Social media managers wear a lot of hats: public relations specialists, writers, strategists, crisis managers, community builders. Of all the roles, one of the biggest is maintaining the public face of the organization. Still, managing social sites is not just sharing links and responding to comments. Maybe you’re looking to up the ante when it comes to social media impact for your company, or to increase sales conversion rates, or even learn a little more about your target audiences. Branded communities on social media can help achieve all these goals when organized well.
Why build a community?
Everyone wants to belong somewhere, and in the vast online world there are more places than ever before to find your people. By centering on the organization’s proposition in the marketplace and its mission and vision statements, communicators in a given organization already know how to connect with target audiences.
Creating a greater space for conversation and for communities to connect based in these spaces allows social media managers to maintain a sense of control in an often uncontrolled medium, as well as to empower stakeholders to support and contribute to the organization’s overall identity. This can work to build loyalty and trust in the brand the more stakeholders participate; feeling connected to the core of a company helps customers build a sense of belonging they’ll want to maintain.
Aligning conversations between community interests and organizational goals can also allow social managers to have a light hand in market research. Conversations, comments, and likes will be easy ways to see what’s on the mind of stakeholders, but the organization can also pose questions, promote product information, offer sales to see where interest and activity lies. This information can then drive organizational understanding.
Flash and substance seal the deal
No big surprise: the best way to get folks involved is to make it flashy.
Videos and infographics perform strongest on social media, and social media communities are no exception. Consuming information quickly, easily, and in a visually appealing way remains the best way to grab attention on social media.
However, grabbing attention isn’t the only goal. Conversion into customers is the goal! Ensure videos, articles, and images have a clear call to action and an easy way to do it without even leaving the post. Link to your website, donation page, or wherever else you need community members to head next. Studies show brand community members have an increased purchase rate, but only if you make it clear and quick.
Aligning social messaging with the larger integrated communications goals of the organization helps break through the noise as stakeholders face so many messages from friends, family, and other brands. By providing access to engaging, interactive content and encouraging conversation among community members, social media managers can work to build a rapport with the target audience and both learn from their engagement and drive increased brand loyalty. Still, none of this will work without interactive and interesting content and clear calls to action.
Brand communities on social media can be a fun way to amplify organizational goals and make connections. Be sure to stay aligned with the larger external messaging and find ways to partner across your communications teams to really make the community members feel valued and engaged. And most of all: have some fun!
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