What’s More Powerful Than Your Social Media Audience?
It’s one thing to have a social media audience – those people who follow your page for updates and click like on the occasional post. An audience is a really good thing to have, and a lot of importance is placed in to growing a brand’s audience and reach, and rightly so. But even more powerful than a social media audience is a community. A social media community rallies behind your brand, becomes your online voice and acts as a virtual representative for your business. Building a social community takes work – a commitment to engaging your followers with high quality content and dedicated interaction.
Post High-Quality Content Focused Around Your Message
Every day millions of updates, photos, videos and more are posted on various social media sites. But only a few get recognized by your audience. The difference between the barrage of ordinary posts they see and dismiss and that of the posts they recognize with a like or comment is content. Your content plays an integral role in creating the community you want behind your brand. Think critically about what kind of content will inspire and excite your target audience and then work hard to provide that content daily. Remember that not only does your content serve to engage your audience, but it also acts as a depiction of the things that are important to your brand message.
Ask Questions and Encourage Feedback
People are more likely to engage with and promote a brand when they feel valued. And they feel valued when asked their opinions. So don’t shy away from asking industry-related questions that will get people talking. Keep in mind though that your questions should pertain to the field or industry your brand operates in, and avoid polarizing religious or political questions that may alienate some of your target audience. The goal here is to be inclusive – everyone’s opinions are valid, and everyone deserves a chance to be heard. Don’t forget to make sure your audience knows that their feedback is welcome and valued, whether you’re asking a broad question or about specific products and services you offer.
Solve Problems and Provide Answers
Social media attracts all kinds of people – and you will most definitely have ones in your audience who use the platform to complain or bash your brand. Fight against the apprehension that one angry customer can instigate others to give bad reviews or post nasty comments. These kinds of posts and reviews give you a chance to show that your brand is committed to solving problems and providing a good experience. Respond quickly and attentively, and try to move the issue off of your page by asking the commenter to email or call your business – but don’t delete the comment. Let others see that you take the needs and experiences of your audience seriously. And sometimes, with a strong community, you’ll even find that other members of your audience will answer the ranting commenter and provide a testimonial of their good experiences.
Incentivize and Add Value
For all the dialogue and rapport you may have with your social media audience, many people follow your page because of what’s in it for them. So don’t forget that sweepstakes, giveaways, drawings and other incentives are great ways to keep people engaged with your brand. Don’t bribe your audience – make your incentives more like special offers for loyal brand advocates. Think of what kind of things your community would find valuable – it can be something big, like a cash prize or a prize pack of restaurant and movie gift certificates, or as simple as a coupon for a free service for social media followers or a discount code for the first 100 online orders.
Developing a community out of your social media audience will take some time and dedication, but the rewards you’ll see will be well worth the effort: a greater increase in word-of-mouth-advertising and lead generation, vocal brand advocates and loyal and satisfied customers.