Building Your Community

It’s not about how many “Likes” you have anymore. Anyone can build a page and get people to push a button, but the most important aspect of any Facebook Page is an active and enthusiastic community. What does it really say when a Page has 50,000 Likes with a mostly empty wall? Or even a wall where a majority of the posts come from the Page’s owner? It means that while you have fans in the barest definition of the term, they’ve “Liked” you and now they’ve forgotten you. It means what you’re pushing isn’t important enough to be part of their daily lives. Let’s focus on a few things that will improve the quality of your Page and possibly help foster social growth.

Post Content
What’s going into each of your posts? Deals? Coupons? “Where to buy” links? While you shouldn’t skimp on these marketing essentials, keep in mind that you don’t want to come across as an automated post bot. If all you do is solicit, how would you be different from a mindless machine programed to do a single task? You need to tease out the participants and entice them to join in the conversation. You need to let them know their voices are heard and that their opinions count. Don’t just post calls to action; post questions and surveys. Ask them what you should do!

When someone posts something on your wall, they’ve taken a very conscious step in reaching out, and it’s up to you to meet them part way. Responding to relevant content is easy, but to connect with someone or someones on a level that touches your personal lives, you need to understand your demographic. For example, the demographic for the company I work for is very much into sporting events. When the Ravens won the Superbowl this year, my first thought was to post a product we’ve named the “Raven”. Seize every opportunity to go beyond being a representative and show that there is a real person behind the username – a person who shares their interests.

Encourage Participation
The most important aspect of growing your community is to encourage your fans to post original content, and the way to do this is with incentive. It can be a tangible prize or something as simple as an “official” mention. The internet is a vast and populated place, and a chance to be in the spotlight is a very enticing one.

You can also draw in your audience with promise of perks that are exclusive to the most avid fans. One way to do this is with a memberships-only newsletter, which serves as a two-pronged benefit: you increase the number of people following you on social media channels, and you have better insight and analytics on your demographic.

Stay Active
Just because you’ve gathered a few thousand followers does not mean you can take a rest; your job is never finished. So long as your audience participates, you have to stay on the ball. Stay active, post often, and post quality content.

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