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Twitter and Facebook Marketing: Building Engaged Communities

John Patterson.
By: John Patterson  |   May 29, 2013  |   View Comments

One of the biggest challenges facing brands in the social space today is building active communities. Big and small brands alike strive to have interactive advocates on their channels. If we really want to build truly active communities as large brands, community managers, content creators, social media managers, or whatever you call yourself (hopefully it doesn’t include the word Ninja) we have to strive to think beyond our own stereotypes and personal preferences. So, how do we move past simply gaining more fans and followers and give our Facebook marketing and Twitter marketing strategies a boost? How do we build real, valuable communities? It's not a quick fix, but here are a few tips to move you in the right direction:

Follow the "Bon Jovi Rule"

"If you don't understand why 30 million people would buy a Bon Jovi record, you don't understand 30 million people." This quote from Spike Jones represents our first challenge. It's easy to fall victim to your own preferences and likes when you are creating content. How do you avoid this common pitfall? Identify patterns within your community and aim to identify what it is about your brand that drives advocacy and what your fans are passionate about.

Likes/Followers DO NOT = A Community

I have heard the following statement many times, “My brand has XX million Likes on Facebook. We have a strong community.” False, you have a lot of Likes. Force yourself to look at your community differently. Are reach, and impressions really good measures of a community? Can “community” be measured? We often forget that the first word in Social Media Marketing is Social. Amassing eyes to broadcast to is so 2003. Engage in real, authentic conversations. Try to answer every question, and humanize your brand by showing that you’re invested in the lives of your users, not just their pocketbooks. The age of cold corporate broadcast messaging is over. Evolve or die.

Embrace the Increasing Homogony of Our Society

We are digitally and geographically shifting towards greater homogony. We interact with people similar to us online, live in neighborhoods filled with people like us, and buy products that people who are like us tend to buy. As a marketer, you should be looking to capitalize on this trend. Your job is to find the common tie that holds your fan base together. This is the foundation of your community. Once identified, you will be able to create content that supports and highlights the underlying commonality of the diverse fan base you’ve built. (HINT: It’s not 25% off of your new Blue Widget)

Getting Them to Show Up Is Only Half the Battle

Spike Jones also said, “Just because they show up in a place, doesn’t mean they like each other.” While originally brought together because of a common interest, you cannot assume that all of your community’s interests are the same. A community requires interaction not only between the brand and the user, but between the users themselves. Your goal is to build a digital neighborhood. With an eye on maintaining the common thread that brought them there in the first place, you need to give your neighbors the features and content that expand their knowledge and peak their interest. Just because they all had the same entry point, that doesn’t mean that they all wish to travel on the same path.

It's Not About Your Product

And it never will be. Focus on the stories of what your product does for your owners/consumers. The content that people care about revolves much more closely around the utility of your brand than the features. "Now with 3 speeds" is meaningless if it can't blend my morning protein shake.

Will using these tips wave a magic wand and magically cause your community to become more connected? No, but if you move forward with these tips in mind and put in the hard work that comes along with them, the users that Like and follow you will be more engaged and ready to be a part of the awesome community that your bottom line so desperately deserves.

What have you found most effective in building your community? Where have you stumbled?


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Comments
  • Anna Pham

    Totaly agree with your points, especially on the thought the like and followers do not neccessarily mean the number of people that actually pay interest to the site.