Maybe you’ve built an incredible Facebook presence. A helpful blog. You’re producing and sharing valuable content on a regular basis. Yet you feel like no one is showing up. Sound familiar? It may be because you’re neglecting one valuable step: inviting people to join you online.
Great content by itself is not enough (although it’s an important place to start.) You also need to make sure you’re inviting people regularly, and often, if you want to develop an engaged community.
So here are some ways you should be inviting people to join you online:
- At Live Events. Be they parties, expos, opportunity events, or even non-business related events, if someone seems like the kind of prospect you want to reach, be prepared to invite them to join your online community. Be ready with a card that has your Facebook URL on it, and have a way to capture their Facebook information as well. If you’re old-school, write it down with a pen and paper. If you’re more tech-savvy, capture it with your mobile device. But capture it. It will make all the difference in your ability to connect after the fact.
- In Your Monthly Newsletter. You DO have a newsletter, don’t you? It’s a great way to maintain an ongoing contact with interested customers and prospects. Make sure you always have a section where you invite people to join you online. And don’t just add a logo and call it a day. Spell out the benefits. What benefits can they expect to enjoy as a member of your community?
- Your Online Friends. Sure, they may be friends with you on your profile, but do they know about your Facebook Page (and the benefits of joining?) Make sure that you often (weekly or so) mention in a Profile status update that you’ve got a Page, and what kind of content you provide. Include a direct link (tag your page or use the URL) so that people can head over and Like your Page.
- Your Social Circle. It never ceases to amaze me when someone I knew from high school or know from church comments on my business blog or Facebook Page. How have they found me? Because I put very soft business info on my Profile. I talk about a company I’m speaking for. I share a photo from a company visit. I share more public-related content from my blog. And they see it. I also talk about what I do when in social situations with these folks. And it turns out that some of them also have an interest in what my business has to offer. Some of your friends probably do too. Even the folks you don’t expect. Make sure you’re visible, so they know.
- On Your Receipt. You should be inviting every single person that does business with you to join you online. And when they shop with you, do they go home with a way to connect online? If your paper receipt doesn’t already include this info, add a sticker with the info (including the benefits of joining your community!)
- Your Email Signature. Most email programs allow you to add content that shows up at the bottom of every message. This is a great place to include an invitation to join your online community. Be sure to include what it is, the benefits, and how to join. You never know…maybe that email you send about Little League will lead to a new “Like” on your Page!
You wouldn’t plan a great party and just expect people to show up without an invitation. You need to invite people to your online party too. Once they get there and find it valuable, hopefully they’ll invite their friends, and your community will grow. But it all starts with the invitation.
How are you inviting people to your community? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!