When it comes to building a social community, we all have the magic tool at our fingertips: social media. No other vehicle can beat the ability to engage directly with your customers wherever they may be. The easily accessible nature of social media leads to a saturation of content in the digital space, as brands compete for followers that will convert to loyal customers. How does one stand out in this virtual space? Here are 5 rules to start building the social community that your brand deserves.
#1 Know your audience
Ever heard of the saying “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail?” Well before strategizing, ideating, and content-creating, you must prepare by determining who your target audience is. In theory, this demographic consists of individuals who will respond most positively to your product. Determining your target audience is your starting point for audience building.
#2 Publish content with “Added Value”
Now that you know your demographic and who you will be communicating with, you can identify the topics of interest that will entice this audience to engage with the brand. Use your social platforms to not only promote your product but to “add value” to your brand through posts that entertain and inform. This will incentivize the potential customer to keep following your brand as they will feel that they are already receiving something of value by doing so. Posts that add value can be live Q&A’s for customers’ most burning questions, tips and tricks on using the product or inspirational content.
#3 Ask Questions
Take a step further to engage by encouraging conversation through questions and comments. Even on an interpersonal level, the gesture of someone asking a question expresses interest and consideration while building rapport. Such as it occurs in a physical community setting, the act of listening and interacting can strengthen a social community. When you ask your audience a question three key effects follow: 1) It shows that you care about your followers’ opinions, 2) it informs you more on your current audience which helps you create more targeted content, and 3) it generates higher engagement as questions are proven to optimize performance. By asking authentic and genuine questions you will be a step closer to gaining prospects.
#4 Listen and show appreciation by responding
Listening is crucial to all effective communication. That is why showing your followers that you “see them” will help build the strong foundation needed for a loyal customer base. It is the follow-up step to asking questions: showing that you are listening by following up with a comment or response. Another way to practice social listening is to highlight your followers’ content by sharing their stories or posts. These posts can also be used as additional content on your calendar to showcase real people that have been impacted by your brand – after all, people want to see other people benefiting from your brand! These are small gestures that will not go unnoticed and will help build lasting community and engagement.
#5 Be Relatable
It is important that your content is relevant and connected to what is going on in our world today. With every post, ask yourself: how is this relevant today? Providing relevant content will make it more “relatable,” and builds on a shared experience between your brand and your followers. Just as traditional communities are developed around commonalities, social communities are no different. Find the common ground, and build a lifestyle and a safe haven around it. People want to see themselves in your posts so make it easy for them to relate.
A post can either make your customer feel appreciated and connected or it can make your brand seem pretentious and ingenious. Strive to always be mindful and focused on the content you post.
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