Too often, it’s assumed that social media is a spray and pray, nonstrategic function for an intern or entry-level professional to manage—but what most professionals underestimate is the effort it takes to bring a strong community to life and maintain it. Let’s dive in on how your organization can boost community engagement online.
What is community engagement?
Community engagement is a strategic approach to gathering people in one place who have similar interests, skills, proximities, and more together and enabling them to interact, contribute and engage.
Why is engaging with your online community important?
As the need arises for dedicated community managers, it’s clear that businesses realize how valuable an engaged audience is for their brands’ successes.
One of the most critical aspects of creating an engaged online community is helping consumers connect the dots to an organization’s products, services, mission, etc., and build an emotional connection. Consumers are looking for brands they can stand behind and support in today’s ever-changing world, and in return, the consumers act as brand advocates. Not only does this help increase brand awareness, but it helps grow referrals to new or prospective consumers, therefore, building brand loyalty.
Overall, the brand-to-consumer relationship has evolved, changing the way brands think of community management, increasing the demand for community managers for an authentic approach to engaging with their audiences.
Here are three tips for community managers to grow an emotional connection with the consumers in their online communities.
1. Authenticity matters
In the end, businesses need to remember that their online audiences are real people behind their profiles. But why does that matter? People want to connect with other people, and the best way to do that online is to show genuine IRL moments that those behind the brand are creating.
By lifting the “corporate curtain,” consumers can get a feel for the culture, see which causes the organization supports, and build trust between their beliefs and the brand itself.
This enables online communities to develop brand loyalty and engage with those within the community’s platform.
2. Be responsive
Something many organizations forget is to build a strong community that engages with the brand. The brand must return the favor. But what does that do? Responding to users commenting, sharing, and joining the community as a new member helps them feel heard, which is exactly what they want.
A few ways community managers can make members feel special are:
- Be personal and call users by their name where possible
- Thank the community members for their support
- Sharing a consumer’s post as user-generated content within the brand’s content calendar
- Ask the community for their opinion with questions or polls
- Welcome new members to the community
- Create contests for the community to engage
Pro Tip: When community managers respond, it’s important to ensure the brand messaging feels human and speaks to the audience directly.
3. Create engaging content
When creating content for a brand’s community to engage with, it’s important to think through the objective or what actions the community will be encouraged to do. Some examples include:
- Drive traffic to a specific landing page or webpage
- Encourage comments/likes/shares
- Tag a friend in the post
- Fill out a form
The most important element to remember is quality over quantity and to create content that the community finds valuable to build a deeper connection within the brand-consumer relationship.
Are you ready to boost your community engagement?
Now that we’ve broken down what community engagement is and its importance, it’s time for community managers to take the driver’s seat. Remember building a strong community online is one thing but maintaining the engagement with the members is just as essential to grow and increase a larger, loyal community for the brand.
Looking for help with your community engagement? Contact us!