How to Grow Your Social Community

Tips and tricks for growing your business, by harnessing the powers of the social media world.

In this article you’ll learn about:

The 6 most effective ways for achieving your brand’s social media marketing goals:

  1. Post lead generating content
  2. Incentivize social users with special offers and promotions
  3. Post retention-oriented and engaging content
  4. Follow social media trends
  5. Provide stellar, personalized customer support
  6. Ask for shares

If you’ve recently opened a new business, or are looking to enter the world of social media marketing, this article is for you! Social media marketing is a powerhouse endeavor that taps into the modern-day public’s affinity for all things digital – one you’ll need to learn about and adopt if you want your business to succeed.

In a nutshell, social media has changed the way we live our lives, consume our content and engage in brand-customer relationships. It’s everywhere – on our computers, tablets and phones, accessible via WiFi and data plans at home, school, the shopping center and park – and it’s here to stay.

Through social media, the traditional boundaries brands were once forced to remain within have been torn down. Now, you can market your products and services to people around the world, around the clock, and around the interests, social media analytics tools indicate target audience members possess. You can provide your potential new and existing customers with news & updates, promotional content, engagement opportunities and more, right from the social channel they’re already using. This helps to increase the odds that they’ll remain interested, click-through to your brand’s website, and convert.

In 2019:

  • 3.2 billion people use social media – that’s roughly 42% of the world’s population!
  • 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Gen Xers and 48.2% of Baby Boomers regularly use social media.
  • The average person spends approximately 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media and messaging apps each day, and that number will continue to rise significantly among various segments of the global population.
  • 54% of social media users take advantage of the social networks they’re on to research products and make purchases.
  • 49% of social media users turn to influencers for brand recommendations and reviews.
  • 71% of users who’ve had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend them to friends and relatives.

It’s no wonder that 73% of marketers believe that their social media marketing efforts have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” at achieving their brand’s goals, from promotion and sales to social proof and customer support.

But before we take a deep dive into how you can harness the power of social media and video content to benefit your business…

Do you know the difference between organic and paid content on social media?

Organic content is any communication – text, images, or videos, that you do not need to pay to post. You are essentially posting to your business page, or to a social page you belong to, without investing any money into “boosting” your post – having the social media gods enhance your post’s exposure and reach. No “Sponsored” tag appears beneath the posts, and they are, for all intents and purposes, not considered ads. Note that organic posts only reach your social friends or social users who follow your business page, thanks to Facebook’s (and other social channels’) algorithms. This means that, while you don’t have to pay for exposure, your posts aren’t actually reaching all members of your target audience, but rather only to some.

Paid content is as it sounds. Posts that resemble organic content in that they can take the form of text, images, or videos, but differ from the above in that their success is influenced by the ad budget you allocate towards paid social campaigns. These posts do have the “Sponsored” tag affixed to them, and they are considered ads. When your viewers click on them and are transported to your brand’s website, you are charged; generally, by click or by impression. You can define a specific target audience for every ad, ensuring that exactly who you want to see your ad, does (not your business page followers), especially new potential customers.

Ideally, to grow your social community, you’d utilize both organic and social content, balancing your desire for greater exposure and conversions with the constraints of your brand’s marketing budget and human resources.

How to get started growing your social community

Step 1 – Define your brand voice

When it comes to amazing social media marketing and growing your social community, it’s not about what you say- it’s about how you say it. To ensure your target social audience understands exactly who you are, what you’re offering and what you want them to do, you need to choose the language and tone that best reflects your brand’s mission, vision, and image. This is true of any brand, whether you’ve been around for two minutes, or two decades.

When cultivated correctly, your brand voice will humanize your business and inject personality into your social media communications. Doing so will also enable you to enjoy a more lasting impression that leads to customer conversion, retention, loyalty and even brand advocacy.

Step 2 – Create an engaging profile

Your social profile is the first thing people will see when interacting with your brand on social media. As such, before you get active on social media, you will need to open a business account and build the profile your brand will use to interact with target audience members. To create maximum transparency and ensure your potential new and existing customers know exactly what your brand is about, you’ll need to fill in all the relevant categories in the “Profile Settings” section, according to the brand image and the brand voice you selected.

Tell your brand’s story in the About or Bio section, integrating keywords that link to your offering, and are sure to make SERP crawlers happy (i.e. help you get to the top of search engines’ results pages and be seen). Doing so is also great for boosting your brand’s credibility in users’ eyes.

Note: Use the same name, profile, pic, imagery, and look for all your social accounts, to keep your brand image uniform and professional looking.

Step 3 – Research your target audience

To grow your social community, you must first learn which populations and population segments make up your target audience, what they’re looking for from your brand, and how you can best position your brand and offering to attract their attention on social media.

