Social media has taken over traditional means of marketing as well as the conversation surrounding means of marketing. With almost 4.20 billion social media users in the world, it’s understandable how wide and far reaching it can be. Delivering valuable content has become easier yet highly competitive.
More and more businesses have moved to the digital space to promote and bring awareness towards their products and services. With so much content and information being delivered to customers and users online, the reading span has also reduced. It means you have to concise your content and present it in a manner that’s impactful and leaves an impression.
Social media has become a day to day routine, a platform where billions of people across demography spend at least 3 to 5 hours per day. As business owners it’s wise to include digital strategies in your marketing plan for amplifying the reach of your business.
Everyone talks about content marketing, social media marketing, strategy but very few people talk about a social media community with engaged followers on social media platforms. Majority business owners and entrepreneurs are focused on pumping content endlessly without much engagement, waiting for one post to go viral. The most important thing that business owners should focus on should be community building.
Building a community is vital to creating a safe space for your customers. It’s an ongoing process and to yield its benefits you have to keep working towards building your community. There is no short cut towards building a social media community. It’s all about creating meaningful content that your followers engage with positively.
Let’s start that conversation today and understand the basics of social media community building and how it’s vital to your business and growth that’s fueled with shared values.
WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY BUILDING?
Social media communities are basically online properties where members with similar interest can share their experiences and start a conversation. With such a wide network across demographic social communities are much like your neighborhood club or a theatre show you catch at the stage.
To understand more about the true purpose of social communities, let’s understand the 3 reason behind it first-
1Communities of Interest: As the name suggests, these communities are more about common interests and things that interest people in general. Topics, discussions that are conducted on a daily basis, which are visited more often.
2Communities of Task: This structure is based more on peer reviews, classified ads, action or research. People with a goal, to seek information or knowledge about something can be classified as a community of tasks. This may not be as often visited by it also depends on credibility and usefulness.
3Communities on Vocation: As the name suggests it focuses on professional need and connections. LinkedIn is a great example for communities on vocation. It not only fosters relationships professionally but also helps employers seek employees and job seekers look for jobs. It’s a professional relationship builder which helps you connect with industry experts, business owners and professionals from various fields. Social communities like these can help you gain access to knowledge, opportunities, and experiences. It’s a great way to connect and foster relationships.
BUILDING A SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY
Social communities are not just built by merely joining them, it grows only when you engage with them consistently and consciously. And the only way of knowing who your target audience is? And who’s engaging more? Is by sharing your content, thoughts and ideas.
Follow Up: The next step after you have engaged with your audience is to follow up. Look over, research and find out who has connected with your content on a deeper level and speak to them. Send them a link to your blog, or your posts which have been up. Maybe a funny meme you created for a brand, or just a value addition post.
Start a conversation with them. Ask for their opinions and input on the blog or post they interacted on. By doing so you’re engaging and inviting them to your internal community and making them a part of the conversation. This is a continuous process, connecting with people and starting meaningful conversations will make them feel a part of the community. Slowly this community will grow with more members and interested parties who will have the similar inclination towards your message, your goal, and the products and services you’re selling and promoting.
What to Post?: There’s a constant battle for content creators, content strategists to decide what to publish. What’s more engaging and impactful? There’s a constant overlap between what marketers post and what consumers want to see. More and more marketers are focused on telling a story, inspiring their consumers, sales and discounts, teaching, showcase, ets. The educational aspect is one constant between both marketers and consumers.
For a more engaging social community one needs to align their purpose with their business model. It should be something that aligns from the top to the bottom of the hierarchy. It is to be committed to your purpose of building a community that resonates and speaks in lines of your own morals and values. And this happens only through constant and consistent engagement. Brands should not only market but also take on the role to educate, provide tools and techniques and ways to achieve goals, something which will be a win-win situation for all.
Value is the essence of building communities and should be taken as the core service to the consumers. https://medium.com/@CarolForden/how-to-build-a-brand-community-using-social-media-e36532097a8b
Communication: One of the most important aspects of social community building is to communicate. No matter how huge your business or brand is, if you refuse to communicate, reply back on reviews, answer questions, you’re sure to lose your consumers. Communication is super essential as it adds a human touch. Studies show that around 57% of people will stay committed to your brand or business if there’s some form of human connection.
