When you’re thinking about building a community, social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and a great way to build your credibility as a professional. Social Media sites can help you to reach a, potentially, unlimited number of people with a very minimum investment in terms of time, money and effort. What you really need is passion for reaching out to others with your message.
While social media might be incredibly powerful, it’s still only going to be as good as the strategy you have in place. What you want to do first is to establish yourself as a credible authority in your field. Focus on sharing information that will help your community grow in some way, whether it’s professionally, personally or financially. Here are ten tools you can start with, and your biggest investment is your time. Building a community is worth that, right? Here we go….
1. Create a Blog
Then fill it with well-researched, in-depth and informative posts and share them on social media. If you’re using WordPress, you can use the feature, Publicize through the JetPack plugin. This plugin allows you to automatically publish your post on a variety of social media sites. This saves a lot of time. There’s one caveat, you don’t want to automate the publishing of your blog post on Facebook. You’ll get more visibility if you copy your post link and go over to Facebook and share the link on your page.This is content marketing 101 and one of the best ways to establish trust and authority. If you can’t write, you could hire someone who can to do it for you. However, writing is not the only option. You can easily create content with video, especially now with so many ways to capture video, whether it’s your phone or a tool like Facebook Live, and soon, YouTube Live which is in beta testing at the moment. You can also deliver your content as an audio, like a podcast.
2. Build Followers
A community needs members. On social media we attract followers by sharing our passions. You know the phrase, “like attracts like” right? Give them content they want and you’ll have their support. You can start by asking questions or doing a little research. My main market are small business owners who use speaking as a way to build their influence and share their passionate message.You can use social media to gauge what they like and what they don’t like. Do they give your content a thumbs up? Do they comment on your posts or share your posts with others? These are the basics you can start with, give them content and watch how they react to it. In no time at all you’ll be able to see where their passions are too.
3. Be Personal
People like to know that there’s a real human being behind a social media account which can help to build trust and therefore credibility. Every now and then posting a personal image will help to build that connection with your fans. More so, become their “friend.” I always respond to comments on my posts. I also thank them for sharing my posts. Engagement is our goal. Welcome them into your social media circle the way you would welcome them into your home.
4. But Not too Personal
Remember they are guests in your “house” when they are on your social media profile. If you are about to share something on your page, is it something you wouldn’t mind Mom seeing? Just as we are professional in our place of business, our business presence on social media should be that same level of professionalism. Inspire them, share with them, encourage them, don’t ever argue with them. You wouldn’t argue with a fellow business professional at a networking event, would you?
Your social media pages should have strong branding that utilizes high definition images and well written information. Make sure that your branding is consistent across all your social media sites. When sharing images on social media, place your url at the bottom of your images so you can be easily found. Learn how to “re-direct” a url to a special page on your website when you’re marketing an event or product. Give me a call if you need help!
Along with being consistent with our messaging, we want to make sure our presentation is spot on too. That’s where spelling comes into play. Think of a time when you read a post that wasn’t grammatically correct and/or had spelling mistakes. Or, how may times have you heard another business buddy complain about an inconsistency or spelling error?? Thank goodness most of our content tools have spellcheck. What we (I) really need to do is make sure to read the entire post and make sure a “to” wasn’t inserted instead of a “too” or a “be” instead of “being”?
7. Post Regularly
If you go days, weeks or months on end without posting then your social media will look like a ghost town which suggests it’s not a professional account. A lot of our social media tools will allow us the opportunity to schedule posts. I usually post twice a day on my social media sites. I monitor the sites via my smartphone. It’s easy to check on my phone while waiting for an event to begin, or in the car just before going into an event. I could be waiting somewhere, for someone, and easily check for engagement. I want to make sure I can respond within a reasonable amount of time. Remember to share content from your business associates on your sites, if it’s something your community can benefit from knowing. This builds relationships.
Use social media to meet others in your industry or a related industry. I’ve heard LinkedIn called one big “rolodex.” It’s true. We are connecting online through all kinds of communities. It could be groups on Facebook or LinkedIn, on lists at Twitter, boards at Pinterest, and so many other ways. Find other business professionals that have the same market you have and share their content. This is the beginning of “influencer marketing”, but that’s another post.
Communities on social media give you a chance to answer questions and demonstrate that you know your stuff. You should consider this almost as an opportunity to share your expertise. Giving knowledge away is a great way to build influence and a community. Think about your industry. Who in your industry is known by all, and willingly shares information to help others? You’re drawn to them for a reason, so why not follow their example. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge and participate.
10. Deliver Quality
Most importantly: make sure that all your posts are interesting/entertaining and that you are consistently delivering quality and value. This is why your community will continue to seek out your content, whether they subscribe to your blog, follow you on social media or subscribe to your YouTube channel. Give them what they want and make sure it’s the highest quality content you can deliver, no matter how you deliver it!