Social media was once a number’s game where likes, follows and views were a measure of a brand’s online success.
While numbers still count towards the reach of a brand’s digital presence, there's been a shift from quantity to quality. In the online space social communities gather, holding conversations endorsing, supporting and giving feedback on your brand. Growing this community organically takes time, so here are some tips to help build relationships with your online community that will last the distance.
Know your customers and give them opportunities to engage with each other. Create campaigns encouraging your customers to interact about shared interests where they use your products, such as cooking, fitness, interior design, socialising, research or doing business. Make it easy for customers to review and share how they experience your products, in a way that can be easily accessed and identified with by others.
Let your community know that you are there! Your community expects you to join them, and be active in responding to its activity. Reply to comments personally, or have a designated social media manager so interactions are prompt and efficient.
Make the most of the opportunity to interact with customers at each touchpoint along their journey with your brand. Members of your social community are no less important because they are interacting with you from behind a keyboard. Treat them with the same consideration you would a customer walking into your bricks and mortar store. On occasion, share a little bit about yourself or your business, taking consumers behind the scenes to show them your team culture, significant milestones, or product developments.
Your social community is talking about you, whether or not you are listening. Listen and observe, and when the timing is right, engage. A dynamic social community is a valuable marketing tool with the power to influence revenue and reputation, so be interactive and responsive to its demands.
Your social community exists offline and online, so ensure these two worlds do not collide! Consumers look for a seamless experience across channels when making a purchase, and naturally expect the same when they deal with you on matters to do with your brand. If conversations online are more suited to a personal approach, offer to continue the discussion over the phone or face-to-face, ideally with the same team member.