The key to generating a social media community of followers

Be selective with the social media platforms that suit your brand best

When a business has an online community, it has a great chance of a prosperous future. With an engaged, loyal base of advocates and followers of your brand, it’s easier than ever to upsell new goods or services and increase the reach of your digital content.

Building that community on social media is no mean feat. It requires businesses to approach it with the correct mindset – one which focuses on making more human connections and being personable. If you are planning to develop a social community to underpin your brand’s exposure online, consider these seven important talking points:

Don’t be afraid to communicate your passion

First and foremost, one of the most effective ways to intrigue and excite prospective customers and followers on social media is to connect with them passionately and positively. Demonstrate that your brand lives and breathes the industry you work in and is dedicated to making its industry a better place for consumers. This could be as simple as posting about your company’s recent research and development (R&D) projects to show the extent to which you are looking to innovate and make the lives of your customers easier.

Alternatively, it could be an open and honest response to a follower on social media with a genuine question. Both of which can help to unite your community of followers.

Tell powerful, relatable stories to target demographics

The most successful attribute of social media marketing is storytelling. Cultivating emotional connections with your target demographic is essential to building the trust and advocacy in everything your business does. This is particularly beneficial in crowded markets, where brands need to think and act differently to cut through the industry noise.

Whether it’s case studies that demonstrate how your business’ product(s) have been agile enough to solve problems for customers like your social followers, or simply explaining your reasons for setting up the business i.e. to do things differently than the competition.

Make it easy for prospective followers to reach out to you

Where far too many online businesses fail in their bid to generate a social community is their inability to make it easy for users to connect. If prospective brand advocates cannot easily spread the word about your business and its story, what chance does your community have of enjoying organic growth? Be liberal with placing social sharing symbols throughout your website and incorporate links to your website and services within all your social media handles.

Consider enabling push notifications so that followers also get alerted to your most recent social posts, even though some believe they are irritating consumers. You can also steer offline B2B and B2C connections that you may have networked with to your social communities by sharing these social handles on business cards too.

Be mindful of the dangers of social media too
Accept the fact that it’s just as easy for users to “dislike” your social media activity as “like” it.

Arguably the biggest negative to building a reputation on social media is that one negative comment about your business from a so-called influencer can act as a “cooler” for your brand, undoing hours of hard work. The term cooler is derived from the classic card game of Texas Hold’em. A poker cooler is a hand which a poker player plays well but loses due to the way the cards hit the community board, beyond their control. Social media coolers are also beyond your control, so it’s a case of trying to rise above the negativity and take a proactive approach to such feedback, making it clear to followers that you take on board all comments – good or otherwise.

Consider social media as a 21st century form of customer service

Nurturing a social community of followers is like building any other kind of friendship or relationship. It takes time to find common ground and you need to be prepared to dedicate time and energy to it. Consumers increasingly view social media handles as a form of customer service too.

Given the immediacy of posting on social channels, some consumers will voice complaints and queries to businesses. The success of some social communities is dependent on how well a business responds to these, delivering impeccable pre and after-sale care that resolves problems promptly, building loyalty and trust.
Give generously to your growing social community

It is true that the more your brand gives to its social community, the more you are likely to receive in return. The harsh reality is that many consumers on social channels will only care about your business if there is something in it for them. Give them a reason to care about your brand and you will get them on the hook.

Social giveaways such as competitions are a sure-fire way of ramping up engagement within your social community. Contests that require followers to share your social pages or giveaways to enter are a hugely effective way of increasing your brand reach.

Engage with your top contributors and mould them into brand advocates

Lastly but by no means least, be sure to pay close attention to the top contributors to your Facebook pages, Twitter profiles and Instagram stories. These contributors are like gold dust when building a social community. Think of them like the “whale” poker players you get at the poker table. Those Texas Hold’em poker players that keep giving you the action you want. These are users that really care passionately about your products or services, or the industry you work in.

Consider rewarding their loyalty with exclusive offers or discounts. You could even allow your top contributors within the social community to road test new products or services and provide reviews to other prospects within your target demographic. It’s a great way to allow a customer to talk about your services in terms that other potential customers will relate to best.

Cultivating a social community that works for your brand doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Be humble, open, and transparent; reward those who get on board with you and your followers will give you plenty back in return.

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