Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Building Brands By Nurturing Community
Won’t you be my neighbor? Building brands by nurturing community
From posting blogs to answering tweets, we’ve all seen the laundry lists of ways to build an enthusiastic online influencer through social engagement. While these tried-and-true techniques are effective, there’s another fan-fostering strategy you should consider: building a community.
Here are four strategies that will make a community the kind of place where customers want to hang out:
- Sit down for a spell – If you build it they will come, right? Not necessarily. Mashable’s Leah Betancourt says that to engage customers you must avoid the “gaping hole perception.” That means brand representatives actually need to show up and interact with consumers. She recommends strategies such as frequent content updates to nurture conversations, attract leads, and encourage continued membership.
- Don’t be the door-to-door salesman – Sure, the motivation behind a social media strategy is to improve the bottom line. The challenge is that social media users don’t like the hard sell. Harvard Business Review bloggers Debi Kleiman and Anat Keinan note that consumers will quickly reject blatant pitches. Instead, focus on building the relationships that are the foundation of an enthusiastic fan base.
- Recognize the leaders – Guy Kawasaki, for OPEN Forum, says that creating “peer celebrities” can be an effective social engagement strategy. He recommends recognizing the unique experiences and passion that online influencers bring to the community. Kudos can come in the form of exclusive events, free upgrades, or private shopping. And, for some people, a simple mention is enough to motivate their continued role as an online influencer.
- The grass might be greener – While there are good arguments for building a community, Social Media Explorer’s Jason Falls argues that it can be even more effective to implement social engagement by connecting communities that already populate the virtual landscape. He gives the example of nightclub owners who use MySpace to find members of its fanbase that were already connecting on that site.
A professional online listening and reputation management service can help you decide if a community would be the right addition to your social media strategy. Contact Social Strategy1 today for a risk-free assessment.