In part one of this series, “How to Succeed Online with Content”, I covered the importance of content and creating a Content Calendar. In this post I will talk about building community through social media engagement.

Social by Nature

As humans we were created to have and be in relationship with one another, so it’s no surprise that social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn along with social apps like WhatsApp, SnapChat and texting are the most widely used on a daily, per minute basis.

Here is a November 2016 Social Media update by PEW Research Center

By being a part of the conversation and various online social communities, you are able to glean and identify areas where your business is doing well and where it can improve. Those with whom you engage, will openly share ideas on how to improve your customer service, enhance your product features and better meet their needs as a customer.

Manage Your Online Reputation

As mentioned above, being socially connected not only builds community engagement and brand awareness, it gives you the opportunity to “set the record straight” or clear up misconceptions about your company/organization, its products and its services.

People are always talking, so to avoid these channels out of fear that someone will post (say) something negative, is really missing the point. You actually miss opportunities to support and engage with your potential and existing customers and help them along their customer journey.

Social media enables community and facilitates conversations that you might not otherwise have with your customers. In fact, it’s probably the best way to protect your brand and to ensure your customers are getting the attention they need (and deserve); so be a part of the conversation.

TIP: To manage your online reputation, I recommend taking, a minimum of 15 minutes, four times a day, to check your social accounts and respond to any inquiries and document trends.

How to Pick the Right Social Media Channels

Picking the right social media website and social apps really depends on your business and where your customers and potential customers spend their time. The easiest way to find this out is to ask them.

You can also use surveys and perform name searches within the various platforms to see where your customers are spending their time.

If you are just starting out with social media marketing and community building, I recommend picking a select few (1 to 3) social media accounts that can be connected to each other because it will take a great deal of work, and consistency, to manage them all successfully.

For social media sites, that you’re not ready to engage with, I recommend registering your company name with them so your brand is secured for future use.

Posting Frequency and Community Engagement

As mentioned above, you should spend at least 1 hour a day (4x 15-minute sessions) building and engaging your community. If that sounds daunting, there are tools that can automate some of the process; such as posting to each channel. However, the creation of unique content that resonates with your audience will still require planning and time. For example, I write on Saturday mornings and schedule publishing for Monday mornings (sometimes I’m late). If you’re not able to do weekly postings, don’t worry, the goal should really be to create high quality content and that takes time.

I highly recommend using a content calendar, so you can plan and create content that is relevant and timely (see previous post, “How to Succeed Online with Content in 2017”). You can also work with a team of guest writers, staff or outsourced writers – 3C offers content writing, content creation and social media management services to help companies engage with their customers more frequently.

Social Media Automation

You can use tools or manually setup some automation to make managing your social media posts and accounts easier. For example, when I publish a post like this one, I send out an e-mail that automatically sends a link to 3C’s twitter account. My twitter account is connected to my 3CX Digital Facebook page, so with a single e-mail action, my post gets sent to my-mail list, twitter account and Facebook saving me precious time.

Still not convinced you should be doing something on Social Media? Check out BrandWatch’s 96 Amazing Socal Media Statistics and Facts from 2016

Already engaged in social media or thinking about starting? Ensure you have a policy for engagement. I’ll write about social media policies and governance in a future post.

Thanks for reading!

Wishing you continued success!