little off the track and hack how they build a community and continuously engage with them from time to time.
Talking about Community in the SEO niche and the first name that will pop to you is SEOmoz community now called Moz.com. Today I will try to identify what steps Moz took to build a community around their brand and what they are doing to continuously engage their community participants with the brand and help them cater new audience. We will also discuss how this community development helps Moz to sell their product (SEOmoz tool) to the far and wide allowing them to grow as a brand not only in the SEO community but in the digital marketing arena.
Birth of SEOmoz Blog:
Although the original company by Gillian was in the picture since 1981 but Rand started SEOmoz blog back in 2004 in order to learn and understand the SEO process. I personally believe that this was the first step towards (intentional or unintentional) building a community around his brand.
Today Moz blog has tons and tons of viewers. “The Moz Top 10” has around 204,774 subscribers. In the social world they have a huge fan following on all major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.
In the modern world, brand websites usually have a blog but most of the brands are not using it correctly. Moz.com uses its blog to help other people looking for similar things as well as benefit themselves to grow as a better professional.
Moz Blog was never about featuring what they offer and how SEOmoz can be hired for cheap, rather it was always about what you should know regarding SEO and what you should consider while hiring a SEO company/consultant for your business. This vision allows the targeted audience (business owners as well as webmasters) to connect with the brand and help SEOmoz grow financially and as a brand over the years!
Idea of Mozpoints:
Building a community is not even half of the job, it is very important to provide people in the community with interesting activities that allows them to engage with the brand from time to time without getting frustrated.
The idea of Mozpoint is extraordinary as it allows people to participate in the community and get top positions accordingly. Mozpoints naturally encourages the community to participate in blog comment communication, answer the Q/As, write a little interesting stuff on blog as a community writer and more…
Mozpoint provides a dual beneficial opportunity for its community participants which means it allows him to share his knowledge with other community members as well as getting assistance by others at the same time. It is a sweet treat for the business as it builds a great communication aura around the brand and you get a chance to see and analyse different perspectives about diversified ideas and opinions within the grounds, actually helping you in taking smart business decisions.
T-shirts usually work great not only in terms of branding and conversions but also to engage community members with the brand and generating interest amongst the new targeted audience encouraging them to take up the community affiliation for their business.
SEOmoz not only gives out free t-shirts in conferences and seminars but if you are community participant and participating actively on blog you will probably end up getting a Free T-shirt (delivered to your home no matter if you live in Pakistan or in any other corner of the world).
They have a separate page for community participants that hold a list of incentives you will be getting if you actively engage within the community.
They also offer a Month of a Free Pro Moz account for people who get 200+ points in a single month.
1 Month of Free Pro Account to all:
Moz.com offers 1 month of FREE pro account to everyone who is interested in their product and this is mostly to build long term healthy relationships with customers.
From a community member point of view this is really interesting as this will allow you to check the tool for a month and analyse if this software is actually right for you (your business) and you can make a noticeable difference out of it.
This option actually allows the community members to come closer to the brand and ideally start talking about it within their circles and on social media platforms which help brands in catering new audience and branding within the niche.
The YouMoz Blog:
I believe this is one of the sexist options for people in the community as this allows the community members to share their knowledge with other community members and get a chance to get featured as an expert to the large audience of the similar interest.
This does not only help the community members in portraying themselves within the community but also allows the business opportunities to drive in to their inbox. If your post will be powerful enough, chances are you will get promoted to Main blog which usually means more traffic, more branding and more interaction within the community.
This technique can help businesses grow their center of population even more and get positive word of mouth around the sphere.
Associate Members are community participants with some extra advantages and responsibilities. They may be responsible for controlling and checking spam on the website/blog, helping other community members and more…
This is a sexy thing for community building and engagement because team Moz chooses them from the community participants who are consistently doing somewhat extra ordinary in the community around the SEO sphere. I personally have seen Gianluca Fiorelli moving from a common community member to an associate and this is mostly because of his extra ordinary contribution to the community.
This option gives motivation to community participants and allows to them to feel the ownership of the brand to an extent.
The Mozcation idea!
This is another EPIC idea for building and engaging community around your brand. The idea revolves around you doing a bit extra ordinary to grab the Moz team’s attention and they will come to your city and arrange a meet-up to learn and engage.
This is a great idea to build a community and fan base around the world and obviously this will directly impact on business sales.
The idea of doing innovative bits and pieces to grab the attention of audience will give your brand a positive word of mouth across the industry and if you strictly talk SEO, then tons and tons of links!
Link Baits with Updates:
This is one of the best ways to attract targeted audience towards the brand and allow them to stick to it as well as participate in various areas of the community. Link Baits like beginners guide to SEO, Google Algo change history, Search Engine Ranking factors, Mozinars and more that continuously get updated from time to time providing a reason for targeted audience to stick with the brand to stay up-to-date will all the latest information about the industry.
Businesses when continuously update these documents, they get a chance to become the industry leaders and cater as much audience as possible.
I have seen many brands whose interaction with their audience is nearly nil, making it a reason for their downfall. People love to communicate with the brands and if they generously reply to that, the results can be positive.
Social Interactions are important for community building and management because they provide a platform where existing member of the community will interact more and new and wanna be members will get the inspiration.
In order to have a powerful and positive social interaction that allows the community to grow and engage more, it is important to have proper rules and regulations of social interactions that does not go against the brand’s image and motto.
There are tons of other areas that Moz offers for its audience and community members to explore and get something new out of it… this also allows them to engage with the brand from time to time.
What you can learn out of it?
Moz.com is one of the most powerful brands in the SEO niche and they did not come up with all the community development ideas all at once but one by one.
It is important for every brand to build community and then engage and grow over the period of time. Here are few of the things you can learn from the Moz community building strategies.
- In order to build community around the brand,it should have to hold something that the audience is actually looking for. Try to research your niche and see what the targeted audience is looking for and then start accordingly.
- Community Development is important but this is not at all an alternative to SEO so focusing on community development and forgetting SEO might not help!
- Participation means they are spending their time around your brand so it is important for you as a brand owner to tank them. Free goodies are a great way to say thanks from time to time.
- Social Media will be the front face of your brand so it is important to use it wisely and this will offer more targeted audience towards your brand.
- Try not to hard sale your product or service on the website and focus more on providing ease to the community members. This will automatically help you grow your sales and positive branding across several inbound marketing channels.
If you are not building a community at the moment, probably you should!