Remember when social media was for connecting people, not getting sold to by advertisers? Ad targeting has corrupted the original intent of the mega social platforms, but a modern brand need not engage in traditional advertising to leverage the value of these channels. Your brand can take full advantage of social platforms in a way that builds trust and engagement with down-to-earth online community building.

Community is about a feeling of belonging.

People don’t want to be treated like walking cash registers waiting to hand over their paychecks to the first ad that grabs their attention. Not surprisingly, they want to be treated like people. Especially in digital social spaces like Facebook and Linkedin, the promise of these platforms is that a user can find like-minds to validate their world views. They’re not there to soak up as many ads as possible. A savvy brand gets this distinction and will leverage the power of online community to share content and messaging that informs and validates their audience.

Build your own online community on Facebook and/or LinkedIn.

Facebook Groups: Unlike Facebook business pages or profiles, Facebook groups is more like a members forum where your audience can connect, message, and share common interests.

Linkedin Groups: A business without a Linkedin presence is like a fish out of water. An active LinkedIn Group can be setup or joined, and works like a forum just like Facebook Groups.

Checklist to launch an online community.

  1. Define the purpose of the group.
  2. Give it a name.
  3. Add a member.
  4. Select privacy settings.
  5. Add a description.
  6. Add a cover image and logo.
  7. Choose relevant tags.
  8. Write a welcome post.
  9. Share the group with your network.
  10. Curate and release new content.

Leverage an existing online community to build brand awareness for your business.

  1. Seek established channels that already speak to and validate the views of your audience.
  2. Consistently engage on these channels to build awareness.
  3. Share, post, like and react to the interests of the community.
  4. Create unique and aspirational content for these channels that are free from self promotion.
  5. Sound human and express empathy.

Tips to invite your community to engage with your business once your brand is rooted into the conversation.

  1. Respond to all messages, good, bad and ugly with humility and appreciation.
  2. Share your brand story as it relates to the community’s interests.
  3. Ask for feedback to assess the positioning of your business.
  4. Empower your community to share your content by aligning it to their interests.
  5. Reward them for sharing your content.

Wrapping up.

Grow your brand within an online community that is relevant to your audience. Produce and share relevant content that positively reflects the values of your business and those of the community. Participate in the conversation like a human and your community will evangelize your brand and promote your business for you.

Take action

Let’s chat about your business and branding objectives. Book a  consultation with me.

This post is part of “Your Best 2019” guidebook presented by qwerkal.