6 Tips For Building Social Media Communities

There are countless actions you can drive customers to take—and just one of them is to “Join Us!” in a social media community, like a Facebook customer group.

Often, an online community is the perfect place to cultivate relationships that result in sales. Modern marketing—and social media, in particular—is about connecting, engaging, and being “authentic” to earn our customers’ trust, so let’s explore the finer points of building up communities that create a win-win for everyone.

We’ve written several posts about social media marketing, including What Your Social Media Activity Is Saying About Your Brand, which provides some strategic recommendations to consider while engaging (or not engaging) on social media. And then there’s 6 Guidelines for Running a Social Media Group for Your Business, which tells you what you need to know about starting and maintaining an effective group. This post fits somewhere in the middle. You’ll discover the various ways to build up your community—to attract new members and encourage their engagement.

Build It and They Will Come?
If only it were that easy. While some customers actively seek out their favorite brands’ social media profiles, pages, posts, and groups, most need a little nudge. That means you need to invite customers to join you—and get the invitation in front of them at multiple touch-points.

Let’s assume you’ve created a Facebook group that’s interesting to your customers: it promises to provide helpful information about your solutions and brand, and connect members with likeminded individuals. This is the value prop you take into the job of promoting membership in your group. Employ some or all of these tips to generate interest and participation:

Create a delightful customer experience on your website. This fundamental must-do is important for many reasons, but it will drum up desire among customers to engage with you elsewhere online. So be sure to include social buttons on your website and consider displaying a “Join Us” call to action on key pages of your site, like your resources page or offer thank-you pages.

Send an email to blog or newsletter subscribers. If you have an opt-in customer database—a blog or newsletter list is ideal—send out a direct invitation. Introduce the community and its purpose and highlight the “what’s-in-it-for-me” details. Of course, include a link to the group’s URL so readers can easily click-through. And speaking of email, why not include a link to the group in the email signatures of your other email marketing offers?

Promote the community through your (other) social pages. Get your message in front of customers when they’re already on the group’s social network (e.g. Facebook) or even other social channels (e.g. Twitter or LinkedIn). When logged into your company’s social network profile, create and share a post inviting customers to click on over to your group to join and take advantage of what’s being offered. Catch more insights The Secret to Direct Response Success Using Social Media.

Advertise to target audiences. It might make sense to invest in a PPC campaign to target social media network users who are likely (based on their demographics and platform behavior) to enjoy your group. In this scenario, you’ll get your “Join Us” offer in front of more people—customers and non-customers—you may not have effectively reached through profile posts, email marketing, and promotions on your website. Dive into greater detail in How to Generate Leads With Facebook Ad Campaigns.

Let them find you! Yes, here’s the part where “build it and they will come” actually works. If your Facebook group is set as “public,” users can find it on the Discover Groups landing page if Facebook serves it up as a match.

What’s Next?
Now that you’ve got some strategies to attract new members for your social media community, your next challenge will be keeping them engaged with relevant content and fun things like challenges, quizzes, daily themes, and other things they expect to experience as part of your group. And if it’s conversions you’re after, 8 Ways to Convert Your Social Media Followers Into Customers takes a deep dive into what it takes to turn a “like” into a “buy now.”

Contact us to learn more.