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More Than You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Building Online Communities

So I’ve written just a little bit about how to build online communities.

It’s only because I’m so extremely passionate about it. And I’ve lived it. In the last year we’ve experienced first-hand the amazing benefits and opportunities that open up when you do the work to build your brand, your community, and your company.

What follows is a curated compilation of a community building series I’ve written on the Moz blog (along with a Mozinar and a slidedeck from a speaking gig). Certainly there will be more to unfold, but here’s all of the community building goodness I have to give (in one convenient place):

Building Community with Value

The first in the series, Building Community with Value, explains one of the most fundamental concepts to building a community around your business: the 80/20 rule. The gist of this ‘rule’ — no matter what your ratio ends up being — is that social media is at its best when it’s driven by valuable content (that’s not all about you). One of the most meaningful ways to build relationships, trust, and your community, is to share other people’s great stuff. The 80/20 has been a great accelerator in our community building efforts. Give it a shot and see how it works for you.

How to Identify an Online Community for Your Business

The best part about building an online community is that you don’t have to start from scratch. There are so many great communities, people, and companies online who would love to be part of other great communities. All you have to do is find them. If you’re working on building your community, How to Identify an Online Community for Your Business is a great place to start.

Attract Customers to Your Community with Content

This is one of my very favorite posts in this community building series. I remember when I was writing this post I was telling my husband Jon that I was frustrated because I wanted to explain the difference between self-promotional content and customer-focused content and I couldn’t find any effective examples. He sent me a couple of emails he had recently received from Patagonia. They were perfect.

If you want to Attract Customers to Your Community with Content, you’ve got to create two kinds: foundational and community building. Patagonia does an amazing job of this and it’s all detailed in this post.

How to Build an Online Community for Your Business

Lucky for me, we have an amazing designer at Mack Web and her name is Natalie. She’s responsible for creating the spectacular info-graphics that we use to explain how we build community. In this post, How to Build an Online Community for Your Business Nat provides the illustrated version of this step-by-step processes.

If you’ve got an hour or so, you can also listen/watch this one Mozinar style.

Think Differently: How to Accomplish Big Goals for Your Business

This is not a Moz post, but even better, it’s a slide deck from my first big industry speaking gig. When I was on that stage at SearchLove, I challenged the crowd to Think Differently: How to Accomplish Big Goals for Your Business. This deck represents the community building process that we developed and tested on ourselves and our clients. My talk walks through this entire process (from buy-in to reporting) so that you can emulate it for your business.

Meet Your Community Building Team

After I had been writing and speaking about building community for several months (and of course working with our clients), I started to receive a whole lot of requests for role support. Who do we hire to do the work? Do we need one person for every single role? How do we build an ideal team?

I wrote Meet Your Community Building Team on the Moz blog in an attempt to encourage as many companies as possible to un-silo their existing marketing department and effectively build their ideal community building teams.

The Fundamentals of Building and Managing Your Community

Essentially, this Moz post is the final entry in this community building series. The Fundamentals of Building and Managing Your Community breaks down the important elements of both building and managing your community.

Specifically, the post highlights one of the most effective concepts we’ve used in community building—the Goals not Tools pyramid. In essence, you want to make sure that no matter what you’re doing — whether it’s building community or working on other important facets of growing your company — you start from goals. Identify the big picture of what you’d like to accomplish before jumping into the tools that will get you there.

Bonus! Mack Web’s Free Guide to Building Online Communities

So that about does it (so far) on Moz posts and the community building series, but if you like what you’ve read so far, then you’re in for a real treat. Mack Web has been developing a free, step-by-step guide on building online communities. This guide, written in true Mack Web fashion, will come in the form of a handy-dandy PDF and will incorporate all of our community building wisdom in one pretty little package.

If you don’t want to miss out on all the fun, sign up here. It will be your early Christmas present.

What Else Would You Like to Know?

As the year continues to unfold, and we continue to develop, iterate, and collect data about building community, there will be a whole lot more to tell you. What is it that I haven’t covered that you’d like to hear? I’d love to get your feedback in the comments below.