To do so, you must do your due diligence: engage in market and social media research. Ask the following questions:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What personas might they fill?
  • How small or large is your audience base?
  • Which social media sites do they regularly use?
  • Which websites (types and specific names) do they turn to for information, products, and services?
  • Who do they follow on social media (influencers and brands)?
  • What does their online behavior typically look like?
  • How can you find and connect with these target audience members?

The answers to these questions will inform decisions you ultimately make on where, when and how you post on social media so that you can successfully reach and engage with target audience members and introduce them to your (growing) social community.

Step 4 – Get active on social media

Social media is all about, well, socializing. As such, to properly position your brand as a thought and industry leader, you’re going to have to become a part of the social discourse. This takes the form of two main activities: listening and communicating.

Listening – The best way to find out what your customers want, how your brand can resolve their needs, and meet their demands is to listen to them on social media. Whether you’re actively asking them to state their needs, or are passively (but really actively) listening to their dialogues on social groups, keeping an open ear will enable you to identify and learn from patterns in their consumer behavior. Letting your audience know you’re listening – in comments, private messages, or within the content you eventually will post, will boost your customers’ experience with your brand, and instill an immediate sense of trust in you as a product or service provider.

Communicating – Join in on the conversations that are already taking place about your brand, or start a conversation yourself – with a question, a comment, a statement, or an exciting context post created by your marketing team (more on that in Step 5). Join forums, publish blogs and seek out other non-branded social interactions to engage with your target audience, in a non-aggressive, non-promotional (or at least, subtly promotional) way. This will further position your brand as a thought and industry leader, one that cares about its customers as much, or more, than its bottom line. Note: these conversations are on your customers’ turf, not your own, so be sure to always be respectful, and provide added value they wouldn’t otherwise get on your site or in your ads.

Step 5 – Create and post authentic (video) content

Now that you’ve learned about who your social community will ideally include, it’s time to start growing it. In 2019, the most compelling form of content your brand can post on social media is video, which will be the focus of the tips and tricks we are about to suggest.

Why video?

In recent years, video has become extremely important on every digital channel, as they provide marketers with the following benefits (and others):

  • Videos can serve as powerful conversation starters
  • Videos can help humanize the brand and start conversations
  • Videos have been proven to promote sales
  • Videos can provide your brand with a ROI
  • Videos can help with search engine optimization
  • Videos are extremely mobile-friendly
  • Videos appeal to all types of consumers
  • Videos are a great way of presenting your customers with added value
  • Videos can lead to a high rate of social shares

Check out our recent blog post to learn more about using videos to market your brand.

There are many ways to grow your social community, but the following six are the most effective at achieving a brand’s social media marketing goals:

 

1. Post lead generating content

When you begin growing your social community, you don’t have a dedicated audience of followers ready to watch your every video post. As such, the ideal first way to reach and achieve followers and grow your social community is via paid content.

Design ads that are dedicated to getting new social media users to know your brand and (hopefully) become paying customers. Unlike standard ads, lead generating content will always be accompanied by a call-to-action that, when clicked on, transports users to a subscription form. The user (or lead), is asked to fill in identifying details to be stored in the brand’s CRM (customer relationship management system) for future marketing purposes. In exchange, you can offer your new lead exclusive access to gated content, a chance to enter a contest or win a prize, specials, geo-targeted offers, etc. And yes, these can be more marketing videos.

Here’s a great example: https://www.magisto.com/video/JFosX0Zddll7CTEECjwVAHlb

The DL on lead generation content:

  • How much should you spend? You need to determine how much it costs to acquire each lead and how much each lead’s customer lifetime value (LTV) is worth (both mathematical equations you can easily look up online). Then, ensure that your LTV is worth at least three times as much as your lead acquisition costs (CAC), and that you leave at least 12 months’ wiggle room to recover from your CAC spending. Not sure what these metrics are worth for your brand? There are plenty of free tools available online to help you calculate them.
  • How long should your ads be? Ideally, lead generating video ads should be 15 seconds in length, with the first 5 seconds being particularly eye-catching, to reduce abandonment and increase the odds of click-throughs.

2. Incentivize social users with special offers and promotions

Give social users a reason to join your community. Yes, that means incentivization! Freebies, discounts and other promotions add value to your brand’s social presence, making it exceptionally hard for users to avoid engaging with your brand, entering the sales funnel and converting. Design offers that draw users towards your brand, by piquing their interest and establishing trust such as simple a free trial of your services, a discount code to use when shopping on your website, access to exclusive content, or even a “like” of their own pages.

Top incentivization tips:

  • Promote a sense of urgency – Create time or quantity-limited offers. Set up a countdown clock that indicates how much time or how many items are left before the offer expires.
  • Personalize offers – Use analytic insights on social users’ search and behavior histories to determine which types of incentives would work best for them.
  • Make fulfillment easy – Keep the process as seamless as possible. A click-through, subscription, or (free) membership to your social community, in exchange for the offer. The more steps they have to take, the less likely they are to complete the process, which would be a lose-lose situation.

