Though your company shouldn’t be solely focused on the numbers, growing your audience online does matter. And while there are plenty of community-building tips to grow in size, these tips are more about getting your new found followers to connect with and remain loyal to your brand.
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20 Ways To Go The Extra Mile When Community Building
- Say thank you. Don’t forget to schedule audience outreach and give a heartfelt thanks to one or all of your community members. And it should go without saying that all comments, retweets, shares, or any sort of way in which your community took the time to get involved and engage with your brand should be followed up on — at the very least with an acknowledgement of your appreciation!
- Don’t be cryptic (it’s not cute!). Snark and sass can be quite satisfying. However, using it as a way to complain, whine, or troll in a cryptic way will only show your community how immature you are. Teachable moments are important, but doing so professionally is the way to go.
- THINK CONVERSATION. Ask questions, join conversations, and generally act interested through social media. Storytelling differentiates you and your brand.
- Be open to criticism. It’s happened to all of us … someone decided they didn’t like your post, disagreed with your viewpoints or said you totally suck. Ignoring it won’t make it go away. In fact, it will make you look like a real social media dunce. Instead, be open to other ideas and if in the end you still can’t see things the same way learn to politely agree to disagree.
- Leave your Sensitive Sally pants at home. Whether someone made a negative comment (see #4) or they made a remark that didn’t sit well with you, it’s important to remember that this is a PUBLIC domain. The best thing to do is take it offline or wait until you’ve calmed down to make an appropriate response. Things can be taken out of context online, so make sure you’re the coolest of all heads involved.
- Pay attention to tone and voice. Know how tone and voice are different, and how they can help with your brand messaging.
- Find your posting sweet spot. And by your I mean your audience’s! Though online forums are great for conversation and debate, too much chatter can be really annoying. And under posting? That can make you look like you’re not listening, not organized, or possibly even out of business.
- Comment with sincerity. Add value or something new to the conversation instead of saying, “Thanks!” Any brand, company or person can be basic. If you want to stand out you have to show up, so don’t parrot what everyone else is saying (“Great!” “Neat!” “Awesome!”), be unique!
- Use people’s names. Possibly one of the most important community-building tips. If you can use a name, do it!
- Create a healthy balance of promotional and valuable content. While you don’t want to come off as too sales focused, you do want to make sure your social content is driving your community to DO something. Not sure how to create compelling content? Here are 20 ideas.
- Don’t be a Meme Queen. I realize many people love memes and think they’re successful because they get engagement. But look around. Do you want to mimic everyone else and promote the words and sayings, or funny pictures of someone else? Or do you want to go the extra mile and make memes that are personal, customized, and unique to you?
- Mind your grammar and spelling. Guess what? Some research states that 79% of consumers notice a website’s spelling and grammar quality, and 59% wouldn’t buy something from a company with bad grammar or spelling mistakes on their site. You can bet this includes any of your content marketing efforts, including your social sites!
- Fess up when you mess up. Whether it’s a glaring grammar error or getting a name wrong, be sure you say you’re sorry. We’re human; we have horrible, terrible, no good days, and times when we use it’s instead of its. Laugh it off. Make a joke. Tell them, “WHOOPSIES!” You’ll ensure that you’re not as dense as your audience thinks while also showing there’s a person on the other side of that screen. Conversely, if you let too much slide, people can start question your credibility.
- ALWAYS. ADD. VALUE. ALWAYS. In other words, give everything. It’s one of the few ways to stand out when so many others aren’t giving much at all.
- Social and IRL should be aligned. There are countless horror stories about winning something from a company on Facebook and then when the winner goes to collect it from the brick and mortar store they’re met with, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Don’t be that company. In fact, making sure in-real-life campaigns are connected to online efforts is a surefire way to get noticed.
- Don’t plagiarize. You would think it goes without saying, but plagiarism (of words, ideas and/or photos) is one way to show your would-be customers that you can’t be trusted. And going beyond making you look like a fool, it can cost your company if you get caught!
- Treat your social channels as THEIR OWN SOCIAL CHANNELS. Connecting your social accounts can be a real disaster for those looking for insightful info from your brand. If your audience(s) sees you have nothing new to say from one platform to the next, they might get miffed and move on. Plus, posting the same content on every social channel you use is probably just adding to the noise.
- Have fun. (Duh)
- Understand the ways of the interwebs. POSTING IN ALL CAPS? Responding to a tweet without the reply tag (you have to use the @ tag and username to speak to someone directly on Twitter)? You should understand the platforms you’re using before you start asking your audience to join you there.
- Humility and humbleness will get you everywhere. Don’t tell your community how awesome you are. Avoid liking your own posts. If you and your employees are the only ones interacting with your content, it may be time to get a new content strategy. Remember, social media isn’t about what YOU want, it’s about leveraging conversations with your consumers to remain relevant, top of mind, and use storytelling to turn them on (not tell them how cool you are!).
Are there any community-building tips you’d add when it comes to humanizing your business and/or building a loyal alpha audience? Let us know in the comments below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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