Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Building Your Social Community: Start from the Ground Up

Building a social media presence from scratch can be a daunting task. At a recent seminar, one of the presenters said she felt sorry for community managers who had less than 1000 followers. Her reasoning was that these managers spent so much time worrying about gaining or losing a follower that they were not able to manage their communities.
These statements made me want to stand up and walk out of the presentation right then and there. Looking back at this event, I must say that building new communities can certainly be a challenge, but the opportunities provided by a small audience can also give the community manager a greater opportunity to engage directly with those who care most about what the company is doing.
Here are three advantages for building your community from the ground up:
  1. Your company will have a vested audience – Too often we hear businesses saying, “Is my social media investment worth it?” When starting from the ground up and building you audience, you will have a solid core of vested brand ambassadors, people who believe in your company or product. These ambassadors will be some of your best promoters, give them a voice and your message will be heard by people you want to reach.
  2. Engagement is about building a relationship – Social Media can become a platform to preach from when your audience grows too big too rapidly. The name social implies interaction and engagement; it is much easier to establish your community as a place to interact with your fans, clients, and customers from the beginning. Trying to change the theme or vibe of a community in mid-stream is much more difficult, if not impossible, than building it that way from the beginning.
  3. Customizing your community according to your followers – Not all people respond the same to all social networks. A company community on Facebook, will be vastly different from that same company’s community on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, or Pinterest. By knowing the audience that is attracted to each of your communities from the beginning, your business will be able to customize content according to the benefits of each social network, while making it an engaging and attractive community for your fans and followers.
Is it nice to have a ready-made community with thousands of followers waiting for you to start sharing with them? Most certainly it provides the community manager with great numbers to brag about, but in the long run, building a community from the ground up will give you a more committed group to help share your message.

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