Build Community; Grow Sales
Social media has an inherent advantage over other marketing channels because of the way its networks are structured. In essence, social media requires customers to opt into a relationship with your company, which essentially means they’re already interested in what you have to offer. And this means there’s enormous potential to build a community around your brand.
But this isn’t a “build it and they will come” approach to marketing. You need to carefully lay the groundwork for a strong brand community. To help you get started, we’ve distilled this task into three steps:
1. Find your target. This requires some research and social media monitoring. Start by checking out what your competitors are sharing via social media and how consumers respond to them. Do you see any voids that you could potentially fill? As well, identify hashtags your community uses on Twitter, events they attend on Facebook and blogs that they read. Be everywhere they are. What topics are capturing their attention?
2. Stoke their passion. Relying on your research, create a concept for your community that fits with your target’s interests. Then craft a content plan that is aligned with your concept. This means that not every post and/or tweet can be a sales job. If you use every opportunity to talk about how great your product or service is, your audience is likely to tune out and turn off. You need to provide value. For instance, if you’re a gym owner, you could inform your gym buff audience about the latest fitness rage in Hollywood. Keeping them in the loop on the hottest trends is providing value. Once you’ve nailed down your concept, expand your reach by joining relevant Twitter chats and creating groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.
3. Be sociable. Use social media to project a sense of authority, as well as to deepen your relationships with members. Ask questions, solicit opinions and then respond to them in a timely manner. You can also encourage dialogue among your members, by introducing them to each other or sharing one customer’s feedback and/or ideas with the group.
Unlike mass advertising where you push out your message to the millions in the hopes that it will reach your specific audience once in awhile, social media allows you to pull in your target and interact with them around the clock. And that makes the time and effort it takes to build a community well worth it, don’t you think?