Whether you are a nonprofit or a large company, everyone wants a big social community. If people are talking about what you do, your message expands. New customers find you and your content becomes more popular. Your profits go up, or you have a bigger fanbase.
This is especially true today with social media. If people are hitting that share button, it’s even better than advertising! Here are 11 different tips that will tell you how to create a community and get people talking about you.
Interact with your online community
Put Fans in the Spotlight:
There’s no better way to build a social media community than by highlighting awesome things your fans are doing. Whether it’s them posing with pictures of your product, or talking about you on twitter, put them in the spotlight! Retweet their Tweets and like their Instagram posts. The more your community sees you care, the more they will participate. On top of that: more people will interact because they want you to show their post to everyone.
Encourage People to Write Content for You
Retweeting and liking people’s posts is important but easy. It’s not a lot of work and just takes a few seconds. If you want your community to see you go out of your way for them, write about them! Your fans contributing is just as important to building a community as your own content or product.
Let’s say you have a blog giving advice on how to fish. On Instagram you see that your hashtag gets used because one of your readers caught a 50 pound tuna. Let everyone know by writing a post about him. Say he used all your techniques the right way and is a perfect example of how to fish.
Even better: invite him on, interview him, or let him write a post. Your fans will be amazed to see you’re ready to give one of them such a big opportunity. It’ll only take a few hours, and you’ll make some lifetime fans.
Go Out of Your Way to Answer Every Comment and Message
Easier said than done! It’ll be much easier at the beginning than when you establish yourself. It’s one of the things bigger bloggers lament they can’t do anymore. But just a quick one sentence answer can mean the world to one of your readers. Writing back just takes a few minutes. You will show your fans that you really care about every single one of them. It also turns you into someone who is much more accessible.
They won’t think of you as a distant writer anymore. You’re someone they can contact with the click of a button, and you’re right there for them! All of these interactions add up to a much more engaged community.
Listen to Your Community
Find exactly what your fans are looking for. There are two big ways to do this:
- Listen to what they are saying. Let’s you’ve written about a topic you aren’t crazy about. It’s something you went into on the side, you don’t know too much about, or don’t really like. But if your fans say they love it and want to see more posts like that — give them more! Even if you have to do research to create more content like that, it will be worth it.
Remember: to be able to react to consumer demands you have to be reading what they are saying. Look through blog comments and your mentions on every social media.
- See what they are doing. There’s a big difference between what people say and what they do. Even if your fans aren’t saying they like a specific topic, their behaviors might say otherwise. Stay on top of your site’s data. Look at all of your content’s or product’s view, comments, and shares. If you see a certain type of your content, or a specific product is doing much better than all the other, focus on that! Shift your tasks so that you are giving your community exactly what they want.
Know How to Grow Your Brand
5. Give Back to Your Customers
Create value for them. If you are an expert on your topic giving them free information can change their lives. Many blogs that make incredible amounts of money are based exclusively on this idea. Bloggers created free content for 1-3 years, and only then launched a paid product. The free content was so amazing that thousands of customers immediately bought the product — no questions asked. This resulted in a passive income stream of over $100,000 every single year. If you help them out, your fans will want to repay the favor. They’ll give back to you.
Real value is usually creating by solving your community’s problems. Interact with them so you can see what they are struggling with. If they have questions, don’t know how to do something, or are down, you can help them up. If it’s thanks to you that they move forward they’ll be more than excited to help you out too.
Be a Person, Not a Soulless Corporation
If you really care about your content, you won’t be afraid to put your face out there. This is necessary if you want to take your blog and community to the next level. It isn’t just about pride — it makes you seem much friendlier and accessible. Again: it stops you from being a distant cold writer. Post a picture of yourself on your about page. Talk about yourself and what your story is. If you’ve ever struggled and came out on top, let your readers know. All of this makes readers relate to you. They will think that if you ever met you’d be great friends.
Let your personality shine through in your writing. Make references to your past and come off as authentic. Lose the long sentences, fancy words, and formal language. Talk to them like you talk to people in real life. This sets your brand apart in their minds and behaviors. You’re not the name of your site – you’re you. People treat friends different than they do coworkers and bosses, you want to be the former.
Have Regular Posts
- Publish your own content or have events regularly. Turn a regular weekday into something special everyone in your community can enjoy. Think of putting a regular theme on a specific day of the week. This gets your site associated with a regular time. It helps you be on their minds and makes them more interactive.
- Publish community content regularly. Instead of it just being your content once a week, have a day or two dedicated to your community. Have a weekly post around the lines of “9 Awesome things X community members did this week.” This brings your fans back into the spotlight and shows you’re ready to interact with your followers.
Go Out of Your Way to Create Viral Ready Posts
This is a whole art in and of itself, but can really pay off. Go to sites like buzzfeed.com and dailymail.co.uk and carefully study every title. Whenever you create a post, make sure the name is something people would click on if it was shared on Facebook or Twitter. It has to create curiosity, offer the reader something, or give out free information. Get good enough at this and you’ll eventually hit your first viral post that gets seen everywhere.
Network All The Time
Don’t know how to build a social network? Remember no matter what you do you’re already in one. No matter if you are a blogger, or in an established industry, you have peers who can help you out. One of the most appropriate tools for creating a good social network is Ning – on this platform you have the opportunity to use a customized community management toolset with deep social integration.
- Create podcasts or interviews with people in similar markets. This strategy is the most popular with bloggers. If you create a podcast with a blogger who is similar to you, both of you get a huge boost. Your fan base becomes aware of him, and his fans now know about you. If both of you target a similar demographic, new fans are almost guaranteed. The same thing applies to interviews, or blog posts. Just make sure you really have value to add. If someone’s first exposure to you is you giving them awesome free content, they will want to know who you are. Thousands of fans might just be one collaboration away.
- Attend events in real life as well. You may find people in your town or city who also have a passion for your blog’s topic, or are in your industry. For example, there are several huge Affiliate Marketing conferences in Europe and the US every year. Going to these introduces you to similar people who you can help and will then help you back. Talking to them will get you different opinions on the same topic. Other people’s insight can get you ahead and give you new ways you can approach your problems.
Spread Your Message
Creating content, and it getting spread aren’t the same thing. As you write, or create a product, know that its main purpose is to be read and help people. No matter how amazing it is, it won’t do anything if no one sees it!
Search Engine Optimization
If you’re wondering how to make a community, SEO can do it for you while you sleep. Your number of fans will go up naturally as soon as you set it up. People who are looking for what you offer will stumble upon it when searching for something. This makes your base grow organically as more of the right people are added to it.
Go out of your way to make sure your current site is completely SEO optimized. Future posts should also be written in a way that makes search engines like them. A detailed guide on SEO can be found here.
A much riskier and more aggressive way to grow your community is by buying traffic. This can cost anywhere from $10 to $10,000 a day and can be extremely effective. Traffic buying is advertising through one of the big search engines. You tell Google or Bing what type of person you want to come to your site. Then your web page pops up in specific search results. If you know the demographic you want in your community, you can buy members by spending enough money.
Only a small percentage of them will stay, but that’s often more than enough. This is worth it if you know exactly who your customers are. If you are afraid to do the whole thing by yourself you can hire people to do it for you. You might have to spend a lot of money, but if done right you’ll get back even more.
Build your online community with Ning!
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