Ahead of our LCC short courses at Global Academy in May, we spoke to Hana Jay Klokner, Course Tutor for Social Media Marketing, Instagram for Business and Brands and Writing for Blogs on how to create a community on social media in just 30 days and here’s what she told us …
One question I get asked frequently is how to build a community on social media. While it’s easier to say than to do, I can confidently state that with some good planning, intentionality, and deliberate work, anyone can build one. Let me show you how in five easy steps.
1. Consider the Audience
The first thing you want to start with is the audience. Your audience should shape the why, the how, and the what of your brand. Your motivations, the way you deliver value, and the product or service. That also means that every piece of content that you create must be tailored to people who are listening and potentially buying.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you should have a good idea of your customers. If you haven’t, you want to create Audience Personas – an ideal, fictional audience.
Knowing your audience well enough makes it easy to imagine the Personas as real people with faces, clothes, habits, jobs, and a certain lifestyle. Let’s say you’re in the coffee business. If you can imagine the Persona as good as your coffee-loving friend, then you know why they care about fair-trade and locally roasted, how they drink their coffee, and what coffee beans they buy.
Once you have a clear picture of your audience, the rest will start to unfold.
2. Do Your Social Media Research
One thing I don’t recommend is starting your online presence without knowing how the platforms work and how people use them and interact on them. First, you want to choose those platforms where your audience really is. If you’re a creative business, you can’t miss out on Instagram, but the same platform won’t work for you if you’re a law company.
Then you should ask yourself if you know all the things there are to know about the options and tools the platforms offer. Can you use Stories on Instagram? Make live videos on Facebook? Do you know the habits of the users – what makes them click the link in your profile? You need to dig in deep.
3. Create a Strategy
From my experience, doing social media without a strategy can be overwhelming. When you have a strategy, you know what, how and by when you achieve it. Start with creating a goal and assess your resources (time, money, people) and then set a date to measure your progress. I suggest you do it once a month.
Let’s say our goal is to build a community in 30 days. We could define a community as 1,000 followers on one of the platforms. The amount of time, budget, and people who take care of the activities will determine how quickly you can reach it. From my experience, with just one person doing social media part-time (16-24h/week) and some allocated budget, it is possible to gain your first 1,000 followers.
At the end of 30 days, you should have a look at the metrics and see if you achieved your goal. If you didn’t, you’ll need to restrategies until you find a method that works.
4. Create Valuable & Relatable Content
Can you think of a quote you saw on the internet that you liked so much that you had to share it on Twitter or Facebook? If yes, it’s likely because it said something you wouldn’t say better. You shared it because it took the words from your mouth. How can you do something like this with your content?
Content comes in three basic forms: written text, pictures, and videos. And these will only speak to your audience if you and your audience share common values; if the content is consistent in every form and if it provides value. While your values are what you stand for and what people can take you for (e.g. fair-trade coffee that supports local workers), providing value is something different.
You can provide value by sharing some information – something that people don’t know or can help them shape their opinions and decisions. You can educate people by answering questions they can’t answer, or resolve their problems. Inspire people to take action. And finally, be entertaining or talk about pop-culture – people always react to what’s funny and popular.
5. It’s Called Social for a Reason
When it comes to building a community, people tend to forget one important thing: communication. We like to act like a wall-flower watching other people having fun while contemplating if our outfit looks good enough. This, on social media, could translate to looking at people’s content while doubting your own and hoping that somebody will come to speak to you.
We forget that social media is a two-way stream of communication. You can, and if you’re just starting out, you should be the first person to say hello. But what should you say? What makes people interested in you? Showing your interest in them first!
The best way to start a conversation on social media is to like their pictures, comment on their photos or videos, and ask them questions in private messages. The more relevant and meaningful your engagement is and the more effort it takes, the better response you’ll get. This will take some time but people will start to follow you back, engage, and build trust.
One final note: behind every screen, there is a real person with pretty much the same wants and needs as yours. Wishing to have a good day and hoping that nobody will notice their imperfections. We’re all human and we want to be admired. It’s called social for a reason, so start acting that way. Speak to people with interest and make their day. You’ll see that with that in mind you’ll build a community in no time.
Written by Hana Jay Klokner
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