How do you build your online community?
When you’re growing and gaining more engagement this is an important point to remember. You don’t want to leave your audience wondering if you really care that they're engaging or if all you care about is seeing the likes coming through.
The biggest difference between building a following and building a community is what the focus is on. The numbers (following) or the people (community). But which do you think gets better results?
If you’re not sure how to engage outside of posting content and liking comments, there’s a few ways we can suggest! Also remember, posting content to create conversations is not a one way street.
Let’s talk first about comments to engage with.
People used to engage with companies only when they needed help or services, and this was mainly over the phone or email.
As tech progressed, we were able to start using an online chat through most websites. However, now, a lot of the time people skip those methods altogether and go straight to social media. But social media doesn’t just have one way either. People can reach out on almost any platform a company has, through private messages or a public comment.
Obviously, these interactions can vary on levels of necessity (i.e. Need to respond to a negative experience all the way to engaging with a very happy follower). Don’t JUST engage with one type either. Only engaging with good comments and messages looks like you don’t care about the problems. Only engaging with the negative comments and issues can make it look like you only care about those or that you have too many problems. However, this also doesn’t mean you should be engaging with everything.
There is a balance.
Don’t forget that you also fully have the right to not engage with people who are being disrespectful, vulgar, or just looking to argue. For those types of messages and comments, it’s best not to engage; remove the comment, or respond to the message with a “right to not engage” type of message.
The “right to not engage” message is very important. This message lets whoever it is know that you are happy to help or answer questions, etc. but you are still a human who is not personally (typically) responsible for the problem they have.
Here’s an example you can use:
“We have a zero tolerance policy for disrespectful behavior and the language you’re using to engage with us and/or our community. We are happy to help as long as you are respectful, however, if this behavior continues, communication will stop, you will be removed as a customer if you are one, and your account will be banned.”
That’s all you need to say. It calls out the person but stays respectful. It also puts it in a way where you show that you are protecting yourself and your community. We fully believe that you should never have to deal with aggressive behavior, and in our experience, their attitude will quickly change after receiving this message.
Next up, let’s talk about content and beginning the conversation.
Many posts are simply meant to gain likes and shares, and they are meant to educate, entertain, or sell. So what content is meant to engage? Here’s a few ideas!
Trivia posts: this can be in your stories or asking people to comment their answers on a post.
Holiday questions: simply ask a question that relates to a holiday or to the season of holidays.
Run a poll: This could be anything that relates back to your brand.
Now these are only a few examples, but these can help get you started!
Anything else? Maybe curious about groups?
Creating an additional community group for your company/brand can be amazing and help your customers feel even more connected to you and your community.
Groups can even give people that VIP feeling or help people learn from shared experiences. Just remember, groups are very different from pages and you should never try to use a page for the purpose of a group or vice versa.
If you are curious, we’ll make sure to go into the differences more in an upcoming article! Leave a comment or like this article to let us know.