We live in a social world. From the way we talk with friends and family, how we find new businesses and the way we share the latest happenings in our lives, social media and emerging mobile technologies have changed the landscape of basic interaction.
Living in a world more connected than ever before has its cost, especially for businesses. People no longer will wait hours or days for a response from brands and business owners, and in some cases our conversations are limited to blurbs of 140 characters or less.
Add in the constantly changing landscape of social media networks, capabilities and tools, and it’s no wonder many businesses don’t know where to begin when building their social community. Social Media success is more than just fan page followers and likes; you need an engaged network that will create an enthusiastic social community around your business. Social media communities build real-time marketing avenues for your business at a far lower cost than traditional one-way channels, enhancing your sales and your revenues in the process.
What does it take to build an engaged social community? Whether it’s about individual and collective truths about your industry, or one-on-one conversations about your products, services and brands, here are eight ways to create a social community that shapes perceptions, triggers emotions and guides decisions.
1. Show Some Personality
Building an engaged network requires finding the right balance of fun and utility. If you only spew information about your products or services, what incentive is there for users to stick around? Instead, take a lighthearted and fun approach to social media to show off the human side of your brand. Social media represents a real chance to give your brand a voice, creates authentic customer experiences and inspires trust among your audience.
2. Start Small
Not all social engagement happens on the mega-platforms like Facebook and Twitter. There are literally hundreds of social networks out there, and depending on your audience, most of them aren’t worth the investment of your time and energy. When you’re just starting out, make sure you choose the networks that best support your brand’s image before moving onto other social networks.
3. Turn Social Observers into Contributors
Another key step to engagement is getting people talking. Ask questions, take polls, share pictures of their Monday morning face, or how happy their dog is when they get home from work. Taking a creative, out of the box approach to your social media content creation will instantly increase your engagement.
4. Hire Awesome Community Managers
Quick on their feet, tactful in their approach, and possessing a great display of coolness under fire, awesome social community managers aren’t easy to come by. A good leader can turn even the shyest followers into raving fans. Conversation management is as important online as it is off, and satisfied customers will help promote your brand if they feel you are listening to them and taking action to make them happy.
5. Provide Value
While it’s important to put more of ‘you’ into your business on social media, it’s important that customers find value in the social content you create. Flashy graphics and funny memes will certainly attract attention, but it will only get you so far. You need to show what makes your brand more valuable than the thousands of competitors in your industry.
6. Be Welcoming, Generous & Grateful
When new people join your community, make them feel welcome by taking some time to recognize their arrival. This can be as simple as engaging them with a like on one of their post or complex as sending a personalized direct message. Regardless of what action you choose to take, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in their engagement with your brand.
7. Really Get to Know Your Audience
Being authentic and open, and understanding what content will encourage a better response is key to raising engagement levels. Each person joined your social community for a different reason, and each will interact differently with you. Just like you would with traditional marketing channels, segmenting your audience and engaging each in the appropriate ways will create better response and build a stronger community.
8. Shut Up and Listen!
“People are tired of forced messages. If you want your brand to stand out and create something customers can believe in, it’s about building enduring relationships through authentic experiences.”
-Phil Laboon, Eyeflow CEO & Inc. Top Marketing Influencers for 2016
Brands have a tendency to talk. A lot. It’s what drove so many customers away from traditional marketing tactics to begin with. Instead of forcing the conversation, take some time on social media to actually listen to what your community has to say. So many brands are busy broadcasting what they want followers to hear that they forget to ask what they want and give it to them. Don’t be those companies; take some time to shut up and listen to what your community has to say.
We live in a connected world. If you want to drive participation, build trust and grow your brand, create a community today with help from the Pittsburgh social media experts at Eyeflow. Social communities provide brands with the single greatest opportunity to engage their audience, putting their words to action along the way to become a favorite among your following. Start creating social content that gives your brand purpose. Contact Eyeflow today to deliver a truly unexpected engagement experience for your brand.
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