Regularly posting content to your social media accounts is only the beginning. To really leverage your accounts, you need to build an active community that follow you, engages with your posts and ideally, helps you share your content.
Building a community doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s something you need to work at consistently to foster a relationship with your market and build a following that benefits your business. Here are three rules for successful social media community building.
1 – Give People Something to Talk About
First, communities often gather around interesting and popular topics. To attract people to your accounts and start discussions, you need to give people something to talk about. Start by posting content that appeals to your market and asking questions. Remember, people love to give their opinion, so if you ask for it and show you are listening, you will see some engagement.
As your social media presence grows, your online community and discussions may focus on your products, offline marketing campaigns, promotions and store locations. In fact, as your community becomes larger and more engaged, people will start their own conversations on your pages and about your brand. Be sure to participate in these to add your own voice and to maintain your reputation.
2 – Be an Active Participant
You can’t expect people to participate in your online community if you don’t participate. Do more than just start conversations. Listen to what people have to say, respond to comments, reach out to loyal customers through social media and interact with other businesses or organisations on social media.
Being an active participant will do two things. First, it will encourage people to participate in your conversations and reach out to you on social media, because they know you are listening. Second, it will help you gain a reputation as a business that is actively involved with its customers and is in touch with what is important to them.
3 – Create a Welcoming Environment
Finally, create a welcoming environment so people will participate. Be open to new ideas and address negative comments or complaints quickly and professionally. Recognise participation by “liking” comments and thanking people for their feedback. Avoid creating an online clique that people don’t feel they can join. Invite everyone to participate and welcome new followers.
This kind of environment will help you build a larger community, but it will also help you create awareness and make a positive impression. As you show people that you are a welcoming and accommodating business, you will find that your reputation will become stronger and that your entire business will benefit.
Creating an online community that interacts with your brand is absolutely essential if you want to make social media marketing work for you. The best and strongest communities developed over time and are the result of concerted efforts to reach out and form relationships. However, these three rules will help you start creating a community and then maintain it as an effective marketing tool.