When used effectively, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are community-building tools capable of taking your business or organization to new levels. Far too many companies fail to unlock the full potential of social networking, however, because they start with the wrong approach and implement incorrect strategies.
With the right tools, online community building takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it to boost your brand and raise customer loyalty. It will help people stay connected and remain interested in what you have to say and do.
According to Sai Prashanth of Housing.com, a popular real estate website, “Building a strong social community has the potential to reap large benefits. Our team has worked to build our brand through social media platforms, and we now have nearly 350,000 likes on Facebook.”
Each of the on-site posts receives thousands of likes, and hundreds of comments and shares. The company’s success was reached through mastering the art of building a social community with techniques like the ones below.
1. Pursue engagement over sales
Your main goal is to increase sales, which is the reason you want to put so much effort into building social communities in the first place. If you truly want to build sales, though, you’ll first work on engaging your customers.
Focus on building a fan base that’s eager to engage in your content, share it with others, and boost your rankings. A recent study showed that 90 percent of consumers will listen to friend’s recommendations but only 33 percent will listen to online ads.
In short, boosting engagement with your followers will help to increase sales all by itself.
2. Find and leverage brand advocates
Building a community is about more than simply gaining a fan base. It’s also about networking with others who will help you boost your brand.
Any of your members has the potential to be an influential advocate if you’re willing to pay attention. Take note of the fans who regularly share, tweet, comment, and like your content.
Reach out to them, let them know how much you appreciate their support, and ask them to invite friends to visit your social page too. Such a direct approach will be extremely flattering to most followers, and they’ll almost always do as you ask, which helps to leverage your brand.
3. Invest in thoughtful leadership
The biggest drawback of e-commerce businesses is the relative lack of human interaction. Social media communities allow you to create a feeling of human interaction for your business.
You have the ability to project a human voice to the world that can build relationships, push content, and offer friendly advice. You can contribute to your community by sponsoring events or giving to charities.
With all of this effort you’re creating the image of a thoughtful leader that others can and will want to follow.
4. Give followers a voice
Another way to boost the feeling of human interaction is to let your followers know their voice is heard. Ask for opportunities to share their opinions and take note of comments that offer constructive feedback.
Don’t just ask the question and leave it at that. If someone offers a great suggestion, take steps to implement it, then acknowledge the commenter and show your gratitude.
Never underestimate the power of your consumers. They shape your business, and if you want to be successful, you’ll recognize this and do something about it.
5. Integrate social media into your website
In general, people don’t want to work for things they don’t (and shouldn’t) have to. If you’re savvy, you’ll remember that in relation to getting people to share the content on your website.
You want the content you worked so hard to build to circulate around the web. That’s how you get page rankings and views. If you want to boost those views, make it easy for consumers to share it.
Build social media buttons into your website so that if someone likes a video, article, or infographic you published on your blog, they can immediately share it with all of their friends.
Every time a piece of content is shared, you’re gaining followers, so make it easy on them.