It feels more important than ever to have a strong and supportive community surrounding your business. Having regular customers and brand advocates at a time like this* can make an incredible difference to your outcomes in difficult times.
So, with social distancing, masks, quarantine and all of these barriers to traditional customer service in place, how can you use your social media to build the kind of community that will love you hard, buy from you and recommend others to do the same?
The answer is lots and lots of ways, but here are three things to think about when you are creating content.
1. Consistency of message
With your audience in mind, choose 3-4 content pillars that you can draw inspiration from. They might be something like: product and brand promotion; ingredients / suppliers / retailers; business and culture (you); location and community. Whatever suits your business and brand but always with your audience’s interests in mind.
Consistency of messaging makes you easy to follow. When you rotate through your content pillars you’ll find it much easier to engage with your audience and keep them engaged. Think around your business and products so it’s not always about you. For example if you sell active wear then create content and build community around being active – sports, yoga, exercise, health, eating well, mindfulness, comfort…and so on.
2. Connect and engage
Don’t just ‘drop and run’ when you post on social media. Hang around to chat. Respond to comments, visit other pages who like and share your posts and give them a little love back. Say thanks for positive comments, ask questions, respond to every review and recommendation. Click on the hashtags you are using and like and comment and engage there too – you must have similar interests or post similar things if you are using the same hashtags. Encourage private messages. Be helpful! Head into groups and provide advice, show people how to use your products and services…and so on.
Remember it’s not all about you! A community can be defined as ‘the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common’. If you’re rolling your eyes at me thinking you don’t have the time – you can do all that engagement in under 20 minutes a day if you set yourself the space to do it. Building your community is important and it cannot be done without some effort.
3. Build trust and authority
Post smart, insightful and relevant content that sits around your products or services. Think about what your audience might want to know and lead the discussion. For example, if your products contain only organic ingredients then you can explain why that is – why you prefer organic. If your consulting service uses a particular methodology, keep providing insight into why that is, what it means, where the value lies. Even a mechanic will choose a particular brand of oil for good reason – talk about the quality of the oil, how oil works and why it needs to be changed.
You know what you are talking about – convince me / interest me / engage me. I want you to be my go-to when it comes to anything to do with whatever it is you’re selling.
Have you ever heard the phrase “people do business with people they know, like and trust”? It’s one of those phrases you should stick up on the wall and give it a little nod every time you write a post for your business’ social media. Though that phrase was used as far back as Mark Twain’s days, it hasn’t lost any relevance along the way.
To build a strong community around your business and brand, you have to let people in and show that you care by adding value to their lives / social media feeds. Let your audience get to know you. Be likeable. Be authentic and trustworthy. If ever there was a secret sauce to this social media stuff, it’s going to include those three ingredients.
Take care, stay safe…Erika
*Currently Melbourne is in stage four lockdown and regional Vic is in stage three due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Founder and Director - Mac&Ernie
I founded Mac&Ernie to provide social media training and strategic marketing to small businesses and community organisations throughout Gippsland and other regional areas.
There is nothing I love more than providing my clients with ‘oh wow!’ moments; those times when they learn something new, and immediately wonder how their business ever lived without it. That happens a lot because even though social media has been around for over a decade, it's still very new to many business owners.
With over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience, and a proven track record of putting social media to work for business, I am well placed to help you navigate the sometimes-confusing world of digital and social marketing. My training is grounded in the experience of local businesses and an understanding of what makes regional communities tick.
My workshops, one on one sessions and strategic marketing advice both provide practical, accessible and customised advice that you can act on immediately. I also create custom workshops for larger businesses wanting to upskill staff or start a social media or marketing strategy from scratch. At the moment, Mac&Ernie only operates 'physically' in Gippsland and the eastern suburbs of Melbourne but, thanks to the magic of technology I can be anywhere.
Please get in touch if you'd like to learn more or browse my services and upcoming workshops and webinars at www.macandernie.com.au
Free tips on my Facebook and Instagram accounts too.