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Building a Community? Start with Your Employees

What is your company’s community?

“Community” is one of those amorphous words that can basically mean anything you want it to, especially when it comes to marketing. Some companies have formal community programs with an application process, membership requirements and more. Others informally bucket various initiatives, from customer marketing to developer relations to social media, under the broad community umbrella.

No matter how you define your community, it’s important for its members to be passionate about your company, your offering and your vision. And that’s why your own employees can often be your best community members.

As part of our Fuel launch last week, we enlisted the team to help spread the word on their personal social media channels. It started with a fun pre-launch tweet to generate some buzz, but it really began in earnest on the morning of the announcement.

We provided everyone with suggested copy, along with a tracking URL for the press release, and asked them to post on Twitter and LinkedIn.

They did. And their followers responded! More than half of the press release’s page views came from our employees sharing the news — making their personal social posts our single biggest traffic driver.

Why did this work? Here are three reasons:

  1. Employees are ideal community members: What do you want in a community? People who know your company inside and out and are excited to talk about it, right? Nobody fits that bill better than your own employees.
  2. New eyeballs: Most people who follow your employees on social media probably don’t follow your company. Every time your employees amplify your content, they put your message in front of a new audience you wouldn’t otherwise reach.
  3. Strength in numbers: No matter how large your company is and how much reach you have, the combined reach of your employees is larger. Take advantage of it!

Of course, community isn’t just about increasing page views and reach. And your employees can’t be your only community members, or you’ll end up creating an echo chamber that doesn’t truly move the needle. But if you’re an early-stage company like us, looking to get the ball rolling, your employees are great people to start with.

In a true community, your followers, subscribers, partners, customers, investors, advisors, employees, etc. are actively engaging with you and with each other. (And it can’t be a one-way street; you need to celebrate the successes of your community members as well.) When people who are passionate about your company are sharing that passion with people they know, there’s a much higher chance that those conversations will begin to happen.

Be a part of the York IE community! Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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