Sam Rose - Head of Content

Sam Alexandra Rose

28th November 2014

Online Community Engagement That Everyone Has Forgotten About

We all know by now that social media is a really important tool for interacting with potential and existing customers.

But when it comes to developing community engagement there are alternative ways that you can interact with people other than on Facebook and Twitter – and it often feels like everyone's forgotten about them!

Here are a few ways to engage with a community outside of social media – all with their own exciting benefits.

Comment on blogs

One way to interact with people online is to read and comment on blogs. Find blogs that are relevant to your industry, and comment on posts you find interesting.

But don’t comment unless you have something to say – a simple “Great post, thanks for sharing!” just won’t cut it. The point of commenting is to show that you have something to offer, so try to impart a little knowledge of your own.

When you do comment, make sure you leave a link to your site so that once people have read your interesting insights, they can click through to your website and find out more. Obviously, you want to do this in a non-spammy way. Many commenting systems allow you to add your URL as part of your profile for commenting; if they don't, make sure the link is relevant and interesting to the person reading it at the other end.

Respond to comments

If you have your own company blog and have enabled comments, it’s a good idea to respond to anyone who comments on your blog posts. Engagement is a conversation – you’ve put the information out there, and someone has reached out and responded, so keep the conversation going.

This provides your website with more rich content, makes your visitors feel valued and shows you care about people engaging with you.

And even better, you can develop further ideas for blog posts from these comment discussions – we don't know anyone who turns their nose up at free blog ideas!

Participate in forums

Certain businesses may find that there are forums out there with people looking for and exchanging advice about their particular field. This may not be the case for every company, but it’s worth doing a little research to find out. You might find a rich readership is hanging out somewhere on the internet – only a few clicks away.

For example, a writer could participate in a writing forum where they can weigh in on discussions about their craft or give feedback to other forum members. This would give them a good reputation for being knowledgeable and providing advice. However much like commenting on blogs, you need to be providing quality information rather than spammy, one-line responses in order for this to be effective.

These ideas are not so much link-building exercises as they are building a name for yourself within an online community to develop a reputation for trust and expertise. They take a lot of effort and dedication, but can also be very rewarding – even if the only outcome is that you learn new things about your industry from bloggers and forum members.

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