Three Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Online Community

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Three Quick and Easy Ways to Build Your Online CommunityWe know for the good old- fashioned sales funnel to work, your message needs to have the widest possible reach.

In an online and socially-driven world, that means brands need to pay attention to building their online communities. But, it doesn’t have to be complex or take hours a day.

Here are a few ways to use some common social media tools to get you where you need to be in just minutes.

1. Use Twitter searches.

The Twitter search feature allows you to look for tweets and users talking about a specific topic. Perhaps your company is a car dealership. You can search for the phrase “new car” and peruse the tweets for potential customers. You can narrow the search down to tweets near you, and you can even use the Advanced Search feature to find tweets in a specific zip code or date range.

Once you find your new potential audience, interact! Find those tweets about needing a new car and respond to the user with a link to the latest deals on your website. Encourage them to stop in to your dealership. Follow some of the users.

When a brand interacts with a user on social media, that person feels like he or she is getting special, personal attention. This is essential for creating brand loyalty, and, ultimately, revenue for your organization.

2. Stay on top of trends.

Facebook now displays a list of topics that are trending in its network on every user’s home page.

When you click to expand the topic, you can see more articles on the topic, Facebook posts from individuals named in the stories, what people in your own network are saying about the topic, and a live feed of reactions to the topic from all over the world. Use these trends to create customized social content to draw new users into your online community.

A word of caution: This is only effective if your brand is relevant to the trending topic. If you try to involve your brand in the wrong trend, it could turn into a PR disaster.

For example, if Car Company A is trending because it announced a massive recall, your dealership, which sells vehicles from Car Company B, could post an article about your product’s safety ratings and an offer for an extra 10 percent on a trade-in of a Car Company A car. Your brand and content are totally relevant to the trending topic.

Things start getting a tricky when the trending topics involve politics, tragedy, natural disaster, etc. It is best to avoid linking your content in these sensitive situations. Any content or comments made in bad taste will turn into a PR gaffe.

3. Do an Instagram promotion.

With nearly 300 million monthly active users, brands can’t forget about using Instagram. The visual-only platform is the perfect place to show off products.

Launch a photo contest by creating a hashtag relevant to your brand and encouraging users to send in their own photos that pertain to the topic. Offer a special giveaway for those who engage with your brand through Instagram.

Don’t forget to do your part by interacting with the users and their photos. “Like” some of the photos that are posted and respond to comments as much as possible. Remember that two-way communication is imperative for building an online community. Let the community know you’re listening.

Jennifer MaterkoskiJennifer Materkoski is a graduate of Kent State University with a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Public Relations. She has worked as a writer and editor for both newspaper and television and as a member of a non-profit marketing and development team. Materkoski is the owner and principal consultant of a boutique public relations firm, Songbird Public Relations. She is an avid sports fan, a yogi and also owns and operates an online store selling essential oils and natural products. Materkoski resides in Wheeling, West Virginia with her husband and son. Find her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @MrsMaterkoski. She can be reached via email at jen@songbirdpublicrelations.com.

 

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  • Oldfox

    … I would add : try to create a web forum ! It’s a great tool for building
    an online community, and you can do it very easily with free forum builders
    like Forumotion . Many people think they
    must pay a developer to set up a discussion forum but you don’t really need to. I have been using Forumotion for several
    years now and it’s very useful for my business. Have a look here if you are interested in this
    additional tool : http://www.forumotion.com/forums-free

    For me it worked much better than Instagram. But I suppose
    it depends on the nature of your brand (and also on your creativity!!!)