Compared to 10 years ago today it’s a lot easier to start and run a business. Outsourcing and dropshipping from mainland China commoditized the mass production of quality products.
Why Build A Community
Everybody can now sell quality products at low prices. What will make a business stand out today and tomorrow is their brand image.
Building a community of people that share the same values and beliefs as your brand is how you stand out in a market where everybody is desperate to make quick money.
A community can be grown organically, but it can also be grown through advertising. Think of organic social as the amplification of your business and paid social as the accelerator.
You can do either, but the best way is to do both organic and paid.
In this post we will focus on building a community organically.
If you want to learn about paid social as well, check this other post.
We will start from point zero. I will quickly share best practices for each step: from account creation to boosting engagement from your community.
Best Practices for Social Media Profiles
- Generally, you want to operate on all major platforms if you have the resources for that. However, if you carried out audience research and identified where your target customer spends time then focus on those platforms.
- Always upload profile pictures and cover images and take advantage of them to illustrate what your business is about.
- Enrich your profile with CTA’s such as phone number, with the latest offers, or other updates and other information relevant for visitors.
- Be contextual with the tone and language you use and match the visitor’s expectations of the platform when filling your bio and other profile sections.
- Users are most likely to use more than one social platform, therefore use the same profile pictures and information to convey the same feeling and brand image across all platforms.
How to Grow a Community on Social Media
- Invite your actual friends or people that you know have an interest in what you are doing.
- If you already have customers, invite them to like and follow your profiles.
- Add follow/like buttons on your company’s site so visitors can interact with your page without leaving the website; you can also add them in other places such as the thank you page after a sale or after subscribing to your email newsletter.
- Fill in each of your social profiles with links to all other social profiles.
- Join other social communities (e.g. Facebook Groups) in your industry and share valuable content with them.
- Add profile links in your emails that you are sending to vendors, customers, colleagues, friends.
- Be disciplined with your posting program so the audience knows you are serious and trustworthy.
- Take care of your current followers with offers, exclusive content or by doing something valuable to their needs.
- Use emojis, GIFs, memes, quotes in your content. Many people don’t use them thinking they will not look like serious people. However, you are engaging with this type of content daily, so your followers will too.
- Use relevant hashtags to increase the reach and visibility of your posts.
Best Practices for Social Media Campaigns
- Plan content on topics that are relevant for your audience.
- Listen to what the audience says and answer to their requests directly or through postings on your feeds.
- Identify, connect, and collaborate with influencers in your industry.
- Take part in conversations just as a normal person would do, not from a business point of view.
- Post content that is either entertaining or offers value to the audience.
- Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of the content should be non-promotional, and only 20% should be promotional.
How to Boost social Media Engagement
Growing a trusting social media community is not easy and it shouldn’t be. But once you accomplish that you need to nurture and keep it engaged.
Take note of the following points to understand how to keep your community engaged on social media.
- Respect your audience’s time by posting succinct straight to the point posts.
- Post relevant posts that are either entertaining or add value to your audience’s interests and needs.
- Ask for their opinions and feedback in the posts.
- Use all types of digital content including GIFs, memes, quotes, infographics.
- Reassure the audience that there is a real person behind the screen by asking them questions and using emojis and other digital slangs/abbreviations in your posts.
Videos are growing fast in demand by consumers and my marketers as well. Take advantage of these practices for videos when developing your content strategy.
Best Practices for Videos on Social Media
- Unless you post on youtube where people have a long-form content mindset, hook your audience within the first 3 seconds when posting on other social networks.
- 85% of Facebook videos are watched with sound off, so always add captions to your videos.
- Edit your videos to be fully viewable both on mobile and desktop.
- Take advantage of live video format to broadcast on all platforms unique content such as behind the scenes videos or pre-event preparations, interviews, etc.
Initially invented on Snapchat, stories are now a common feature for all major platforms. Have a look at these story practices to help develop your own stories on social media.
Best Practices for Stories on Social Media
- Use stories to showcase the other side of your business such as raw footage of moments before your podcast, pre-event moments or even your morning routine.
- Take advantage of story takeovers to grow your visibility and gain new followers.
- Use story features such as Instagram’s Boomerang.
- Use multiple stories to convey an actual story with a beginning, middle, and end.
- Use hashtags and locations for more brand visibility. Check out this great video from Social Media Examiner that explains all you need to know about Instagram stories hashtags.
Social Media is constantly evolving. Platforms come and go all the time. When a new platform like TikTok appears, take note of it. When it was not popular some businesses created accounts and started posted content there.
Now they amass huge brand awareness because of TikTok’s popularity alone. It’s never too late to start operating on any social media platform, but being among the first is an advantage.
If you are new to the party you can be mediocre and still get some attention. But if you came late, you need to be the best to stand out.