Social Media Community Building 101: Get the Essentials Right

Everyone can use a great new idea for building engagement and growing online community, right?

How you build and grow your community will depend on the topic, niche or interest of your community. It’s no different here at Follr Communities, we are always interested in tips & techniques that will benefit our community, and our Communities.

In today’s video, SplashU gives you some of the basics to beginning an online community, building engagement and seeing growth. Be sure to be familiar and comfortable with the “etiquette” of social media, but we’ll have more on that in a future post.

As my friend Jeff Pulver often says “You live or die by your Database” which he has proven time and again. To have a successful online community start with your database. Send email to notify your network about your new Follr Community.

If you are a business get the by-in of your employees, who better to know and love your brand than the people who work with you?
Are you a hobbyist group, a non-profit, it’s just as simple, you already have the passionate members just encourage them to join in and interact in your new Community.

Be sure to get involved yourself, sometimes we get so caught up in building a community we forget that we are still a part of it. Lead by example as an essential part of community building.

Don’t Make These Community Management Mistakes: Part 3

Online Community Mistakes FollrFor our third and final installment of “Don’t Make These Community Management Mistakes,” we take a look at three more potential online community blunders. Read on to make sure you’re not making them, and if you are, to find out how to navigate out of them! Also, if you missed them – here are parts 1 & 2.

1. You Don’t Know Who Your Audience Is

This is a biggie when building any online community – be it a proper community platform, or a blog. Knowing your target audience is huge! Along the lines of part 1 mistake “You Don’t Have a Concrete Niche,” not knowing who you want your target audience to be is a surefire way to instantly crumble any traction you may have gained. Think about your topic and figure out which types of people would be interested. Visit other communities and blogs with similar focuses and see who’s posting and engaging there. This will give you a better idea of who you should tailor your community to.

2. You Don’t Have a Clear Purpose

Just like your topic can’t be vague, neither can your purpose. Do you want to inspire people to elevate daily life through your home design community? Or are you trying to help people eat healthier through your clean eating recipe blog? Have a specific purpose and make sure each and every post is helping your readers/users/members to achieve that purpose. Also make sure to include your purpose, or a mission statement, in an “About Me” tab or sidebar.

3. You Don’t Give Enough Thought to Aesthetics

It seems like a no brainer to make sure your community page or blog format looks clean and organized, but I cannot tell you how many pages I’ve come across that were poorly designed, not properly executed or just plain difficult to navigate. Make sure your landing pages are PRISTINE and that each and every post has the exact same format, font, colors, background, etc. etc.

How to Set Expectations for Community Growth and Success

Setting expectations helps to secure success in life and business. Online communities are no different.

By setting expectations you help to establish community guidelines and direction, giving focus to the purpose and mission of your community.

To help those building new communities we want to focus today on some of the simplest ways to help set expectations in a new community. These proven suggestions should help to grow engagement, build community interest and establish a solid foundation to grow from.

One of the easiest ways to set expectations is to provide guidance on using the community resources, whether posting questions or topics of discussion, setting standards for interaction and behaviors help to make a community a comfortable place for people to engage with one another.

Follr Community

Community Engagement comes from establishing positive community expectations.

Community Standards
Establish some basic community standards. Suggestions as to the tone of posts, responses and conversation being focused on positive contribution helps to encourage open and creative communication.

People will disagree, people will debate, but as long as the communities remembers to respect the views of others and the community the contribution of those involved will flow much more freely.

Post Forum Topics
Set some basic forums within the community for people to post in. Ideally include a general topic area, questions and answers, and an ideas section. The ideas section will be where your community can provide their ideas for new topics for forums, or even potential opportunities for community involvement or growth through outside connections.

Make It Predictable, Therefore Comfortable
Be certain to seed your community with conversations, questions and shared content. This will encourage others to do the same and help establish the value of the community engagement.

Part of that is establishing a regular posting schedule, a daily topic section or similar style areas to encourage the community to come back regularly and establish a “habit” or checking in.

With these few simple steps you will be on your way to growing an engaged and dynamic Follr Community. How are you helping to set expectations and encourage community interaction?

You Need to Know: The 2 Main Types of Community Performance Statistics!

Follr MetricsAs you start building your online social community, it can be hard to gauge how well (or not-so-well) you’re doing. Different community performance statistics mean different things and certain communities’ success are more reliant on certain measures of performance than others. Here we attempt to break down the two major types of performance indicators for any online community, and provide tips on how to better manage and increase your desired metrics!

Two broad types of Performance Indicators:

1. REACH

Reach is one general sub-category of community performance. On the most basic level, reach can translate to metrics like the number of page views, clicks, and new members. Additionally, reach can be more literal – as in the geographical reach you have according to the physical location of your members, and even the spread of your members’ ages. The former are basic measures of reach you’ll want to increase by:

  1. Including relevant and clever content, as well as 2-3 related hashtags per post
  2. Directly tagging “key,” socially-savvy members in posts and comments

The latter, more literal metrics of reach are imperative to building a rich and diverse community. Take time once a week or so to visit some of your members’ profiles and get an idea of these reach statistics.  Increase geographic and chronological reach by:

  1. Posting content applicable to all ages and ethinicities
  2. Specifically asking certain groups of people to chime in on topic discussions. Example: asking #NewEnglanders to share their favorite weekend road trip spot, even if your community is focused on Midwest travel & tourism.

2. ENGAGEMENT

Once you’ve got a steady stream of members visiting your community, you’ll start to be more concerned with engagement. Engagement is a broad term for how and how often your members interact with community content and other community members. Some solid engagement metrics to live by are time spent on your site, the number of comments and/or discussion posts, and the diversity of topics members touch on. Smart community builders can hone in on certain “gem” members who frequently interact with several other members on several different topics. Direct message these members and thank them for being such a vibrant edition to your online community! Do you have any tips on increasing reach or engagement? Feel free to share in the comments section below!