Skip Facebook pages, blogs, and every hosted community platform.
Skip mailing lists and newsgroups too.
Create a Facebook group about the topic and invite your customers to join.
Or just invite your clients. Or maybe even just your work colleagues.
For all but the very largest organisations, groups are a better choice than a fan page today. You get more reach and greater depth. You can send a message to every member. You benefit from the long-established habit of visiting Facebook.
If you’ve ever tried to build a community on a hosted platform, you know how hard this is.
You can initiate events and invite every member. You can take advantage of a well established habit to visit the community. You can livestream webinars and other footage directly to the group.
The results are far more impressive too.
Most importantly, you benefit from the natural network effects. If a percentage of my close friends are in the group (as happens in most industries), Facebook recommends I join it too. Groups can grow incredibly fast.
As your audience grows, you can begin to build assets around it. You can create a blog and share the links in the group. You might create another community and begin posting discussions in the group. You might organise events and invite every group member.
Groups aren’t perfect by any means. You can’t get email addresses. You can’t onboard people the way you like. You can’t capture (ethically) email addresses. The technology might change at any moment (e.g. paid reach). You don’t get the SEO benefit. You can’t easily capture knowledge for the long-term.
However, in a world of shifting technology use and an ever-greater war for attention, they’re probably the single best tool any small business can use to get a community started today.