Social media is a great place to connect with your target audience, grow brand awareness and drive shoppers to your website. With so many people active on various platforms, it can be easy to assume that the more followers you and your business have, the better. In reality, you’re going to get better results from having quality followers than having a large quantity of followers. It’s more important to build a community than a following. Following vs. Community
First, what do we mean when we say “following” and “community”? A following consists of the people who follow your social media accounts.
A community consists of people who are passionate about your brand, industry or a certain topic that aligns with your brand. For example, if your company sells candles, your community might consist of people who love your brand and products, love candles in general, or are interested in home décor. Why you shouldn’t buy followers Having a large number of followers may seem like a great way to help people connect with your brand, and it can be if your following consists of real people who are engaging with your content. While there are a lot of ways to grow your social media following organically, there are also plenty of companies who offer followers in exchange for money.
The problem with this is a lot of these followers may be bots or fake/inactive accounts. Your follower count may look impressive, but these bought followers are not going to engage with your content, be interested in your brand or convert into customers. Why is building a community important? Building a community rather than focusing on a number is beneficial for increasing engagement, growing brand awareness, building relationships and making sales. Engagement Imagine trying to sell cat food at a convention for people who love dogs. There may be hundreds or thousands of people there, but most are not going to be interested in what you’re selling and are not going to engage with you. It works the same way on social media. If you have hundreds or thousands of followers but they’re not the right people for your brand, you’re not going to get the engagement or level of interest you’re looking for.
Now, if you try to sell that same cat food at a store where there aren’t as many people walking in but the ones who do love cats and are looking for cat-related products, you’re going to see more engagement and make more sales than you did at the convention with way more people.
When you build a community, you’re bringing together people who are passionate about certain products or topics and want to engage with your brand. They’re going to interact with you more as well as offer up ideas and honest feedback that you can use to improve your products or services and strengthen your community.
Community members who are engaged with your brand are also a great source for user-generated content, or UGC. When people love your brand enough to post photos that feature your products, this is a great opportunity for you to further engage with these customers. You can also share UGC to show the rest of your audience that people really do love your products and they’re worth purchasing.
Having an engaged community is great for brand awareness. As people interact with your content, it’s going to let the algorithm know that you’re posting quality content that people want to see, which will make your content appear more often in people’s feeds. Additionally, as people share your posts or tag their friends in your comments section, you’re going to get more eyes on your content and grow brand awareness. People may also let others know about your brand outside of social media through word of mouth. When you have a community, you have a group of people who are excited to tell others about you!
However, if your followers are fake or not all that interested in your brand, they’re not going to engage with your content or tell their friends, family and followers about your business.
Relationships As your community gets to know you and your brand on a more personal level, you’re going to build relationships with your audience. They’ll get to know you, like you and trust you – important factors for building a strong community and eventually converting your followers into customers.
As people form emotional connections to your brand, they may feel like you’re more of a friend they want to support than just another business on social media. Your community will want to see you succeed. People who feel emotionally invested in something are going to be more engaged, which again can help grow brand awareness and turn community members into loyal customers.
Alternatively, if you have a large following but there’s not real emotional connection or relationship there, people are less likely to engage with you and buy from you.
Social media is an effective way to connect with people and grow brand awareness, but at the end of the day, you’re a business and you need to make sales. When you have a community of people who are passionate about your brand or industry and know, like and trust you, they’ll be more likely to turn into customers.
Since they’re already engaged with your brand, they’ll be more likely to complete a specific action that you request of them, such as visiting your website to learn more or make a purchase. It’s going to be easier to sell to your community than a bunch of random or fake followers who don’t have that emotional connection to you and aren’t engaged.
How to build a community
Here are some quick tips to help you get started in building a community.
Pick a social media platform. Where are your target customers hanging out? Go there first. If you use Facebook, you might also consider creating a Facebook group for your community.
Think about value. How will people benefit from being part of your community? Don’t just throw sales pitches as people.
Nurture your community. Don’t just create it and walk away. Provide valuable and helpful information and content, share interesting stories, and encourage and contribute to discussions.
Engage with your community. Like their posts, reply to their comments, and DM them when appropriate.
Ask questions. Provide a personalized experience for your community by asking them what they would like to see more or less of, and what they need in order to feel like they’re getting the most out of your community.
It can be tempting to do whatever it takes to gain followers, but it’s important to remember that having a quality following is more important than your quantity of followers. Building a community is a great way to form a group of engaged followers who are excited about your brand and will become brand ambassadors and loyal customers.
I hope that you found this useful