One of the biggest questions online community managers and marketers face nowadays is: “How do I build an audience?”; although, the more pressing question that needs to be addressed is: “How can I engage with my online community?”
Brands nowadays should be more community-centric rather than audience-focused. But how are they really different?
An audience is not interactive nor social; a community is a two-way conversation. As they watch and read your content, they also make it a point to make themselves and their network a part of the conversation.
A community that is strong and thriving depends on constant engagement and learning. The members must feel close to one another and tied in as part of a well-knit group.
So what strategies can you employ as a brand to become more engaging with your community?
Everything starts with great content. We may have heard or said in the past that Content is King… actually nowadays, Community has overtaken that throne,; and that “community” thrives on the valuable content.
Your content shouldn’t be about you, but rather about the community you intend to engage with, whether they be pet lovers, selfie addicts, or athletes. Content you put out to market should either be educational, inspirational, and/or entertaining.
Using video in your community can make fostering engagement a little less daunting. Your community members are your most active and engaged customers, and video allows them to connect with one another on a personal and relatable level, quickly and easily. According to HubSpot, 80% of users remember a video they’ve seen in the last 30 days—your community is a great place to start including videos and keeping folks engaged with your site.
Consistency is also huge part of community engagement. This includes how often you put up content or posts. In this regard, it’s best to look at the traditional media consistency model – TV, radio, print. They too have their seasons and schedules.
Design Your Content For Shareability
Content that gets shared the most online is like peanut butter and jelly… it is easily spreadable. Your community serves as your army in spreading your content for as long as you provide some sort of value.
So how do you design your content to be shareable?
One thing that’s certain is that headlines do matter! It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if you don’t know how to market it effectively with a good, catchy, or clever headline, you won’t get as much eyes into them as you would like to.
We are currently in the midst of an incredible era of entrepreneurship and online content. People are building legacies with their brands that will still live on decades from now. While some folks are focusing on products, others are building communities. Leadership and vision is one thing and I hope these ideas will help get more eyeballs to your content…and keep them there.