Startup Corner

How to Leverage Online Communities to Grow Your Business

Steve Shideler, CEO of Fan Shop HQ, shares how he transformed two sports-related Facebook pages into an ecommerce company.

  1. Find or create a niche online community.

See which online communities fit your niche and get involved in the conversations already happening. Shideler says you can then “start repurposing that content and using your voice behind it, and people will start being drawn to that.”

Once you get involved or create an online community, you can start providing valuable content to people and getting them interested in what you offer.

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  1. Find what resonates within your community through trial and error.

Shideler says that getting involved in communities online is a great way to experiment and find what resonates with your audience without spending loads of money on ads.

“By the time you either have confidence to spend some money or you’ve sold enough to have some money in your pocket,” he says, “you have a much better message, you have a better [sales] funnel, you’ve got more of a fan base from which to do some custom audience targeting.”

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  1. Expect the ups and downs.

Shideler says that at the start of his entrepreneurial journey, he expected smooth sailing once he hit a certain point in his sales. The more growth he experiences, the more he’s realized that there will always be hurdles to overcome.

Shideler says, “Whether you have a thousand in sales or a million in sales or ten million in sales … there are still the ups and downs. But those ups and downs are what make it that much more enjoyable and that much more exciting and fulfilling to have [a big] accomplishment,” he says.

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