Nowadays, social media can often feel like a highly competitive environment with limited space for newcomers. However, delivering valuable content to customers doesn’t have to be intimidating.
Social media is a highly effective tool brands can use to drive meaningful traffic and develop valuable relationships with a customer base. In fact, growing and managing a successful social media community has the potential to give brands a unique insight on customer sentiment and personas.
A deep understanding of the target audience is what oftentimes allows brands to build valuable relationships that set them apart from the crowd. Here we’ll go through seven easy-to-follow steps on establishing a high quality customer journey and creating a nurturing brand space on social media.
1. Identify Your Social Media Community
The first step to managing and growing a successful community starts with identifying and understanding your audience. This begins by creating a customer profile that includes the target demographic and market research.
Developing a thorough understanding of the audience’s persona serves as the foundation for eventually constructing influential content that will both reach and connect with the right people.
This crucial step also plays a significant role in customer acquisition and content validity. In order to deliver high value content to an audience, marketers must be able to recognize what the audience’s values are.
It’s important to keep in mind that the target audience may change over time, along with their characteristics. Therefore it’s key for brands to periodically conduct a target audience analysis.
This doesn’t have to be complicated and time-consuming work. With the right tool, like Socialbakers’ free audience persona mapping tool, all it takes is a click of a button to organize your audience's interests, content preferences, and motivations in one easy-to-use document.
2. Produce High Quality Content
More than ever before, companies are realizing that social media communities require a higher level of care, starting with the quality of the content.
Whether you're brand new on social media or well established, high quality content is typically the driving force behind customer loyalty and retention. This can be achieved by evaluating the audience’s interests and thus creating content that’s relevant and resourceful. Knowing your target audience is key in content marketing.
However, audience members are constantly changing (as are trends), which is why brands should always keep a watchful eye on content – both their own and competitors’ – that performs well. This allows the marketing team to better understand which topics truly resonate with the audience and those that do not.
Similarly, social media platforms and algorithms are always evolving, which poses a unique challenge for community management. On top of that, it’s important to acknowledge that each platform responds differently to various content.
Content that performs well on Instagram may not cultivate the same results on Twitter, and vice versa. Brands need to understand their target audience, and thus what kind of content would work well, on each platform.
Additionally, high quality content has the potential to boost valuable interactions within your community. Oftentimes leading to increased brand loyalty, a highly sought after dedication that is always sought after marketing.
Our guide to creating great content may give you some ideas how to grow your social media community.
3. Develop a Clear Brand Voice
The science is simple: people overwhelmingly prefer brands that are relatable and authentic. This comes as no surprise, as cultivating a strong and distinct brand personality is the most human component of a company’s online identity.
While many brands choose to remain strictly professional, others bask in the many joys of humor and sarcasm with their audience. A clear example of an outspoken brand on Twitter is Wendy’s, an account that conducts regular banter with users and partakes in the occasional roast, which fans can’t get enough of.
Although this restaurant’s personality might be over the top for most brand identities, it certainly proves that consumers appreciate good company humor.
However, with that being said, it’s sometimes a fine line between lighthearted jest and spewing offensive jokes. In order to pull off this risky tactique, it requires a keen awareness of one’s audience to avoid going overboard.
No matter the personality, it’s important to keep the brand voice consistent as this enhances users ability to recognize and connect with the company. Think of building a brand voice just like making friends – as long as the company remains genuine and transparent, users will appreciate the authenticity.
4. Use Multiple Platforms to Drive Traffic
Whether it’s directing traffic to a website or building a larger following on social media, being present on a multitude of social platforms can help harness a wider audience and emphasize a greater call to action.
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all allow user accounts to link a website address in their biography. This is a great way to direct followers to a company landing page and begin converting customers.
Brands should also consider promoting their other social media accounts on various platforms. For example, if a brand has a strong following on Facebook and wants to grow a community on Instagram, it’s important to promote the brand Instagram account on Facebook.
