Own Your Community

Guest Post by Elizabeth Quintanilla

How do you know when you’ve outgrown your fan page? If you feel that your business is restricted in the quality of conversations that you have with your fans, consider using a community platform. You may be thinking – Facebook Fan Page. Don’t go there!

Building a community around your company is a challenge, but also offers the potential of long-lasting benefits. Do you want to put all your customer/community interactions in one basket of eggs – specifically Facebook?

In Facebook, you don’t own the data or the platform. You can’t archive the conversations or have multiple conversations without the old chats being pushed down the wall. Facebook is a closed platform with the Fan Pages under constant change. One thing about Facebook is certain: Facebook is a constantly changing platform.

Ownership Equals Control

By owning the community platform, a business has greater control over the tone and personality of their community. With the myriad of online platforms available, it is now not only possible, but also highly pragmatic for business owners to own their community sites. These conversations can be both archived and provide “Google Juice or SEO Value” back to your own website. The value of the conversation is twofold: provide customer insight, and help other potential customers find you.

One of my favorite quotes is from Johan Arndt:

“Informal conversation is probably the oldest mechanism by which opinions on products and brands are developed, expressed, and spread.”

Community platforms allow the business to monitor and engage in the conversation while archiving the historical data. There are several options ranging from “free” to “pricy.” Other options include hosted as a service by a platform provider (such as a Facebook Fan Page) or as part of your business website as a sub-domain (community.mybiz.com). There is no one size fits all community platform recommendation.

Here are some examples of community ownership in action:

Irrational Games Community
Ride Oregon

Can you imagine those communities as a Facebook or LinkedIn Group?

Back to my original question: How do you know when you’ve outgrown your fan page?” When you come to the realization that you don’t own it.

Elizabeth Quintanilla is Founder and Chief Business Detective at EQ Consultants Group, LLC

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