As a professional communicator, your job is to craft your brand’s message and share it with the world, or at least that part of the world that is relevant to you. Depending on the size of your organization and the resources at your command, this can be a daunting task. Sometimes you have to rely on the kindness of others to help you out. This means building a community.
At the Social Shake-Up 2015 in Atlanta, communicators from around the country shared insights about engagement on social networks and how to marshal their energy to help promote your brand.
“You want to have that one-to-one engagement with users,” said Jeanette Gibson, VP, community & customer experience at HootSuite. “Follow the customers, introduce them to one another. Show them what’s in it for them, not just what’s in it for you.”
Gibson, along with Lauren Harper, senior manager of social marketing with Oracle, and Kristina Libby, consumer media relations lead for Microsoft, discussed the nature of online communities and how they come together.
People tend to gather on social media around brands because of a shared interest or perception about that brand’s message or its activities. They can be a valued resource for your brand in that they are vocal, they can be a force multiplier in helping you share your message, and you don’t have to pay them. But you do have to respect them and make them feel a part of the team.
You need to engage directly with the people who are gathered on your social media networks. Have a conversation with them. Get to know what their likes and dislikes are, what attracts their attention and what motivates them.
Communities can be a great benefit for your brand by freely engaging in activities that are essential to your organization’s success. They can provide customer reviews of your products or services, they can be a source of information and FAQs for your brand and they can be advocates. Never underestimate the power of an unpaid, unaffiliated spokesperson.
Follow Jeanette Gibson: @JeanetteG
Follow Lauren Harper: @LaurenEHarper
Follow Kristina Libby: @kristinalibby
Follow Richard Brownell: @RickBrownell