Right now, small businesses are temporarily closing their doors across the country for the greater good, but people are still craving connection. Now more than ever, community building is important, and developing a close online relationship with your customers is a great way to do it while still safely social distancing.

Here are 3 ways to foster community building with your brand.

1. Make social connections.

While many businesses have had to shutter in-person services temporarily, there is one positive: more of us are at home, online, looking for ways to connect than ever before. It’s no surprise that social media is where most of us start our search for community building.

If your brand doesn’t have a social media presence, setting that up is step one. Research which channel is best for your industry, and make sure you select one you feel comfortable using long-term. 

If you already have a social media presence, build upon it by getting more active.

  • Seek out, follow and talk with customers, other businesses or influencers during this down time. 
  • Support other businesses and post about your favorite quarantine activities using their products.
  • Pitch collaborations with related businesses, like a puzzle and pizza promotion between a toy store and Italian restaurant.
  • Ask your followers questions — both serious and fun — such as:
    • What’s your favorite food item to have delivered from our menu?
    • What fun way are you using a home good purchased from our store while quarantining? 
    • Who can snap the most creative socially-distant selfie while wearing our clothing? 

Whatever your brand is, a good community-building question is one that you’re genuinely interested in the answer to. It should say something about your business and your clients. Start there and see where it takes you.

2. Teach people something. 

People are looking for things to do, and you know stuff. Don’t forget that! 

Ask yourself:

  • What does your brand do better than any other? 
  • Which of those things can you teach people virtually? 

Nothing is too small to teach, and sharing knowledge is a great way to keep community building going while social distancing. Bonus: Most tutorials won’t cost you any money to make. All you need is a phone, or to leverage assets you already have. 

For example:

  • Present a few slides of the Keynote you made for franchisees on how to organize storage spaces properly on LinkedIn. 
  • If you run a brewery, teach people a sanitization technique you use that they can replicate at home on YouTube. 
  • Own a store with a beauty counter? Give a tutorial on how to do the perfect smokey eye using products that can be bought online. 

3. Ask for feedback.

Businesses are working round the clock to find their way through these challenging times, but one thing it’s not hard to find right now is an audience. Take this opportunity to practice community building by asking your customers questions they wouldn’t always have the time, attention or capacity to answer. Social media is a good place to start, but quality feedback really needs to be gathered in more in-depth ways.

Consider customer surveys. Most people use net promoter score, customer satisfaction survey, post-purchase survey or some combination of the three. All are solid options for measuring your success as a company in the eyes of a customer, and we’ve broken down exactly why here. But they don’t tell the whole story — especially when it comes to gathering feedback in real-time, which is something that’s just as crucial online as in-store.. 

What you need for that is a customer feedback platform that creates an open communication channel between your customers and your brand. You need to have a way to find out when problems arise, and respond quickly when they do.

If feedback collection isn’t part of your current process, it’s crucial that you take this down time to learn why it should be. We created Mentor with the goal of open communication top of mind. We can do everything virtually, and in many cases, just the act of making feedback collection front-and-center sets you apart. 

Contact us to set up a quick demo today, and please stay safe and healthy.