Community is the holy grail of Social media. Without community, there is no social. Mind you, if your focus is not right then you may just miss the bull’s eye by a thin line or shall I say a thin curve (Ah! I have been working out so I can mention ‘thin’ and ‘curves’ now)
Well if you’re thinking building a community is nothing but just a number game then yes, you are not wrong. Please note, I am saying “your aren’t wrong”. Members can be bought. Yes, they can be bought. Paid media, contests, promotions, etc. There are many ways. Principally, you can only buy the “Building” for your community. And, these numbers may or may not be necessary. Sometimes enormous followers can get you credibility. Sometimes it creates a base for future nurturing however I personally believe that there’s always a start and start is always with ‘1’ or shall we say ‘0’. I would say start with a clear purpose and members or followers for your community will come automatically. Do not worry much about the number game when you make a start. So now if you’re thinking that building a community is about quality numbers, you’re right. Please note, now I am saying “You’re right”.
Well you will find all social media practitioners saying this a lot, do something with your community because until you will do something worthwhile with your “big strength” they are nothing but just the false weights and you’re just spending a lot of energy to just ‘look’ good. The key is to ‘feel’ good and not just ‘look’ good. (Ah! It’s evident that girl is struggling to give in to some vino and Macaroons. Of course, it is. What on the earth ‘feel’ ‘look’ good jazz has to do with the Community Building!)
Believe you me, with this social media week coming up, I get to meet many CMOs / Digital Officers / Social Media Practitioners (more than I anticipated) who said to me: “I just want to have more followers for my company than my golf buddy’s company.” (Sadly, they weren’t joking).
Well let’s cut the humour now and submit some sense. (Did I just sense a grin here? Well! In my defence, my cocktail buddies laugh on my most one liners and a bit later, on all ) Yes, back to the topic now. I submit an idea: Nurture a community; don’t just build it. Nurturing a community means you encourage interactions, create engagements. Create an environment of communication (Let me say it for the last time, there is only one way to have communication i.e. ‘two-way’ communication). You need to get people talking. Maybe not talking with your brand, but sometimes simply talking with each other. Remember Entertain, Express, Express, Enable!
Nurturing a community means you are providing utility, usefulness and support for your community. When you articulate, it may sound little but in the practical world there’s a big difference between A presence and to HAVE a presence.
Look at it this way, if you can raise the community is an indicator on whether you should even be spending time in a social community or not. Can you get members talking? Can you get members engaging? Can you get members to act?
If not, you may like to consider other advertising options. Email marketing and other traditional methods that may have given you ROIs in the past.
Ask! Listen! Understand! Engage!
Before you give up on your ‘Building’, try this:
- ASK! Ask your community a question where the answer sincerely impacts your business decisions.
- Listen! Open ears will help you identify an opportunity where you can help your community and win their loyalty and trust. Go an extra mile wins hearts in social world too.
- Understand! Understand the contribution and efforts made by members. Give them the limelight and show gratitude for their contributions.
- Engage! Get people talking and create engagements. Host meet-ups, Q&A. Trivia Questions on a launch. Ways are many.
The essence of social community is same as the ‘house’ and ‘home’ theory. Everyone prefers a place to connect and not just the lumps of concrete hence nurture your ‘Building’ to a ‘Community’.
If you have done something similar in your business, please share your story. If you want to try this and still not sure how to go about it, feel free to leave your question.