Customer Management Articles

Essential Tips to Grow a Successful Community: A Talk With Brian Rice

by Christophe Primault
Published on 2 May 2012

Have you considered starting your own online community around your small business?

Establishing a community on your website is a very effective way to get your customers and prospects interacting with your business.

You can benefit from getting to know your customers' needs more closely as well as generating more leads and traffic to your website, but what are the critical success factors for building a community?

We asked Brian Rice to tell us about these success factors for growing online communities. Brian is a passionate community builder and blogger, a social media enthusiast and founder of Business 2 Community, an open community where professionals and businesses can connect with one another and the consumers of their products and services.

Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And Your Commuity

I am a marketing professional with a decade of experience on both the client and agency side of marketing. Currently, I am a member of the Global Social Media Team at SAP where I manage the company's social media monitoring program. About two years ago, I started a personal blog ( which later became the backbone for The decision to open my personal blog up to other contributors was based on the desire to create a community where individuals could share their expertise with others and network with each other.

What Are The Best Practices For Growing A Community?

The success of any online community is based on its contributors and the content they create. It is important to focus on developing engaging content that attracts an audience and highlighting the expertise of your contributors.

What Are The Most Popular Small Business Topics?

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for answers to some of the same questions as their peers working at large enterprises. Typically "how to" articles and thought leadership posts on topics ranging from social media to SEO generate a lot of interest.

What's The Best Way To Organize Community Topics?

I think it is important to organize your topics in a way that provides the best user experience for your audience. It is also critical to layout your online community in a way that is optimized for search. Finally, you shouldn't spread yourself too thin by trying to be "all things to all people" - focus on a niche.

How Can A Small Business Find New Communities To Participate In?

Guest blogging is a great way to exposure yourself to new audiences and develop your personal brand. If you are going to guest post, be sure to understand the audience that you are writing for and be respectful of their editorial guidelines.

Thank you Brian, for your wise words! We wish that your online community keeps on succeeding , and we hope to share your thoughts in the future.

If you are looking for a great tool to build online communities that allow productive conversations between your business and your customers, GetApp recommends this cloud collaboration software.


Apps mentioned in this article