A social media community for business–what is that? It is when a business utilizes the power of social media to create a place online where people who are like-minded can come together. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. While yes, we all know what a community is and how it can help us professionally and personally, but, do you know how to build a lasting community that loves your business?
Powerful branding is at the epicenter of a meaningful and valuable community. You want to create a brand that people want to be apart of! Why? Because then your brand will organically attract followers rather than you painstakingly having to grasp for them.
What are the benefits of building community?
In The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life that Matters, Emily Esfahani Smith describes the importance of community: “We all need to find our tribe. In other words, we all need to feel that we belong.” Her research shows that the benefits of belonging are developing relationships based on mutual care and frequent pleasant interactions.
Social media communities for businesses are useful because you can help your customers and followers to build a sense of community around your product, service, or mission, and really make an impact. With tools like social media you can build your brand literally anywhere. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram provide a platform to exchange information between knowledge seekers and those with who have knowledge to share. These network effects are experienced across companies that sell goods, are service-oriented organizations, and even not-for-profit and for-profit organizations alike.
How can you build a community using Facebook?
One of our staff members attended, Facebook Community Boost, a 3-day event in Menlo Park, CA hosted by Facebook. 750 small business owners and entrepreneurs learned about marketing and advertising tools to boost creativity and build community. Here are some of the highlights to build a community on Facebook:
Profile vs. Page vs. Group:
First, it’s important to distinguish between these different types of resources. A Profile is where you share information about yourself, such as your interests, photos, videos, current city and hometown. A Page is where artists, public figures, businesses, brands, organizations and nonprofits can connect with their fans or customers. A Group is a place to communicate about shared interests. You can customize the group’s privacy settings depending on who you want to be able to join and see the group.
The power of a Facebook Group and Page:
A group is a great way to pool your resources collectively. You are no longer the only one communicating to your customers. Now your customers can interact and can even serve as a resource to one another. What’s most important is that your group is useful, easy to engage in, and provides value. To create a productive Group, establish guidelines for members and identify a moderator. To learn more about Facebook groups read this helpful article.
A Page provides a space where businesses can curate and share quality content with followers. Maybe you want to share upcoming product updates. You could do that through your Page. Sharing industry news, or upcoming partnerships and how they will impact your customers is another idea. You could use a tool like MarketBeam to curate high-quality content and distribute it to your social channels, including your Page.
Read our article outlying how to create and kickstart a Facebook page.
Now that you’ve read about building a community on Facebook, check out our article talking about creating a group on LinkedIn.
Sometimes you need a Knowledge Base:
Maybe your community of experts may not be enough support to help your community. In that case, what is helpful is to create a knowledge base that can be referenced. Facebook has achieved this through creating Facebook Blueprint, a free to access, easy to use online learning modules and database. These are bite-size, 10-15 minute video segments to educate consumers on how to maximize Facebook’s tools to grow a business.
Read this article to learn more about knowledge bases: https://www.atlassian.com/it-unplugged/knowledge-management/what-is-a-knowledge-base
Ready to build your community?
In this digital age, you’ll likely want an omni-channel approach. Here are few next steps that you can take to build a lasting community:
Evaluation: Conduct an evaluation and identify which platform you want to use to develop or enhance your community: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. Which channel(s) provide the right platform and target audience for your business?
Content: Regularly share new and relevant content with your audience. You can create schedule content up to 60 days in advance using MarketBeam. How do you know what types of content are most engaging? You can figure that out through testing! Test different content types: images, articles, blog posts, and videos to see how your audience reacts. See MarketBeam Analytics to learn about content types and much more.
Metrics: Determine an objective your community and what is the metric that you will use to measure its success? Is it the number of ‘likes,’ followers, retweets, reshares, or comments? What about your number of engagements a prospect has with your collateral, lead conversion rate, or something else?
Wherever you are in your journey to build a lasting community, what matters most is that you actively engage and communicate with your members authentically.
Still looking to learn more about leveraging the power of social media?Watch this video to learn how to build a social media strategy: