Social Media Communities 101: Getting Started
The definition of “community” has expanded to cover the vast new opportunities offered by a global marketplace. Your geographic community is no longer restricted to the people who come into your store, or even to the people in your neighborhood or town. The boundary of your community is now the world. In this context, the people who engage with you online become your social media community.
An online social media community is a group of people, independent of physical location that maintains and cultivates a mutual interest, concern, affiliation or involvement. These diverse communities are often connected through the numerous social media networks. It is within this online social media community that you will find your most dedicated customers and supporters.
Identify your community: Find out who makes up your community. Your social media community includes Facebook and Twitter followers and those who engage with you on your forums and message boards, read and repost your blogs, and search for you online. Further refine your image of your community by using tools such as Facebook and website analytics, inbound and outbound destinations, keywords used in searches and demographic data. Ask for useful information such as gender or location if you require users to sign up to use your site.
Determine your community’s wants and needs: Observe how your community uses the resources you provide, such as forums and e-mail notifications. See if they are actively sharing and reposting your content and where they link to. Ask users what they want, either through your own forums, social media sites or polls. Sometimes a direct question will yield surprising answers.
Evaluate the amount of effort you’re putting into your community: Find out how you are spending your efforts to serve your community. Identify the areas where you devote the most resources, such as in blogging, content creation, SEO and social media engagement.
Decide if your efforts are going to the right things: Once you know what your community wants and where you are expending your resources, you can decide if your focus is on the right things or if you need to shift your attention to another venue.
Continue re-evaluating your community and its context: As your community evolves and members come and go, occasionally re-evaluate your community and how you can meet its needs. Change is inevitable, so you want to be ready to respond to shifts in community interests and expectations.
Social Strategy1’s in-depth research and analysis can help you and your business identify your community, find out what they care about and engage with them at a deep and meaningful level. Contact us today for more information on how our social media monitoring and reporting services can tell you what your community wants and expects from businesses like yours.