Start Building Your Community

Are you still operating under the misconception that simply being on social media is enough? Do you think that social media is the best place to broadcast all of your marketing campaigns because you can reach so many people? Well if you’re like most small businesses out there, you probably answered yes to both of those questions. But let me ask you this. How are you being social and building community if all you do is speak and never listen? You’re probably missing the point of what it means to be social online and you’re missing out on ways to maximize your return on investment.

Whether you’re a seasoned social brand with millions of followers or a small mom and pop operation with a couple hundred followers it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the strength of your social community and how you interact with your fans. It’s well known that when people directly connect with or have a personal attachment to a brand, business or product; that they will become loyal repeat customers. So building lasting relationships between your brand and followers, is the key to capitalizing on your return on investment.

Where most businesses go wrong or totally miss the point, is when they use social media to only speak and not listen. Providing your audience with content is not enough. You need to be prepared to listen to what your fans want. This means understanding what your community wants and providing them with something of value.

So how do you listen? Well its simple…by measuring user engagement and interactions. If your fans are not engaging and interacting with your content, you’re not providing them with anything of value. Your content needs to carry value that will promote interactions. If you’re providing content of no value, you’re wasting your time. One-way communication is a surefire way to loose the support of fans and get un-friended or unfollowed.

So the biggest question is always “what type of content should I post?” Ultimately who really knows? Every social community is different. Using your social media as an extension of your customer service to build and nurture relationships will be your best approach. Lets look at an example of a company that is doing a great job at engaging their community across multiple social channels. The North Face is a great example of a brand that is actively proving their customers with valuable content that promotes engagement and fosters interactions. Whether it is a powerful new YouTube video highlighting never before explored frontiers, a action picture on Instagram or a simple Tweet giving a shout out to a new up and coming brand. The North Face is proving their audience with content relevant to their brand and their community. Looking at recent campaigns launched by The North Face, you will see that they are adding to the outdoor community by supplying valuable and interesting content. They are not blasting Facebook with promotional ads or pushing their products; instead they are starting two-way conversations. In the last 30 days, they have seen nearly a 10% increase in their total social media audience and over 422,000 new interactions. With 400,000 new fans on Facebook alone during this time, The North Face is clearly a shinning example of a community based social strategy that is paying off in a big way.

So the next time you go to send out a new Tweet or get ready to hit Post, think about this. Is this content going to engage my community and promote interactions? How is what I’m about to post going to foster and build new and existing relationships? Am I speaking or am I listening? If you ask yourself these questions every time you interact with your fans and followers, you will be on your way to a successful social media strategy.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me at Justin@hubnami.com