There is no shortage of reasons why a good social media strategy is invaluable. Businesses small and large appreciate the boost that a good social media presence can provide. However, a minimal presence and a promotion platform can only do so much. Especially in these hard times, communities bond more than ever – so forming your own might be just what you need. So, if you’re looking to build a brand community using social media, look no further!
Why a social media brand community is important
First things first, let’s explain the vast potential brand communities hold.
It’s no secret that the number of both internet users and social media users increases steadily. In the “digital age”, that’s only to be expected. About 50% of the world population uses the internet today, and over 40% uses social media. That’s a massive potential customer pool that no company should avoid.
Now, what’s even more interesting is that the vast majority of social media users actively follow brands. That’s not accidental. Most of them actually say they want to do so. Surveys tend to quantify this majority between 70% and over 85%. That’s a lot of people who actively want to follow you.
So, building a brand community using social media is a win-win situation. Both parties have a clear interest in communication, and there’s a clear benefit to both. How should you do so, then, and what should you avoid without a second thought?
What a social media brand community should be
To pinpoint what a brand community should look like, look into what customers expect. At the same time, keep in mind the tried and tested steps brands take when building communities. It takes some serious work and it’s not easy, but it’s not quite as hard as many might believe either.
Know your audience
The very basis of your efforts should be your intended target audience. Of course, this will differ massively depending on your business, product or service, brand values and more. Take a look at moversdev.com for a good example; their audience is businesses in the moving industry, so their services and tone both cater to the moving industry. There’s no benefit in straying from each industry’s unique needs, and marketers always keep this in mind.
Still, refining your audience’s demographics will help inform future decisions. This is true for marketing in general. The most vital example of this, outside of tailoring your content itself, is picking the correct social media platforms for your community.
Use the correct social media platforms
If you’re just now starting to build your social media presence, your key demographics and ideal client will play a vital role in your choice. Their main characteristics and unique features can help you fine-tune your presence and avoid setbacks to your strategy.
When choosing one, carefully note the platforms’ characteristics, as well as your brand’s style, tone, and needs. For example, if your target audience is under 50 and you prefer time-sensitive, text-based communication, Twitter might be for you. If your brand benefits more from visually stimulating content, like pictures and infographics, you might prefer Pinterest or Instagram.
If you’ve already made your choice, use your platforms’ features to your advantage. Find what content your community values more, and use your platform to promote it and build those important relationships.
Post relevant, useful content
There’s no better way to build a brand community on social media than to provide useful, desirable content. And I know I sound like a broken record saying this… Engagement is invaluable, as we’ll discuss next, but your content is why your followers follow you.
At this point, note there is a general disconnect between what brands usually promote and what consumers want. For example, most customers look for discounts and sales, yet marketers rarely focus much on those. That said though, many types of posts and content find appeal with both:
- Posts that entertain, inspire, or tell a story
- Educational posts
- Company insights
- Posts on new products and services
Of course, the usual marketer supply of such posts doesn’t perfectly match the usual customer demand. However, such posts can catch the eye and make both parties happy, building stronger community bonds.
Lastly, you should always remember that a brand community on social media hinges strongly on engagement. No matter how good your content is, it won’t foster community bonds without proper engagement and feedback.
Post quality content frequently, respond to your customers’ questions as frequently as possible and do so organically. Nobody wants to be ignored or to have their questions answered in a robotic tone. Find a tone that’s appropriate for your brand and use it consistently across all platforms to inspire brand loyalty. Do so diligently and your community will eventually grow enough to start servicing itself. This will both reduce the strain on your customer service, and promote a lively, cozy environment for your customers. That’s what a community is, after all.
What a social media brand community should definitely not be
With all that said, let us look through the most common reasons people leave social media brand communities.
Too many promotions
More than half of those who leave your community will do so because of a promotion overload. Promoting your brand is vital, but overdoing it will only have a negative effect on your community.
Jargon, slang, technical terms, and lack of personality
Your tone and presence should be personal and approachable. You can’t have a sense of community if your brand feels robotic and if you constantly use jargon.
Failed attempts at humor, too much humor
This one is very important. Some humor will add to your brand’s human image, but there’s a fine line to it. Too much humor can come off as unprofessional and drive customers away, and so can failed attempts at humor. Try to strike the golden balance in humor volume and quality to avoid adverse effects on your community’s size.
Lack of communication
Lastly, this one is equally important in building a community. Fewer people leave over a lack of direct communication such as unanswered messages than over other reasons, but many do. Take care to reply to requests, questions, and inquiries as frequently as possible to keep your community happy and engaged.
After all, communication is indeed the primary function of any community, and social media brand communities don’t differ.