Rahul Agrawal, Founder & Director of Things2doinMumbai, a recommendation page on Facebook draws into his experience to share actionable tips on organic community building on social media.
Which brand or company wouldn’t want a home-grown community of followers? Savvy brands would go to lengths to ensure they have a vibrant and burgeoning online community.
Especially nowadays, it’s a prime marketing communications goal, fostering brand engagement, deepening trust and optimizing the customer experience. Potent community-building is the foremost weapon in your marketing arsenal today to generate relevant engagement between brand and follower.
Snazzy, share-worthy, shareable content that is relatable, specifically to the audience’s needs is the only thing to move their hearts & minds. Especially so, if the aim is to build a community primarily through organic means. Through blog articles, videos and posts, you can create ongoing dialogue with your community, creating a sense of continual, deep and long-standing engagement.
Building a strong startup community
Community builders and managers are being hired right from the get-go. Their solo agenda is to create a formidable audience base that fosters every sales and brand initiative.
• Build a community around ‘the mission’
People believe ardently in the “why” of things. Focusing on the ‘problem’ that you believe your community faces and your viewpoint/actions to address it, helps win their favour. This creates a strong anchor for the community to believe in and turns your point-of-view into the pivot around which conversations & actions regarding the topic at hand, revolve around.
• Make every member feel special
The ability to profile consumers and customize the message to each is a unique ability that only the Digital format provides. Letting each individual of the community know that they are privileged and exclusive, right from the early adopters downward, keeps them sated. It also provides a key ingredient of camaraderie and kinship, which the audience alone enjoys and shares.
Gathering members en masse into social settings like events etc. gives them a chance to mingle and bond. It also flows over into online chatter especially over social media and forums. Getting such conducive environments into place will allow for better interaction and allow the brand custodian deeper trending insight into their audience’s hive mind.
• Build the community for your people, not you
Brands make the cardinal sin of using their social media presence like a megaphone that just blares their message aloud. Instead, a better use would be to use it like a switchboard wherein the end consumer’s voice finds a relevant place in their ecosystem.
Ways to build an organic community on social media:
• Remain consistent and active: A calibrated response schedule, with frequent daily logins, constant monitoring and relevant, active posts that keep the brand abreast of the competition.
• Stay topical: Smartly played, social posts can leverage guerrilla benefits from riding hot topics, thereby showing their relevance, both to their identity and how well they read their audience.
• Allow more shares and participation: Content produced, must pique the audience’s curiosity, as well demonstrate how it stands in for them. The sense of belonging one finds in such content will add to its ‘virality’ and earn accolades for the brand.
Why is ‘the community’ the most important feature of social media?
• A sense of belonging: A close-knit community connects folks to your brand fostering kinship, both with the brand as well as other fellow members.
• Community strength is everything: When every individual feels like that they are part of something powerful and special, which comes from being a part of the community, they feel especially empowered and the brand becomes their moniker.
• Opportunities for connection and growth: Community members feel closer to one another, and credit the community for bringing them close.
Examples of building a community around a brand:
Followers making a beeline for your brand is a result of the trust that you can engender. Let’s learn from some great examples the world over.
• When community forums were in their infancy, the creators of Reddit – America’s well-loved social web content rating platform and discussions website,seeded fake posts from fake accounts to encourage active participation and attract new people. That has paid off today with hundreds flocking there daily.
• Social networking behemoth, Facebook started as an online campus community. It’s still the primary with Facebook’s business purpose even today.
• The Washington Post’s reporters have established a group called ‘PostThis’ to communicate directly to the paper’s super fans about how stories come together.
A lively,active community will always attract new users, keep current ones engaged and provide real-time feedback to improve products and services. The goal of social media starts with developing a community amongst your followers/prospects. Organic Community building on social media is all about letting people express ideas freely, building relationships with influencers and creating engaging content that sticks.