Growing an online community takes more than just being an overnight success. While it’s nice to have fame or stature behind your name, the most likely route you’ll be taking is developing a dialogue and trust over time, honing in on what makes your brand or community unique against the others. No stress if this might sound overwhelming to you, as we’ve developed a few methodologies on how you can grow an online community in the health field that respects both quality and authenticity of your posts. Here’s how:
Start With What You Know
Whether you’re a doctor or not, when it comes to someone’s health, you should almost always start with the information you know. Not only is this the best way to gain trust with consumers, but prove you’re authentic about the practices you preach, an imperative part of establishing a brand; in fact, as noted by Brand Buddha, 80 percent of consumers say that authenticity in content is the reason they have a relationship with a brand. And if you’re looking to build a base around what’s authentic to you, then the first place you should start is with what you can educate others on with facts and research.
When looking at topics to discuss, find a balance between what you know versus what other people know. For example, the CBD company Verma Farms discusses the misconceptions about CBD based on their experience producing it, but without any scientific backing, it won’t mean much. Anyone who has an active interest in the health world should be careful with what they present as fact and opinion.
Have An Established Content Plan
A core aspect to having others talk on the topics you’re interested in is by first introducing them to your passions or beliefs via content. While a lot of people admit they need a blog, going after that and producing content consistently can be a pretty tough battle. After all, despite how many brilliant blog ideas we might think we have, that doesn’t necessarily always translate into having content that’s garnering traction. However, as noted by the Content Marketing Institute, as small businesses with a blog garnering 126 percent more leads than small businesses without, which is why it’s often considered the core to community building.
Try to find things that are niche enough for people to click on. For example, Supportiv advocates for mental health in a broad sense, but shares articles for people who were raised by narcissists, are coming out of bad relationships, or who are struggling to find the right therapeutic approach. As blog content can be the catalyst for conversation, brainstorm a few categories you can capture in your stories, as well as what insight your giving enables you as an authority for each. While it’s not always the easiest task, in due time, you’ll eventually find your groove to providing more thought leadership to your audience.
Know Where Your Peers Are (and how to find them)
If you’re going to be creating and sharing content, then a primary must-have is looking at where your peers are, as well as how to find them. Although this might sound simple, it can be much more of an investigative process than you might imagine; because while we might assume that our peers are exactly like us, that doesn’t necessarily always translate between age, interests, occupation, or even education level. Especially for the health industry, your demographic could be a number of different possibilities, which is why it’s important to growth hack as much as you can.
With growth hacking, the name of the game is presenting yourself to as many possible audiences in the most cost-efficient method, followed by seeing which avenue provided the best results and why. For example, as noted by Pew Research, 76 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds are currently on Instagram daily, which if I have a health-conscious group focused on food waste, then looking out for a group like that might be ideal. Reaching that group requires research and planning; services like Hashtagsforlikes can help you strategize.
Keep Your Output Consistent
As you start to garner more traction for your content, it’s imperative you keep your outreach consistent to ensure that you’re reaching the maximum amount of engagement you could receive. In fact, brands that are consistently presented received 23 percent more revenue.
Make a calendar for the type of content you’re aiming to share with your community, being mindful of the popular topics per your culture. Additionally, try to come up with some topics of discussion for the pieces of content you’re producing (even if they’re contrarian to your initial viewpoint), which will not only kickstart engagement on certain channels, but also potentially bring the debate to new mediums amongst the health community (such as niche forums). The more you’re reaching out and contributing to the conversation, the better, giving a sense to those in your field that you’re keeping this dialogue up long-term. Once you have that, it’s much, much easier to gain trust and start a bond with your base that will last years to come.
What are some ways you’ve found success in building an online community? Comment with your insights below!