3 Ways You Can Benefit From Social Media Without Engaging Your Customers
Customers are a great group to build your community with, but they aren't the only community you should be thinking about. In the rush to dive into social media, many businesses don't recognize all of the routes they might take or the opportunities that are actually before them. Here are three ways you can benefit from using social media without ever engaging your customers.
Improve Your Industry
Relationships are the bridges that connect us to new insights and opportunities. While customers can teach you many things about the direction your business should be headed, your competition undoubtedly has valuable insights as well. By breaking down the walls isolating you from them, you'll find that not only can you make friends within your industry, but you can actually do a lot to help each other. When you take the initiative to interact with other members of your industry, the whole industry benefits.
Bring Talent to Your Doorstep
Being known as a great company to work for can go a long ways. Fundamentally, every company relies on the people they hire. When you build a community around your employees and future employees, hiring talented, motivated, and all-around awesome employees becomes substantially easier. Despite the economic challenges lately, great employees have choices about where they want to work. Building a community around employees and recruits makes it more likely they'll choose to work with you.
But, having a reputation for being a great employer does more than attract talent; it also enhances the image of your brand in the eyes of your customers. Most people don't like work, but when they hear that your employees are actually enjoying it, they recognize something different, valuable, and human about your brand.
Become A Publisher
If you're publishing quality content, the chances are you're building a community around it. These content-driven communities have a very distinct benefit: they bring in revenue. You may choose to sell the community's attention to advertisers, or you may choose to create a side business aimed at the community you've developed (e.g. 37 Signals or Coudal Partners). Either way, you'll often find that the effort it takes to become a publisher is well worth the benefits of the community you build.
Ultimately, the foundation for your community-building efforts should be an authentic and useful message. This way, no matter who you're building your relationships with, you'll find them helping you accomplish your objectives -- no coercion required.
Don't make the mistake of assuming your customers are the only people worth reaching out to. If you take a moment to look around, you'll likely find opportunities to benefit from communities all around you.