And don’t forget platforms like LinkedIn or TikTok, which offer vastly different audiences. But both present opportunities for brand awareness or specific promotions.
The same idea stands true for growing socials through a website, as those who land on the company website are likely a part of the targeted audience. It’s crucial that brands provide links to social media accounts via the website, in order to grow a larger social media community and build higher engagement with potential customers.
5. Stay Consistent to Boost Engagement
A key step to maintaining and growing a social media community often depends on providing a level of consistency. Whether it’s planning out a content calendar or maintaining a strong brand voice, consistency is the first step towards boosting community engagement.
Depending on the platform, engagement among users and brands often plays in favor of the social media algorithm. The best way to reach a larger audience and form deeper connections is to engage with the community.
Tools such as Instagram Live and polls on Twitter are easy ways brands can elicit a response from users. The more engagement an account can conjure up, the more likely the content will be shown to a higher volume audience.
Additionally, increased engagement gives brand accounts a better idea of the kind of content users are craving.
Planning ahead is fundamental for community management best practices. It’s a good idea for social media teams to arrange a detailed content calendar, which indicates the day and time of each post, preferably weeks in advance.
Brands will also want to avoid publishing errors by establishing a collaborative workflow. This usually starts by assigning roles and approval flows in order to iron out any possible mistakes.
A simple method to staying consistent is planning ahead and focusing on developing healthy community management. If your brand is juggling a variety of different platforms and struggling to organize team collaboration, check out the Socialbakers community management tool. This unique program has the capability to speed up your community management operations all from one easy-to-use platform.
6. Always Listen to Feedback
A common mistake many brands make on social media is neglecting to listen to community feedback. Positive or negative, user feedback gives a brand account valuable insights on the gap between what marketers think they are doing and how customers feel about those same marketing efforts.
If feedback is overwhelmingly positive, it’s a good idea to investigate why a particular piece of content performed so well. Similarly, if a brand received heavy criticism from their social media community, it’s essential to track down where things went wrong.
Social media is a fast-paced environment, so even if feedback isn’t polarized, brands should never be complacent about improving content. While tracking high levels of community feedback is no easy task, the most efficient way to understand content success is via social media metrics.
Tracking meaningful information, including response time, resolution time, and customer satisfaction will help determine how well your team is performing and clearly identify where you can improve to better meet your customers’ needs. To learn more about tracking metrics make sure to check out tips for better social media community management.
7. Discover New Ways to Deliver Value
Brands are constantly evolving on social media, as companies push innovation and collaboration in order to bring greater value to the customer. Among popular methods of gamification and giveaways, there seems to be an infinite amount of ways a brand can reach their audience.
The key to captivating a social media community and maintaining loyalty relies largely on discovering new ways to deliver value. Brands must be creative not only in their display of content, but in how they choose to interact with followers.
This may mean launching a community contest or sharing customer stories; either way it’s important to interact with the audience in a way that is both captivating and compelling.
If your brand is having trouble finding new ways to deliver valuable content, try brainstorming from the targeted audiences’ point of view. For example, valuable content should be resourceful for followers and either answer an important question or give helpful advice.
Another crucial point is the desirability of the content. Brand posts should be inspiring for the intended customers lifestyle. Many companies achieve this through giving followers behind the scenes access via social media or invite the community to special events such as webinars.
Whichever tactic your brand decides to use, make sure that the audience can find it useful and relatable.
Community management is a powerful tool to help grow and manage your social media community with ease. It also has the potential to build a strong sense of brand loyalty, increase conversion and sales, and showcase the most human side of your brand personality.
Growing an online community encourages customers, employees, and followers to collaborate and provide feedback that will enable brands to form healthy connections and learn valuable information.
As platforms increasingly offer more ways to interact with users, there are an infinite amount of ways brands can target, reach, and retain their audience. Considering the daily opportunities to interact with followers, staying in touch with your audience is more important than ever.
Get started by identifying your brand’s target audience, develop a meaningful strategy, plan ahead, and always measure your results.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.