What is social media without people and engagement? ……. Just an abyss of one way communication, white noise and spam.
In the “off-line” world, people congregate at their jobs, church, sporting events, local watering holes and family outings to socialize about what is going on in their lives. The “on-line” world of social media is no different.
Online community building is essential to any digital marketing campaign. It’s all about people.
Building a living, breathing online community that comes together via their mobile devices, laptops and tablets to discuss your products and/or services is critical to success. You can create the greatest content in the world, but if you don’t have an audience, it will literally fall on deaf ears. So be sure to interact with and embrace your on-line community and cater to their needs, NOT yours.
I am an avid fan of the Boston Bruins hockey club and I literally bleed Black & Gold, so I wanted to connect with other fans that were as rabid as me. So I started a Facebook community called Big Bad Bruins Nation back in 2011 to be a source of team news and become a public forum for fans.
Flash forward to 2014, the community is over 47,000 members strong originating from the United States, Canada, Czech Republic & Finland. You may be asking yourself, “How much money did he spend building up this fan base?” The answer is ZERO. My currency is not the U.S. dollar, its content.
My “secret sauce” is to share original and third party news with my audience. I leverage this community as a platform to share posts from my blog, Boston Sports Then & Now which drives traffic (and in turn generates on-site ad revenue). Curated content is amassed using tools such as Google Alerts and aggregation sites such as Prismatic. You must cater to your community to be successful, provide content they CRAVE.
Interaction is also paramount to the success of any on-line community. I try to chime in as much as possible during heated debates about the team and also provide real time, in game commentary. People seem to gravitate to my funny quips, so with that being said, be HUMAN with your audience.
Your community members will trust someone that they can relate to. I have received many tips about breaking news from fans which has resulted in national sites likeYahoo Puck Daddy linking back to my blog. This is just one example of the symbiotic relationship that is formed by a community and the community manager.
In closing, remember to provide your community with interesting content, be personable and build trust. Do these things successfully and there is no ceiling to the following you can build with little or no budget.