Want to be let in on a [not so well-kept] secret? The power of community can never be understated! Being part of a strong community — or creating one, of course — gives you a sense of belonging, comfort and acceptance. And, being told + shown that you’re valued as a member of that community, fills us all with that warm, fuzzy feeling we just can’t get enough of.
Warm fuzzies? Who doesn’t love those?!
Yet, when it comes to creating and maintaining your own business’s community online, it’s no secret that many find the task of responding to every.single.comment and DM a time-consuming and repetitive task. The truth? It doesn’t have to be.
Once you start engaging with your community and learning more about them, responding to their comments and messages can become fun [yes, fun!] and exciting … and it gives you and your brand new opportunities for growth and exposure that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Here’s what I’ve learnt from growing and managing communities for some of our fabulous clients [hint: you might want to take note of these pointers for yourself … we promise you won’t regret it]:
Respond to every comment and message in a humanised and personalised way.
This enables your customers to feel seen and heard. By doing this, you’ll encourage them to continue reaching out to you through comments on your posts and by sending DMs whenever they have a question … or just feel like a chat. Building relationships like these with your customers, is crucial for gaining repeat purchases and improving brand loyalty [and we all know how much the Instagram and Facebook algorithms love followers and brands who engage with each other].
Reward your community when they share your content.
Comment on their posts and repost their stories yourself – this encourages your followers to continue interacting and promoting your brand to their feed and followers. Sure, big influencers are known to be influential, but what many people often forget, is that some of the most influential people on the ‘gram are your friends and family members. When someone we know recommends or tags a business in a post, chances are we’ll check them out ourselves [according to the Digital Marketing Institute, 74% of social media users trust the opinions of others online when it comes to making purchase decisions, including those from friends and family]. Sometimes, the most influential social media users are our friends with a meagre following of 200-300 people. Don’t forget, every person on your feed is an influencer.
Share branded memes and brand inspiration posts.
They’re a great way of showing your followers you know and understand them and that your values align with theirs. This is another great way to encourage their loyalty to your brand.
Spend a little extra time engaging with other brands and users online … every.single.day.
Engaging in outreach as a brand, is a wonderful way of humanising your brand, while becoming part of other communities online [and subtly encouraging other brands + businesses to engage with you, and become part of your online community]. Customers love seeing brands working with and supporting others online, so they’ll be keen to support you, too!
Prioritising your online community and showing them you appreciate them and care about their comments, messages and user-generated-content, is so incredibly important when building brand loyalty online and increasing your online brand awareness. And? It’s *so* easy to do just that.
We’d love for you to give it a try and let us know how you go in the comments below!