Following to our article on ‘The benefits of building and growing an online community on social media’, I had a few people ask me some really interesting questions.
- How would we know if the audience visiting our website is engaged with our content or just passive readers?
- How can we leverage on the interactive community on social media to visit our website?
- How do we keep these interactive community engaged and continue to interact and exchange with us?
Firstly, let us distinguish between having an audience, and an online community.
The key difference between these two entities is “Interaction”
Audience and web visitors are passive readers that do not actively participate in conversations.
They may visit your social media page or website every now and then and yet had not a reason to engage with you.
A community is an interactive group of like-minded individuals that may choose to be a passive audience, and more likely be enticed to actively participate in community discussions if pushed with the right tactics. Lots of community groups have grown organically and are people who share a common interest in specific topics dear to their hearts. They could share the same occupation, goals, political, commercial and non-commercial interests. Just look online for growing number of groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and I’m sure you will find a few that you are personally interested and subscribed to if you haven’t already.
Is your audience engaged with your content or just passive readers?
When reviewing your website analytic, we can view the pathways of where traffic have viewed your sites and the hot spots of clicks and views on a page.
Here’s a good example by Dan Barker. You can read the full report here
1) Create quality content.
Let’s create content that is relevant, inspirational, motivational, educational or entertaining. Create content that is not about what you are and what you do, but something coherent to the community. Create unique content that is exclusive to your community.
Content may be in the form of a video, infographic, images and short but robust text filled precise information. Sweet, short and savvy is the in thing. Long articles can be boring and may tend to drive away potential engagement in a blink of an eye.
2) Design a shareable content.
You know your content is good when someone shares it. Facilitate easy sharing by designing your content in the simplest form and shareable via social buttons. Give your content a catchy heading with relative imagery. There is no rule written in stone here. You just need to be creative and explore. Add the right plugins to enable “click-sharing”.
3) Be consistent.
Next big thing to keep in mind is consistency in content presentation. This means giving a heads-up on upcoming events, topics or promotions and posting content on a regular basis. Stick to your schedule even if you go away for a long vacation.
4) Be active on Social Media.
Whether you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or any other social media site, you have to actively participate too if you aim to build your own community. Share others’ content, comment, answer questions and connect with people in your niche and listen.
- Keep a two-way traffic going to build a strong community.
- Engage and show you care. Remember that you are dealing with live people.
- Be prompt in replying to comments. A simple click of emoticon would suffice.
There may come a point in time when everything will be difficult to manage. After all, you can’t be expected to sit on your computer for 24 hours. When this happens, you can always outsource the job of monitoring your social sites to professional social media marketing team from Revive Me Marketing.
Promote and create valuable content for your community by making new connections and promoting other community members and do let them know. Find sites that allow guest posts and contribute a reference or practical tips article. Be specific and do an authoritative piece. The message should be “be a reliable resource, not a brand pusher.” Media loves experts who love to share their trials, failure and successes.