Five Rules for Building Online Community

Five Rules for Building Online CommunityAn active and engaged online community around your brand is essential for digital marketing success.

Even if you’re not an online retailer, your customers go online to research and see what others have to say about your business. A social media community is a crucial asset for connecting with these customers through word-of-mouth, reputable voices of past customers and the ‘earned media’ content it creates.

Here are five best practices for growing your community and keeping it engaged:

1) Add Value

Constant marketing pitches don’t resonate well on social networks. Make sure the content you share educates, entertains or otherwise adds value to your community’s experience.

2) Use Visuals

Whenever it’s possible, use a picture to communicate your message. Visuals are easily digestible and may prompt more click-throughs. Experiment with videos, which you can also embed directly into your online posts. Try to keep videos no longer than a minute.

3) Acknowledge

When people interact with your brand through a post, comment or tweet, acknowledge them with a response. This demonstrates to potential customers that you value feedback. If comments are negative, respond and do what you can to remedy the situation. Take the conversation offline if necessary.

4) Interact

Share relevant content your community members create. Sharing good content generates goodwill, credibility and further engagement. You don’t have to stop at sharing – try adding your own opinion to start a conversation.

5) Integrate and Cross-promote

One post on one social channel will not reach your whole community, so integrate your channels and cross-promote. Published a blog post? Share the headline on Twitter, the images on Facebook and an excerpt on Google+.

Keep these practices in mind to build an active and engaged community around your brand’s online presence.