Here’s a great example: https://www.magisto.com/video/JFosX0Zddll7CTEECjwVAHlb

3. Post retention-oriented and engaging content

The best way to grow and maintain your social community is to keep your current followers engaged and happy. This means interacting with followers on a personal level, presenting them with (mostly) organic content that “demands” participation, comments, likes, and shares. Unlike ads, engagement and retention-oriented content cannot simply be image-based. It has to be as interactive as possible so that your community has a reason to get talking – with one another and with your brand.

What kind of content drives engagement and retention?

Quizzes, surveys, contests, challenges, and, of course, videos, including those posted as stories (Instagram and Facebook).

4. Follow social media trends

There’s always a new trend on the rise. This is true with respect to the fashion industry, hi-tech innovation, medical practices, education, diets and yes, the social media universe. From general social media usage trends, like live streaming, direct buying, social listening and augmented reality, to social engagement trends, like the “Ice Bucket Challenge.” If it’s trending on social media, you should definitely look into adopting it and implementing it in your videos and other content. One caveat: make sure any social media trend you do adopt is aligned with your brand’s image and vision, so as not to confuse potential new and existing community members.

Why is following social media trends so important?

Social media trends excite social network users and, therefore, encourage engagement. When you follow and adopt these trends, you, in essence, demonstrate that your brand is more than a business, it is backed by humans who love and care about their customers and want to engage with them as part of the greater social community.

5. Provide stellar, personalized customer support

Keep customers happy within your social community by responding to their comments and inquiries with personalized messages – and with haste. Avoid generic responses and exhibit a customer-centric approach to service and support, from all social channels your consumers prefer to use. Doing so will not only help you retain existing customers, but will also help you grow your social community. How? Through social proof: existing customers satisfied with the level of personalized customer support they receive via social channels will be more likely to tag your brand in appreciation posts and recommend your products and/or services to their friends, relatives, and social acquaintances.

Tips for providing great support on social media:

  • Take complaints seriously – Never ignore or brush off customer complaints. Instead, reply promptly and state your intentions to resolve any incident or issue fully and with haste.
  • Always remain professional – With social media, it’s easier to get carried away with your words than it would be in a face-to-face or voice communication. That being said, it is in your brand’s best interests to keep your cool and respond like the professional service provider you are. Remember, the customer is always right!
  • Avoid generic wording – Tailor your responses to bring your customers closer to your brand. They can tell if you’ve copy-pasted a generic reply, or if you took time and care to tackle their issue.
  • Avoid automatic replies – Instead of directing customers to contact you via email, respond within social media. Your speedy and satisfactory response will be viewable by all, enhancing your brand’s image and increasing your odds of growing your social community.
  • Produce self-help videos – Help your social followers help themselves by creating video guides they can watch and learn from – and link them to your brand’s resource center (on your website).

6. Ask for shares

Another great way to grow your social community is by asking followers and customers to share images of their purchases, content they enjoyed, and incentives on offers. Provide them with branded hashtags they can embed in their shares and include an offer or incentive in exchange for their share.

Social sharing best practices:

  • Add a social sharing button – To your website pages, blog posts, marketing communications, etc.
  • Call to action with style – Ensure your text asking for shares stands out from the background with bold color contrasts, font and size changes.

Think you’re ready to grow your social community?

In this post we covered some interesting stats on social media usage in 2019, the difference between organic and paid content, and the steps you should take to grow your brand’s social community with success. To sum up the above information:

  • Social media is all the rage in 2019 – in the eyes of consumers and brands.
  • Organic and paid content do differ slightly in their nature and in how they achieve reach and conversions for your brand. As such, a hybrid approach utilizing both content types is recommended, taking into account your brand’s available budget and resources.
  • To optimally grow your social community, first:
    • Define your brand voice
    • Create an engaging profile
    • Research your target audience
    • Get active on social media – listen and communicate
    • And create and post authentic (video) content
  • Ideally, the content you create and the communications you engage in will draw in new leads, engage and retain existing followers and promote a satisfying community membership (and customer journey through to fulfillment).

What should you do next?

Now that you know the ins and outs of growing your brand’s social community, and understand the power that video can play in your social strategy, it’s time to lean on the best tools and techniques digital innovation has produced, to help you create and publish stunning video content for your social channels.

At Chant, we aim to help you do all that and more. Our templates, messaging and creative designs were customized to capture your potential new and existing social followers’ eyes, engage them and help them along the sales funnel, so that they remain key, long-time members of your brand’s social community.

For more information, visit chantvideo.com  

 

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