The Power of Authenticity: Three Steps to Build Your Brand Community through Social Media
When was the last time you were scrolling through social media and *didn't* see a post from a business?
More and more companies do the bulk of their marketing through social media since we were all forced to get creative and spend more time online (cough COVID cough - hold on, I have to wash my hands now). And why not use this marketing option - that's where the people are!
But if everyone is doing it, how are you supposed to stand out? Do you spend hours making and editing TikToks? Do you create enough content to post something every few hours so no matter what time someone is on social media, they'll see one of your posts?
No one likes wasting time. But if you're putting effort into making social media posts that never get engagement, that's exactly what you're doing. Here's where a lot of incredible businesses bow out. "Why bother?" they think. "I don't have time to waste."
You're right, your time is precious, BUT before you give up, I've got some simple tips that could actually SAVE you time and make your social media presence work for you!
Standing Out on Social Media
First, the most important question to ask yourself - what makes you, you?
Or what makes your businesses unique. You'll want to think about individual and important factors in your business as well as the personalities behind the work.
While technology has exploded, most people still want to feel connected to someone or something real. If they can't smile and chat with the cashier while checking out, they at least want to feel they have a relationship with your business.
If you're trying to stand out in the sea of social media, figuring out your unique qualities is the perfect starting point.
Bottom line: Identify three things about you or your businesses that are unique, special, and important. While these could be features of your business or product, you'll really want to identify personality traits or values. Keep these in mind for the next step.
Stay Consistent to Design Your Community Feel
Now, let's figure out what your social media voice is.
This step is critical but one that most people never even consider. Who do you want to be on social media? How do you want to portray your business? And most importantly, how do you want your customers to feel?
For example, if you want your customers to feel welcome, you need to make sure your social media content has a welcoming tone. Taking the time to figure this out helps you create a consistent voice for your social media posts, which helps foster both trust and connection. Your followers will learn what to expect and how to interact with you, which is key for the next step.
Bottom line: Pick four to six keywords to describe your voice. Think of words like kind, helpful, eco-friendly, witty, trustworthy, adventurous, or sassy. Keep these words on display when creating content, and make sure your post matches at least one of the keywords before you hit publish!
Foster Connections to Make Your Social Media Work For You
Finally, build a community of fans and followers using your unique, consistent social media presence.
Once you have clear direction and content, you've got to get social. It's literally in the name. Just like customers will read reviews, they'll also check out the comment section on your social media posts. They want to see if you care about the people you're marketing to.
Like or love comments, respond to comments, and answer questions. You've got to make an effort to build a sense of trust and community. A big no-no is using copied and pasted responses. Make it genuine. You will have to take some time to mix things up a little to keep it from feeling like you're a bot responding, BUT it will pay off.
This effort helps your followers build that connection with you, which will build trust and loyalty.
Bottom Line: This doesn't have to be a big task - set aside 15 to 20 minutes each day per social media platform and interact genuinely with comments on recent posts. Make sure your responses use your identified social media voice and provide some value to the audience.
Ok, you did all that - now what?
Keep it up! Make sure your posts reflect who you are and how you want your customers to feel, and continue interacting with them to build that connection, trust, and loyalty. I won't lie to you - it's not always easy or even the most fun, but you're building a foundation.
Then comes the good part - your followers become unofficial ambassadors of your brand! They'll share your posts, think of your recent promo when a friend mentions they have a need, and they'll post enthusiastically about their latest buy.
Pro tip: if they tag you and their profile allows, share their content! It's a simple step to continue building community, and bonus - it's free content that takes way less time for you to post.
By connecting with and educating your followers, you've got someone on your side. So next time you get a snarky comment about how long it takes to ship their order, you have loyal customers who can jump in and explain the shipping process or even reassure the original commenter the wait is worth it. You'll want to make sure what they respond with is accurate, but reading a comment takes way less time than writing one yourself!
And a bonus - by creating a community within your brand on social media, you've identified your ideal customer! These are the people who love your product(s) and your business. They’ll be repeat customers and share their recommendations with friends, family, and maybe even strangers.
By connecting with them, you will learn what they want and value from a business so you can make any necessary adjustments. You'll also learn what type of content they enjoy or want to see more of, so you can create targeted content instead of mindlessly guessing what will speak to them.
The overall bottom line is we as humans are addicted to the ease of social media, but we're still deeply longing for that connection. Combining those two conflicting emotions allows you to stand out and build a sense of brand community. So make your life easier and stop wasting time creating trendy posts that flop.
Social media can be a powerful tool when used authentically to connect with your ideal customers and clients. If you’d like some help with this, check out my website - El Words Communications. And don’t forget, we can use more than just social media to build connections - Lauren Littlewood reminds us all of the power of connection in email marketing, too!
About the Author: I work with small businesses that are looking to stand out in the sea of social media. By providing strategies, planning, resources, and more, my goal is to help small businesses have a big social media impact using engaging and copy-focused posts to build a community feel around the business.
Visit www.elwordscommunications.com for more about Lizz and her services.