How to Cultivate Your Social Media Community
You can’t overestimate the usefulness of a good social media community. It’s a crowd of customers who are explicitly interested in your product or business, passionate about what you do, and eager to hear more from you.
If you keep them interested and happy, some of them will even become evangelists, extolling the virtues of your business or product to their friends and family. For most consumers, a recommendation from someone they know and trust carries more weight than any other form of advertising, so the value of word-of-mouth marketing from your social media community can’t be overstated. Here’s how to get your community excited about what you do and happy to follow and talk about you.
Be Honest, Transparent, And Admit Your Mistakes
Nobody’s perfect, and we all know that. That’s why it’s so annoying when a company won’t admit when there’s something wrong with their product or they’ve made a mistake in the purchasing process. Social media communities are built on trust — admit when you’ve done something wrong., do your best to remedy the situation, and people will give you credit for being honest.
Communicate, Communicate, communicate
Communication is key. That’s what makes it social media. We don’t mean the content you broadcast out to your followers — that’s just a brand with a megaphone, not a conversation. You need to be answering questions quickly, manning the live chat (at least during business hours), responding to negative reviews, and generally engaging with your customers.
That doesn’t just mean damage control, either (hopefully there won’t be too much damage to control). Don’t just respond to complaints and negative comments. Treat your brand’s social page like a personal social media profile — except instead of a person, your brand is the person. Participate in comment threads, and try to be fun and engaging. This is time-consuming, and probably means you’ll need to dedicate someone to your social media alone, but it’s worth the trust and engagement you earn.
Tell Your Story And Connect It To Theirs
What makes your business unique? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What problem are you trying to solve in the world, or to help your customers solve in their own lives? This is the kind of content that you should be creating and sharing.
Sure, your customers want to know about upcoming sales and new product announcements, but they also want to know why you’re doing what you do. If you’re launching a newer, smaller version of your product, tell them about the convenience of bringing it on business trips. If you’re opening a new location, tell them about all the faraway customers you’re trying to get closer to. If you’re hiring a bunch of new people, tell them about how your business is growing. Making your customers feel as though they’re in the loop will make them feel included.
Be Easy To Find
If you want customers to be a part of your social media community, you need to make it easy for them to find that community, wherever it lives. Put social sharing icons on your website so people can share your content or snippets of your writing to their own pages. Put icons at the bottom of your emails, too — some people might prefer to follow you on social media rather than getting regular emails.
Feed traffic in the other direction as well — make sure your social media followers can easily find your other profiles and your website.Different people have different preferences for how they take in media online — give them more options and they’ll be more likely to stick around.
Make Customer Service A Way Of Life
Keeping your customers happy should be at or near the top of your priority list, and the same goes for your social media community. Making a sale is only the first step in your relationship — it’s what happens after the sale that separates successful companies from the rest.
Your best future customers are your existing customers — people who have already bought from you are more likely to buy again in future and more likely to try out newly introduced products, and they’ll spend more when they do.
Your customers are going to have questions, need help, and want to return things from time to time. That’s just the way things go. When they do, you need to be as helpful and cheerful as possible. Happy, confident, trusting customers will drive more business to you and come back for more themselves, and that’s how businesses grow.