Using Social Media to build a community for your business

Do you get overwhelmed every time you look at your social media? I don’t know about you but I have chunked through so many online courses now that my Facebook suggested Feed is packed with online courses, get rich quick schemes, and 10 reasons why I have to buy a thing.  

For most part I have learned to drown out the noise, and curate it back to what makes my Facebook most beneficial… a steady supply of funny memes.

However, if you are a business, and you are trying to compete above the throng of sales, the experience can be a little daunting. Trying to figure out what exactly you need to do in order to get the attention of your customers is like politely raising your hand  in a room full of raging baboons. If the constant vying for attention seems a little overwhelming to compete with, I offer a different tactic.

I come from a music background. When you are starting a band, trying to get people to pay attention to you to come to your concert, can be a desperate affair at times.  One thing you have to be really good at is social media marketing. If there is any industry that has been doing it for a good long time it’s the music industry. Building a fanbase is a long game, and there is really one way of doing it…

Connect with people one person at a time. 

How do you do that? Well for a musician or an artist it’s fairly straight forward; play music and create content people want to watch. It is the grass roots process of slowly building your empire till it reaches that point where enough people talk about you that it will just take off. 

First you must rely on friends and family, then you claw tooth and nail grabbing those stragglers on the periphery of the music culture, till you have friendship groups, then trendsetters, and then suddenly it just blows up and you seem to have this community of people who are all engaged with you. 

It's a slow process but for the band or artist that’s willing to stick with it, there comes a point where they start to solidify their personality, they get attuned to what their fans want, and they start catering to it. It is a process that while technology and those points of contact have changed over the years, the process of building a fanbase stays pretty much the same. 

For every influencer you see on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, the reason people are watching them is because they have something to give. They offer value to their audience. They don’t ask for money, they ask for attention, and in return they give something valuable to the audience. 

It could be humour, entertainment, it could be education, or just their review or opinions on things. People watch because they gain something from watching, even if it is a few fleeting seconds of entertainment.

So… how does that relate to your business?

Don’t look to get more customers, look to build a community

That’s a grand call, but how do you build a community on Instagram or Facebook? Well, first you have to figure out what your community looks like; what they relate to and what kind of problems they have. If you own a business, being wired to what your customers need, and the type of people your business is attracting, well it’s simply essential.

Social media can be quite overwhelming, but if you can figure out where your customers are, and what resonates with them, it offers a profound platform to build a customer-base that will continue engaging and buying from you. 

Plus, not only do you have a network, but every node in your network has a network of its own! Post something "incredible, relevant, and of value" to your audience then it can allow you to break free of the limitations of your network and spread your word around to a more massive audience! The real million-dollar question is; how do I engage my audience in such a way that they give me their attention and then give me their dollars?

If you are having a hard time finding a starting point, here is one…

Besides selling your product or service, how can your knowledge, personality and abilities help people lead more enjoyable lives? 

Think of what happens in your business, what problems you have solved, what obstacles you have faced that could help other people in their day to day life. If you can help people in ways that will build trust and build your authority in your area of expertise, they are far more likely to buy from you

It seems like you are giving away advice for free, but you are trading it for attention and loyalty. I’m not saying you give away all your secrets, but helpful tips and tricks around the problems that would lead them to buying your product or service, or how to make best use of your product or service, can be a good way to persuade, or as marketers call it ‘nurture’ them into the sale when they are ready.

When someone gives us something for free that helps us or makes our life better in some way, we become more loyal to that person, and are more likely to reciprocate that value back. Not only does this grow your authority as an expert in your service or business but it also creates loyalty amongst your followers.

Now the knock-on effect of you delivering value is that you start to attract that reciprocation from not only your own network but their networks as well. It could be that one post that intrigues a person, and then they jump onto your social media and see other helpful things. Then they might jump onto your landing page. It’s how sales funnels work, but it's that helpful hint or that entertaining behind the scenes video that caught their attention to begin with.

Consistency is key

There is no right or wrong with how often you should upload content, if you can only commit once a week that is still better than social media silence. Creating habits is the important part. People just need to see that you are active. Sometimes it might just be a photo, a short behind-the-scenes, a quick tip or a short video of what you are doing.

 A lot of business owners make the mistake of uploading a whole bunch of stuff then they just burn out and give up on it. All the major social media platforms have the ability to schedule posts. 

Software like Hootsuite, Loomly, HubSpot allow you to schedule posts on multiple platforms from the one place. First find out where your audience is, and then focus on the platforms that give you the most engagement. A younger audience will be mostly TikTok, whereas an older demographic might be hovering on Facebook and Instagram.

Scheduling posts means you put aside some time every week or two to just upload a couple things and not worry about it again for a bit.

Document your business life

It's hard to think of all the possible things you must do to have a constant flow of new content, week in and week out. So just to ease the pain of having to come up with new content every week, try to get into the habit of documenting the things you do. 

You don’t need some fancy video camera for it, your phone will do. Record those human moments, the people you meet, the work you are proud of, the obstacles you overcome. What engages people are stories; it could be a new task you created for better workflow, it could be a thing you learnt. 

Share things that align with your business values and interests.

Now you don’t have to upload EVERYTHING you do, but at least it gives you content to go through and see if it could be of interest to the people around you. Remember, you can always upload it again later with ‘Remember when we did this?’

Experiment with what you post and see what engages people

Part of finding out what engages your audience is playing around with different things to see what works, and paying attention to your analytics (views, likes, shares etc). Finding out when your audience is most active and what posts they are engaging with most, should inform what kind of things you should be posting more often. 

There is a lot of trial and error here, just try to stay away from things that might offend people or having polarising views on things. It’s a slow game, it really is, but give yourself a minimum of three months to just post lots of different things and see what is working and what isn’t. After a while you will still start to clue in to what your audience likes and dislikes. 

When you are posting ask yourself this question…

What value am I delivering with this post?

It could be educating your audience on a topic, it could be sharing a behind the scenes of how your business operates, it could be a short entertaining thing or a meme or video that you think is worth it to your audience.  

While it might seem like you are going nowhere fast, as you refine and define your online personality, you will learn what content your customers resonate with, and you will slowly develop that bond with them.  Give it time and you will reap the rewards; a fan base, and a bottom line of customers who you know will buy from you for that new product launch, or will come to you first when they have that problem your service solves. 

Keep at it. Build your community. However, we do understand that running a business and social media full-time is not always doable, so why not give us a buzz, and we can kickstart your social media journey for your business.

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