Social communities and followers are often the core drivers in your brand’s online conversation. The way they engage with your digital content doesn’t just close sales, but builds awareness, establishes credibility and boosts impressions to new audiences. To have a successful community building and engagement plan, start with the foundational steps outlined below.
Know Your Audience
This might seem like the obvious place to start, but you’d be surprised how many brands forget to research and understand their audience before trying to engage with them. To develop content that converts in the digital space, you need to have a keen understanding of:
- Whom you’re talking to;
- Where they are (in the online world);
- What they care about;
- What type of content grabs their attention.
You can build an overview of your target audience by leveraging social listening tools, audience insight research and marketing positioning. Keep in mind, if you’re doing it right, your audience will likely grow and shift over time. Make regular research and analysis an ongoing part of your community building approach, tapping into your social listening tools to understand your followers.
Craft Your Position and Voice
Don’t think of your brand’s voice like a megaphone: the most successful digital strategies revolve around back and forth conversation. One of the keys to building that good conversation is maintaining a consistent and established brand voice. There’s a fine line between cringe and cool when it comes to brands, and crafting your tone and overall position in the market will help overcome the “unfollow” barrier.
If you have an agreed-upon position in the market, you can also respond to your audience with confidence—and you’ll avoid mixed signals or inconsistent experiences. For extra security, invest time into creating a response matrix or a system of responses and guidelines that can be used to help craft your conversations.
Establish Community Benchmarks
It’s not marketing if you don’t talk about metrics! When it comes to community building, you need to have goals for growth. Depending on your overall company ambitions, those benchmarks can look like a lot of things: from increased impressions to shares, follows or even just a simple click.
Once you’ve determined your overall goals, you’ll be able to map out your content to achieve those specific outcomes. Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are doing either; in fact, we’d recommend it. You’d be surprised what you can learn from market leaders, and those learnings can also shape your overall goals.
Diversify Your Content via More Conversations
Stagnant content will only provide results for so long. By diversifying your digital content, you’re able to capture the attention of a larger audience — and keep them coming back for more.
Here’s the key with this tactic: Have more conversations, which will not only allow you to engage directly with your audience but also crowdsource the content they crave. Spend time on your social channels responding to and asking questions, polling your audience, participating in virtual industry events and guest-posting in collaboration with relevant publications.
Your content calendar shouldn’t bore you; if you’re not excited by the content you’re creating, your audience won’t be motivated to engage with it. Keep in mind, depending on your audience persona, you might need to focus more of your attention on specific platforms over others. For example, if you target online users ages 16 – 25, you might want to spend less time on Facebook and double-down on TikTok.
Community Building and Content
Community building takes an investment. It can’t be an automated process or a once-a-month task. It requires a dedicated effort to actually engage with your audience to build trust and familiarity.
If you don’t have the resources to ramp up a content engine that consistently builds and engages your community, consider outsourcing some of the work to trusted partners. At 10x digital, we specialize in not only understanding your consumer—but creating the content and building the conversation that gets them to talk back.