Entertaining an audience requires you to actively seek their validation through engagement efforts. Whereas a community is built on two-way relationships. This is the major difference between engaging audiences on social media and building relationships in an online community.
That is why organizations are now shifting their focus to building online communities. Communities may not have monetary or clear value, but these open the gate to limitless possibilities. And, if you have a decent social media presence, you can leverage these as a head start to build a thriving community.
Here are the four sure-fire approaches that can enable you to turn your audience into a loyal army of community members.
1. Create a Dedicated Space for Your Audience to Interact Freely
An online community is what empowers you to set apart your members from an audience. You constantly need to outreach and advertise to retain audience interest. Whereas a loyal community member base keeps engaging in your community even without your active efforts. But to make that happen, you need to build a community first.
When we speak about creating a community, we’re not talking about the platform or feature. A community is more about the environment and peer support. So, the first goal is to constitute safety in your community that extends support to its members. And, a safe community allows members to interact, express, and learn.
2. Offer Exclusivity Through Community
Many giant brands do pre-sales or early-bird pricing for their repeat, loyal customers. The reason? It establishes scarcity. And tapping into scarcity increases anticipation, leading to higher social engagement. Leveraging community-exclusive content or initiative is an excellent way of compelling your social audience to join your community.
To put this in action, you can:
- Create community-specific merch like t-shirts, mugs, pens, etc. Instead of just slapping the logo of your brand on goods, try to get creative. Use common phrases or inside jokes from your community.
- Encourage user-generated content to promote your community merch. Ask your members to share pictures of your merch with hashtags on social media to create buzz around it.
- Host exclusive events for your community members with people or influencers sought after by your community members.
3. Focus on Individual Personalization
In social media, a target audience is often recognized as mass customer demographics. Age group, gender, location, etc., are common customer demographic. But, individual recognition is what sets a community member apart from a mass audience. And as a community, you need to have one on one interactions with members. It includes recognizing their requirements, addressing their feedback, rewarding their contributions, and more.
4. Dominate Industry With Leadership
Content that adds value to readers naturally attracts people into building a community. That is how giants like HubSpot became a go-to source for authoritative content. Start by sharing your brand’s original research and expertise in your domain. Ensure your content is compelling enough for them to further share. Then move on to hosting conferences, summits, webinars, etc., after building up a sizable standing. Keep your eyes open for the latest trends and facilitate useful training programs for your community members. Make your community a hub for knowledge enhancement and upskilling. This is how you become a go-to source of knowledgeable content.
Having a social audience is a great way to create a buzz and start a community. However, you need to create and add value to your members to build a thriving community. Leverage exclusivity, knowledgeable resources, and marketing efforts to turn your existing audience into loyal members.
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