If you are a business, where being able to communicate with you is tough, not accessible most people will lose interest and move along. It’s very important to be reachable. It creates a connection that people don’t forget and that feeling makes them a committed member of your community. Always keep the mode of communication easy, accessible and reachable.
Get involved: It’s very important to get involved in the activities of the group to be truly a part of it. Whether it’s a facebook group, twitter, or LinkedIn, don’t just sell your product/service, connect with people on a personal level. Doing so makes the people interacting with you feel a sense of belonging and personal touch.
Use Instagram stories where you can conduct various polls, quizzes or just ask me questions. These formats are a great way to engage with your consumers and community members. This not only helps you understand the popular opinion but they understand you as well. It creates a connection and fosters a one-to-one relationship.
Giveaways: Giveaways are a great way to connect with your community and they are a way of saying thankyou for their constant support and involvement. It’s become more than easy to conduct giveaways on social media platforms that it was earlier. These contests boosts engagement but also excitement and brand awareness. Giveaways can be conducted on any social media platforms, always make sure your giveaway visuals are impactful and eye-catching, that’s what’s going to interest your consumers first hand.
HOW TO GROW AND ENGAGE SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY
It’s very important to be creative and think out of the box if you want to grow and engage your social media community. Let’s take a loot at some smart ideas to stir the pot when it comes to boosting engagement.
High Quality Images: According to a study an image post gets 179% more interaction and engagement than any other format. That’s a pretty big number to avoid using high quality images to pass your message ahead. Always focus on the bigger picture, every picture and post tells a story and focus on that. There are endless creative ways to make your image look engaging. Use them to boost engagement of your social media community.
Share your experiences and success stories: Always make your community a part of your success. Share your experiences, success stories, and setbacks. It fosters personal connection and keeps them in loop for the activities. Make every story a shareable moment. Highlight these sections of your journey and make the most of it.
Share responses: Whether you’re conducting a quiz, question answer round or just polls, always share responses. This gives the community members a boost of confidence that you’re interested in their answers and share the outcome with the community. Always like and share content and give a shout out when necessary.
Emotional connect: Don’t always be looking to sell your product/service, Making personal and emotional connections is equally important. Engaging content doesn’t always have to be related to your business, it can be something as simple as a quote, a thought, some meme or video you liked. This gives them a moment to reflect and laugh. By doing so you’re creating an emotional connect with your social media community.
Be transparent: As a business owner be transparent with your social media community. Show them all aspects of your business. Behind the scenes, the process, how you approach a situation, or anything that you recently went through and how you tackled the setback. This loops your social community and gives them a sneak peak into the life of your business. It creates a personal connection and ads value in their lives by learning through your experience.
Don’t shy away from asking help: Never shy shy away from asking for help or advice. It can be anything from reading a blog post, to deciding some content option, to helping in research study. It’s a great way in making the members and potential consumers feel like they are as much part of the organization.
Tag and Reviews: Always tag influencers, pages that you think you liked, not that someone used your reference. It’s a great way to interact with other businesses and people to add and engage to your social media community. Apart from tagging, always share reviews and testimonials. Lot’s people review testimonials before they buy a product or use a service or even join a club or community. Reviews are an extremely important part of your strategy to engage more people in your social media community. Honest reviews always hit the right nerve and forces the person to consider their options.
Use the right Hashtags: Relevant hashtags have been doing wonders for a while now. They not only increase engagement but drive people to your page while searching for something similar. It brings you a wider audience and more traction. Remember to research before you incorporate this strategy as it may not work equally on all social media platforms.
Make sure to always be well informed and one step ahead in your research. With hundreds of trends going on social media platforms it’s very important to be aware of them at the right time. Engaging to your community that’s trending also helps them look out for you in the future with hope to see some interesting creatives. Once you learn what works for you, it should be easy to navigate your way ahead in boosting your social media community.
Social media community building is a great way to boost engagement, brand awareness and to promote your business. But more than just business, it’s a great way to build a community with similar core values, similar thoughts and beliefs. It’s about starting a conversation, sharing a purpose and a mission and working towards it.
More than just creating a social media community for your business it’s about creating a community where you can share your experiences, ask for advice and create a sense of belonging and a personal connection. Social Media Communities have grown tenfold and have become a core point creating personal connections with people from all ages, ethnicities, all parts of the world with similar thoughts and values.
Always strive to create a community, because that’s what will stay and motivate you to do better and move along.