Communities come in all shapes and sizes. From Lady Gaga to University Alumni, communities are a safe place for people of common interests to connect, engage, and share ideas. Those desiring to grow a community assume the community must live on social media, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, the best communities are hosted by online community management software, like Honeycommb, and promoted on social media.
Social media is a place to reach existing customers to build a community for your brand, but the best place to house your community is through separate software because the conversations and experiences can be more true to the community’s focus.
People rarely actively seek out communities to join. You have to get members for your community from somewhere though. That somewhere is social media which is already a part of your marketing plan. In this article, you’ll learn how to grow your community using social media best practices.
How to broadcast your community with social media
Starting a community from scratch can be difficult. Getting the first few members is easy, but oftentimes your membership rate plateaus. Obtaining new members is important to keep ideas fresh and current members engaged. New members bring in a different perspective and can help foster conversations that haven’t been had before.
Social media is a great place to promote your community and gain members. Simply follow these six best practices and your number of members will skyrocket.
- Leverage existing networks
If you’re already active on social media, don’t go open a new account related to the community. Use accounts you already have, since the following is there. This is the first step when beginning to promote your community on social media.
Even personal accounts are OK to use to build your community if the community is not brand-related. But if you are a brand that’s building a community, use the branded social accounts when promoting your community so that people are clear where the promotion is coming from.
Most companies already have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Stick with what you already have and start conversations on social about your community. Encourage your current followers to like, share, and engage with your posts about your community. That way, people who follow you can join. Simple as that.
- Provide value
You have to make it clear when promoting on social media why people should join. What value will they get from adding another app onto their phone to join the community?
The value can be special offers, insider information, or input into product design. In order to convert customers into community members, you must show them that it’s worth it. Every time you post on social media about the community, lead with the benefit and don’t tell people what they already know.
For example, don’t say that your community brings together loyal customers. Instead, say that your company depends on community ideas for the next flavor of ice cream that’s being released.
- Don’t be afraid of paid ads
Sure, advertisements are more gimmicky than people like, but it helps communities tap into untouched audiences. Only your followers and their followers can see your social media posts, but with paid social media advertisements, you can have a greater reach.
You can buy paid ads on most social media platforms, but be strategic with your ad spend. Break down your audience using marketing analytics software, then integrate the data into your social media strategy. That way you can distribute your community advertisements to more than just your current followers, which leads me to the next point.
- Show up where your target members already are
If your target audience isn’t on TikTok, then don’t create a TikTok account to promote your community. That would be a waste of your time and effort. Even if TikTok is super trendy, it doesn’t mean that that’s the right place to be.
After you have your target audience segments, monitor where they are on social media and then post there to promote your community page. Don’t try to be too innovative with where you post, because you may be messaging to the wrong people. Communities will weaken if filled with people who don’t care enough about the focus topic, so be picky where you choose to promote.
- Be authentic
Communities are not meant to be sales-y. They are all about forming meaningful connections based on shared values, interests, and experiences. Take all of your brand-speak out of social promotions, and just be real with your target audience.
People desire connection and love when they find commonalities with others. Shine a light on those aspects and you will see your membership rates grow.
Because online community management platforms are focused on personalized groups that allow users to see all of the content presented, it wouldn’t make sense to not be that personalized and authentic when promoting the group on social media.
Lastly, consider accessibility and diversity when promoting. You never want to alienate an entire group and deter them from joining your community just because you said something on social that was exclusive.
- Use the right tools
Being a community manager is a tough job with many tasks to juggle. Make juggling social media less of a burden by using social media suites. This type of software helps you schedule out social media posts across multiple platforms and then measures the success of posts so that you can adapt your strategy to lean into what’s working.
It also can help you to automate engagements on social media, which can take a lot of time to keep up with.
Having the right software tool kit is essential to launching, promoting, and tracking the success of a social community.
At the root of community is a yearning to be surrounded by people who believe in the same things as you. Follow social media marketing best practices to keep on track when forming a social media strategy. Lastly, if you stay true to your community topic and lead by providing value to members, then your membership rates will keep increasing.
About the Guest Author:
Deirdre O’Donoghue (she/her) is an Editorial Team Lead at G2. She brings her passion for research and creativity to her writing. Her specialties are in e-commerce, public relations, and management. In her free time, you can find Deirdre playing with her new pup or exploring the Chicago foodie scene.