How to Build a Community on Social Media (and Grow Your Business)

After going the process with my clients of designing their branding and developing their website, the natural next step is to help them grow their online presence. Of course, social media marketing offers a lot of potential for this when it comes to organic reach. But growing a social following is no easy task, but I often tell people that the key to success is building a community on social media around your brand.

These are the very strategies I use to help my clients do just that!

Now, first of all, every social platform is different – not to mention the fact that trends and algorithms are always changing – but the key principles remain the same. So whether you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever new platform they come out with, these are strategies you can start applying now in your business.

Building Your Tribe

At its core, marketing is simply about getting someone to know, like, and trust you. That’s why, when marketing your business on social media, you need to focus on “building your tribe.” Imagine being surrounded a whole community of people who know, like, and trust you so much, that they are ready to buy from you or refer business to you any opportunity they get.

People long for community, and they long to feel a part of something. If you can find a way to gather a community around what you’re doing, you will have a huge influence over them.

(Have a podcast? Also check out: How to Build a Community Around Your Podcast)

So now, let’s talk about how you should go about building a community on social media:

Key Strategies to Build a Community on Social Media

1. Add Value to Your Target Audience

What you don’t want to do on social media is talk about you, your product, and your company all the time. People are turned off by this. And frankly, people don’t care because they are not on social media to be sold. 
Build community starts by adding value. Specifically, you should create valuable content for your target customer. Think about what type of content would get their attention. What can you create that will either inform them or entertain them?

This approach is about being a giver, not taker. And it is the concept of sowing and reaping: when you take the time to give out free value, it tends to come back to you. 

Creating content like this will also help to establish you as an authority on a certain subject matter. It will help to build trust with your prospects, and slowly you’ll build a community around your content.

2. Be Consistent

As you’re creating valuable content for your audience, consistency is key. You’ll never build that community on social media without this component.
First of all, don’t expect quick and easy results from social media marketing. Building a following takes time, but if you remain consistent it is well worth it.

So many business owners start off strong, posting their content several times a week or even several times a day. But this pace can be hard to keep up, and after a while, you won’t see a new post from them until a month later.

On social media, though frequency is important, consistency is actually more important than frequency. To do this, you need to create a realistic post schedule for yourself, even if it’s just once a week. It’s much better to start with a pace that you can manage over a long period of time, and then work up from there.

You want to create an experience that you followers come to expect. As an example, say you start posting a weekly meme every Tuesday. Over time, people will begin to expect to see that meme, and even log on just to see your content. This is when you know you’re starting to build community.

3. Engage

Remember, it’s called social media for a reason. So be social. 

Engage with other people’s posts in your network. Give likes, and more importantly, write meaningful comments. Try to steer away from leaving generic comments like, “Love this,” or “Thanks for sharing.” Take a little extra time to write a well-thought-out message. 

As you are planning your content, try and find ways to encourage your audience to engage. That could be through a question, poll, a “caption this” image, etc. Remember, people love to give their opinion and talk about themselves – use this to your advantage!

And when someone takes the time to engage with your content, be sure and always write a reply. It’s a huge wasted opportunity when I see people interacting with a person’s post, and they don’t even bother to respond. Be sure to talk back with your audience and continue the conversation. 
Part of building a community on social media is making that personal connection with people, so don’t forget this part!

4. Focus on 1 or 2 Platforms

Most business owners know they need to be on social media, so they go on a sign-up rampage – getting a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Alignable, YouTube, LinkedIn… The problem is you can’t realistically manage all of these platforms well. And the thing is, you don’t have to.

I actually believe you should only focus on one or two platforms, at the most. Instead of just assuming you need to have your brand plastered everywhere, what if, instead, you thought about which platforms would be essential for your business?

This does require a little bit of understanding of each platform. But ultimately you need to figure out which platform your target customer is hanging out on? It’s even possible, if you cater to 2 different niches, that one platform may help you reach one niche, and another platform will help you reach the other.

The point is not to spread yourself too thin. You want to be able to focus on those one or two platforms so that you can do them well. Otherwise, you risk doing a mediocre job on several and never actually build that community on a single social platform because your time is so divided.

5. Create Native Content

“Native content” refers to content that is created specifically for the platform you are using. Each social network is different, and certain content that works well on one platform may not work well on another. 

For example: funny, lighthearted posts on Instagram may not always fit the more professional context of LinkedIn. Or, while Facebook allows you to write long paragraph posts, Twitter is only going to allow 280 characters.

Creating native content doesn’t mean you can’t repurpose content across multiple platforms, but it does mean you need to reformat it to fit the context of each platform. Just reposting the exact same post on two social networks is not a best practice. (This is another reason why you should focus on just one or two social networks.)

6. Focus on Your Personal Brand (a.k.a. Be a Human)

For many business owners, especially if you are the sole proprietor of your business, you are your brand. This means that part of getting people to fall in love with your product/service, is first by allowing them to fall in love with you as a person.

This doesn’t only apply to small businesses. Think of the company Apple, for example. When you picture this company, what often comes to mind is not an iPad, an Apple Watch, or MacBook. No, you picture the man in the black turtleneck: the late Steve Jobs. Apple is a perfect example of building a brand around a personality. The connection they have been able to make with their customers over the years through this approach has been super effective.

Failing to take this approach is the mistake I see many business owners making on social media. I’ve even spoken with business owners who tell me they don’t want to be the face of their business – they just want to stay behind the scenes.

But then I have to question, How are your customers ever going to connect with your brand? People don’t connect very well with a faceless company – people connect with other people.

The reason why this is so important on social media, again is found right in the name: social. You can’t forget that your customers are on social media to be social. They are there to connect with their friend, family, and colleagues. And they are there to make new connections.

In order to really build a community around your brand on social, you need to center it around a personality. 

For many, this will mean focusing on your personal brand – although there certainly are other creative ways to “humanize” your company (e.g. Wendy’s snarky Tweet strategy). At the very least, it means being real and authentic. It means showing your humanity so that people can relate to you. 

Conclusion

I hope you see that social media marketing is not as hard as you think. The key is to build a community on social media around your brand. It does take time, but if you can be intentional to add value, engage, and connect on a personal level, you will see growth!

Leave a comment to let us know which of these points were the most helpful for you. And if you need help with your digital marketing and building a community on social media, I’d love to schedule a free discovery call to see I can help!

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Headshot - Luke Seavers with One Nine Pro

Hey there, I'm Luke!

I love working with business owners and entrepreneurs to help them reflect success in their brand and grow their business. As someone who is passionate about my craft, it is my joy to empower you to pursue yours!

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