This month at Spry, we’re diving into a cohesive theme and learning all about building online communities. Last week’s topic revolved around exploring the definition of an online community. We hope you enjoyed reading and hearing all about it!
Today we’re going to dive deeper and take you on a tour of the many tools and platforms for building your online communities.
Most brands these days see the value of having their business represented on social media. So that’s where we’re going to start our tour.
Brand Accounts on Social Media Platforms
One of the most popular social media platforms for business is Facebook. People come to Facebook for a dialogue. They want to interact with the brand in a conversation that likely goes back and forth in multiple comments on a single post.
For this reason, you’ll likely find success with your Facebook posts by writing them in such a way that you’re asking a question or asking for opinions or the experiences of your community. Also because of this, to really find success, you need to follow through on your posts and be sure to be present after the fact. Return to your post multiple times to check for comments and respond to them. Check that your notifications are set so that you’ll be notified by Facebook every time somebody comments on your posts.
Just as important as knowing you’ve got a new comment, it’s vitally important the you actually respond to the comment. If somebody takes the time to stop their scrolling and comment on your post, they deserve your time to respond. This is where the magic happens on Facebook. We also suggest that you respond in such a way that you can continue the conversation. Try to get them to comment again. Respond to their comment and ask for further details, or you can also ask about or open a conversation on current events.
Basically, behave like a HUMAN as compared to a robot business and you’ll do well on Facebook.
Your strategy for an Instagram account for your business should look much different from your strategy for Facebook. First of all, recognize that Instagram users are often younger than those on Facebook. They’re also using the platform in a much different way and usually want to interact with the accounts in a different manner.
Instagram users are generally on the platform looking for inspiration or looking for accounts that are focused on something that they want to learn about.
You can see the differences between the two platforms just by looking at how Instagram organizes their feed as compared to Facebook. On Instagram, the image is first and very much the focus of each post. The text of the post is below the image and secondary. On Facebook, the text content comes first and then the image or video indicating that the text is the important focus on this platform.
So when you’re writing your content for Instagram, you’ll likely do well to choose a good image or graphic for the piece first and foremost and then put forth the information that you’re trying to share. Instagram posts are often longer than Facebook because you’re not necessarily expecting to expand the conversation in the comments like you would on Facebook.
However, conversations do happen in Instagram Stories. These are more personal, less polishes, and therefore can show how a brand is being represented by a human being rather than an automated program just pumping out posts. (Seeing a theme here in finding success by being a human instead of a robot??)
Twitter users are generally on this platform seeking out news and current events information. The visual aspect of Twitter is much less important but can be used to grab the attention of those scrolling the feed.
The commentary on Twitter is organized much like a forum. Each tweet response becomes its own thread.
We don’t manage very many Twitter accounts and it is certainly not my favorite platform, but if you’ve had success with a brand account on Twitter we would love to hear your strategy!
The final platform that we’re going to take a close look at is LinkedIn. This platform is very professionally-focused and industry-based. There’s also a heavy element of regional focus as people use LinkedIn to expand their networks even among those not in their field.
One important thing to note about using LinkedIn for a specific brand, is that you cannot just create a brand account. Every brand profile needs to be linked to at least one person’s personal LinkedIn profile. Best case scenario, you would be managing posting on your personal account as well as posting on the brand profile page to build the number of connections on the personal account and grow the number of followers on the brand page.
Public and Private Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn
On Facebook, you can create groups that are either public or private. Creating a group that’s associated with your brand can be a fantastic way to grow your online community. By creating a group, you can create a space where you and your biggest fans mingle. The space feels more intimate and you’ll likely be able to facilitate many conversations that you might not be able to on the brand’s page because the page is wholly public. Like anything though, if you create a group on Facebook, you’ll need to manage it by making time to be present in the group. Here it is again, be a human in the group representing your brand with genuine interest in what’s going on.
On LinkedIn, you can create listed and unlisted groups much the same as public and private groups on Facebook. However, on this platform, the groups are very industry-focused (which makes sense because the entire platform is industry-focused, right?). When you create a group, you can list up to 3 industries that it relates to. Because of this, LinkedIn groups tend to be much more focused than Facebook groups.
Additional Tools For Building Online Communities
Hashtags: Hashtags can be a very effective way of building an online community, especially because they perform well across many different platforms.
KickStarter Campaigns: KickStarter is a crowdfunding platform focused on creativity and invention. These communities grow to support a product, invention, or idea. This is a fantastic way to grow an online community as you’re able to gather a group of people that are very invested in your success. Our founder and CEO, Lacey Faught, has had opportunity to be involved in some extremely successful KickStarter campaigns and loves working with creatives using this platform to find success.
Online Forums: Many people find their community in online forums for specific topics or areas of interest. Like anything, there are pros and cons to managing an independent online forum. Perhaps landing in both of those categories is the fact that forums have much more freedom to do whatever they want. They’re not bound by the organization or programming of a specific social media platform.
Reddit: Reddit is a social platform based on user-generated content. Anybody can create a post and the users ‘upvote’ or ‘downvote’ that content based on their opinions. Content can be created about seemingly any subject or topic.
Thanks for coming along on that journey! I hope you found some value in my tour of the tools and platforms for building your online communities. If you’d like to learn more, or just prefer to learn by listening, you can click here to listen to Seth and Lacey discuss the topic in this week’s podcast episode.
At the end of the month (Ok, actually the beginning of next month), we’ll be hosting a live and interactive webinar all about Building Your Online Communities. Click here to register for that and join in the fun and learning! Cheers!