Growing an online community around your business

October 28, 2013 9:36 am The UK Domain

“Rich Mix is a social enterprise and charity offering a place where the diverse communities living in east London can make and experience art. As well as workshops, art installations and educational programmes, we also have a multi-screen cinema and coffee shop.

In order to grow our community we made the decision to focus much of our marketing activity online. Since doing so we’ve seen a 26 per cent increase in traffic to our website as well as an uplift in sales of cinema tickets.

Here’s how we’ve grown our online community and how that in turn has been instrumental in bringing in extra revenue and customers:

1. Communicating what we stand for

Our website is vital for us, and we specifically redeveloped it with fresh, regularly updated content and relevant keywords to improve our search engine optimisation. We chose because it demonstrates that not only are we a charity and social enterprise which reinvests all of our income back into our community, but we’re also based in the UK. We want customers who spend money at our cinema and in our coffee shop to know our story, to trust our organisation and the work we do. Our website helps us differentiate ourselves and demonstrate our position in the local community.

2. Identifying our audience

Our online booking data tells us about the people visiting our cinema and events. For example, our art audiences, particularly dance and theatre, come from all over London, while our independent films and family activities attract a more local east London audience. We use these insights to tailor our online activity. Identifying who we’re talking to allows us to decide on the most relevant content for our website, adverts, emails and social media channels.

3. Understanding where we need to be

As part of our strategy we developed a Tumblr blog to showcase our activity and create content we can use throughout social media. It also helps to improve our SEO and website ranking. We chose Tumblr over other blogging platforms because it’s where our young target audience is – it’s important you do your research and know where your customers are, and where they aren’t.

4. Connecting with our community

In the past few years we’ve concentrated on our social media activity. Using competitions, exclusive news and offers, and regular quality content we can reach out and connect with an engaged audience and we now have a growing online community. We also have an increasing number of subscribers to our mailing list, developed through data capture boxes on our website, booking pages, and social media activity. We regularly reach out to this mailing list with news about future events, special campaigns and fundraising.

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