by Zoe Huden on October 17, 2012
Building strong, loyal, and excited online communities is in some ways a lot like building any other type of relationship; however there are four specific steps you must remember in order to improve your social media game and succeed at creating and maintaining a vibrant community online.
It’s important to understand that at least initially customers don’t really care about you or your product. They find you because they have a problem or a need, and they are looking to learn how your product or service can help them reach their goals. Once you have their attention, they’ll care more, but it is important to keep the conversation focused around how you can continue to better serve each member of your community, and not around your product or service.
Understanding the platforms your customers are gathering on is also crucial in how you communicate with them via different social channels. You are undoubtedly going to be making different connections with people via Facebook than you are through your blog. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to post a picture and link on your blog to a Facebook post, but it would make sense to post a link on your Facebook page that links back to your blog post.
Knowing which types of connections you can make on which platforms can help you start shaping your messaging before you even start communicating.
One of the ways in which you can have effective conversations within your online communities is to become a resource for those communities. You can become a resource by engaging your target audience and creating content your customers are already searching for. Figure out what questions they are looking to answer, and then you can begin to craft your content around those needs. You can figure out what your communities are talking about by looking at related forums and sites like Quora.
With the emergence of popular social media sites over the past decade the way in which businesses communicate and network with their customers has drastically changed. Letting your customers know that you’re not only listening but that their feedback has an impact on your company is one of the best ways to keep your most loyal and excited customers. It’s important that you always stay humble and grateful towards your online communities. Your business is nothing without loyal and excited customers.
Just like in any other relationship it is important that you remember to be kind, show interest, understand when the appropriate time and place is for communicating, and keep the focus on them. Following these four key steps should help in making your online communities stronger, more loyal and overall more excited about you and your product.