Business or event communities exist on MANY platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yelp, Foursquare and many more. For this reason, a community manager who is part of the community and understands how to interact with it is vital.
Here are four tips for building a community RIGHT NOW:
Identify and Join Existing Discussions Relevant to Your Event
Search and lurk on the major social media platforms to discover where your community is interacting most. It might be a discussion group on LinkedIn; a group on Facebook or one or several hashtags on Twitter. These interactions will very obviously be related to issues that are relevant to your attendees or clients.
You'll be ahead of the game if you choose a community or social media manager from within the community who is already known, generally liked and has a reasonably good grasp of digital marketing.
But if you're starting from scratch, it's important to begin participating in online discussions or groups. Share useful information you find, promote great information from others in the group, join in chats and so on.
Drive Discussion Around Issues Relating to Your Event
You could ask a question on your blog and then promoting the post to your community on Facebook. Or you could moderate a Twitter chat on a particular subject. The key is to get others to join with you in a conversation, or to start one of their own that is associated with you, your brand or your website.
Create Content on Your Website and Link It To Your Community
Of course buzz about your brand is an important reason for driving community interaction. But why let it evaporate? Why not turn it into traffic for your website that helps you rank higher with the search engines?
Post fresh content regularly on your website. Make sure that it is useful to your community and make sure to promote that content wherever your community is interacting.
You can encourage more interaction between the community and your website by:
* writing articles or hosting chats on hot topics
* running contests
* profiling members of the community
* responding to comments in a timely manner
* inviting guest bloggers to post on your site
* doing interviews of interesting people in the community
* reposting (with permission) previously published content from members of your community
A Few Thoughts About Choosing a Social Media or Community Manager
Remember, community is about PEOPLE, not technology. If you want people to trust your brand, choose someone to carry your message that your community will trust. Consider also, choosing someone who:
* is already a member of the community.
* is a natural community builder.
* knows how to engage in online dialogue.
* knows how to generate, curate and use content to drive discussion.
* is connected with community thought leaders.
* is familiar with digital marketing.
* gets that it's not about technology or broadcasting a message.
Technology is only effective as a tool in the right hands. If you have lots of time, you can follow the above tips for creating community interaction yourself. If you don't have much time, consider hiring someone who possesses the aforementioned skills.
(Photo by makelessnoise)