Social media has made every person a publisher of media content. Never before have we been so interconnected. Everything we post online is a way for us to spread a message and communicate information. Therefore, when it comes to your social enterprise, social media is a great way to build an online community, at little or no cost.
So what are the benefits of having an online community? Well, when you build up your followers and fans, they will do a lot of your marketing for you. Imagine having tens of thousands of people, all eagerly enthusiastic about your brand. They will share your messages, like your content, and recommend you to other people online. Your message will spread without you even doing anything! This is how powerful your community could be, if you take the time to build it.
Find influencers: One of the first things you can do when building your social channels up is to identify influencers. Who are the people in your industry that your audience will listen to? For example, if you’re in the wellness industry, are there any spokespeople or key celebrities that draw a big following? Start following them and learning more about how they engage with their fans. You want to be able to get influencers on board with your channels so they engage with you.
One way you can attract the attention of important influencers and rise in the ranks in your industry is build content on the topic of your expertise. If you’re an organic vegetable seller, write articles and produce videos on organic farming and gardening. The more quality content you have that positions you as an expert, the more likely you’ll get people interested in what you have to say. They’ll then start adding you to their news feeds as a source of interesting information.
You can also share and curate relevant content on your social channels. You can do this by keeping abreast of relevant news topics and industry discussions in your field. For example, if you’re working in the mental health sector, tweet or post relevant industry advice or government statements with your own opinion on that particular article or information. You can also curate content too, which is just pulling together various new items and repurposing the content to make something new - either a fresh angle on a topic, or use an article to create a video from its content.
Visual content is key for social media channels, and if you use a picture or a video in one of your posts, you’re far more likely to get engagement (likes, shares, and retweets) than if you don’t.
Most people access social media on their mobile devices (phones or tablets), so remember when creating content, think mobile. It’s going to be tricky for them to read or want to engage with if you’re posting lots of text or a hard-to-read infographic.
Social media is a powerful tool, and is used for many businesses as a customer service channel. You can help to build your community by answering questions, offering tips, and generally being on hand to deal with queries via social media. Always be transparent and honest when offering advice, and you’ll see your numbers grow, as your community begins to know, like, and ultimately trust you.
Don’t forget to join online conversations with others. Search the social channels for relevant conversations relating to your area of expertise (i.e. ‘mental health’ or ‘organic farming’) and then participate and join the discussion! Search trending hashtags if they are applicable to your industry.
Lastly, don’t forget competitions! Competitions are a great way to build your community and extend your reach. By asking your followers to tag a photo, or comment or share, you’re maximising the reach of the content, and exposing your enterprise to hundreds or thousands more potential followers.