9 proven ways to build online community growth
Words by // DEBRA SINCLAIR
With the increasing number of people and brands coming online everyday, it’s more important than ever to be seen and heard by your community. No longer can your attention be on how often you post on Facebook and Instagram, instead the focus must be on your community and how you can build, grow and deepen those relationships.
To cut through the noise, build deeper connections and create a lasting impact, here are nine ways to help you build a thriving online community.
People come first
The better you understand your audience the easier it will be to authentically engage with them. Social media is about making emotional connections and creating shared experiences and this will come much easier if you deeply understand the needs, wants, goals, behaviours, challenges and aspirations of your community. Put your people first and then focus on the social networks and the tools and content you’ll create to communicate with them.
TALENT // LIFESTYLE SYDNEY
Consistency is everything
Your messaging, communication style, language, frequency of content, and level of engagement must be consistent across all your social networks. You don’t have to be everywhere on social media. Stick to the social networks your audience uses if you want results. You’re much better off using one or two platforms consistently than spreading yourself too thinly across five or six. Your community expects a seamless customer experience so ensure everything you do on social media is aligned with your vision, values and brand.
Personal connection is the key to social media success
Take time each day to connect with individuals in your community. Engage with them and start conversations. Find out where your audience is spending time online, and then go out and engage with them. I’m not advocating you selling or promoting your services to them what I’m recommending is that you start a meaningful conversation, talk to them, ask a question, respond or comment to one of their posts or tweets. By doing this you’ll make connections, create stronger bonds and build trust. With systems and processes set up, this doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time each day. Think of it as an investment in your community and your business. People buy from those they trust.
Humanise your brand
Give people the opportunity to find out more about you and allow them to go behind the scenes. People and brands want to build relationships and work with those that share the same values. They want to get to know the real you and this is why it’s important to mix some personal content into your brand story. Don’t share everything. Only share personal content that is appropriate, brand aligned and relevant to your audience.
Write for your audience
When you’re writing social media content, creating videos or imagery always keep your audience in mind. Write specifically for them. Use the language they use. To help with this, picture your ideal client and pretend you’re writing just for them. By doing this you’ll be able to create more personalised content that will resonate with your current readers and attract new ones.
Create compelling content
Think of innovative ways to share your story that will be meaningful to your audience. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, take the opportunity to do things differently. Mix it up, use video, share and create beautiful imagery and focus on standing out from the crowd.
Keep in mind that everything you create or share on social media must be aligned with your brand and educate, inform, help or entertain your audience in some way. If you authentically tap into the values and emotions of your audience they will naturally want to share your content with their friends and their online communities. Don’t forget, the majority of people skim read and will be reading your content on a mobile phone so keep it short, sweet, easy to read and engaging.
Repackage and repurpose
If you’ve created a piece of content don’t use it once and then forget about it. Instead, look at ways you can repackage or repurpose it for social media. Do you have a blog post that can easily be turned into a video? Can you turn your blog post into 10 individual Facebook posts or Tweets? Or do you have an eBook you could turn into a short video series? Everyone likes to receive information in different formats so think about the different ways you can serve your content to your community.
Include your community in your story
Including your team, clients and community in your story is a brilliant way to build relationships, create brand advocates and to build your online community. This can be any type of content from testimonials, to videos, photos, blog posts and contests. Your community will love to be involved and be a part of your story. User generated content will create opportunities for you to share your message to a wider audience and it will create social proof which is incredibly powerful on social media.
Monitor and measure everything. If something isn’t working, you have the ability to fix it or move onto something else. Regular review your social metrics, data and insights and use it to better service your community and to grow your business. The more you test and measure, the more efficient you’ll be and you’ll be in a much better position to build and grow your online community.
How will you deepen relationships and build your online community?