A strong follower strategy is a key building block of good community management.
Does your brand have established social media channels, but it feels like you aren’t making much progress with them?
Your engagement metrics are stagnant, you aren’t gaining many new followers, and you aren’t seeing a clear return on your investment of time, attention, or even money.
Sound familiar? If so, here’s another question: do you have an effective follower strategy?
If the answer is no, then it’s time to create one. Of course, the first thing you should do is make sure you’ve addressed the fundamentals, like applying social media best practices, optimizing your profiles, and posting at peak times.
A strong follower strategy is a key building block of good community management, which helps make your followers feel welcomed, and ensures their needs are met.
If you’re ready to make the most out of your time and resources and start building and managing your authentic, engaged social media community, keep reading for some tips on crafting a winning follower strategy today.
Community Management: How a Great Follower Strategy Can Boost Your Brand
What is Community Management…and Why is it So Important?
Word spreads fast in the digital age. That’s one reason why it’s a good idea to be attentive to your audience, making efforts to understand their needs, interact with them directly, and build a community around your brand.
The phrase “community management” refers to the process of doing just that. While social media management focuses on content marketing, community management is focused on building and maintaining relationships with your audience.
There are many ways to go about this, and we’ll explore some of them below. Overall, however, the objective is to obtain feedback, provide support, increase awareness, boost meaningful, authentic interactions, and provide value to your audience beyond the product or service your brand offers.
Understanding the value of community management starts with examining the power of communities, online or off. As humans, we crave meaningful ties, and living without a sense of connection and belonging feels unnatural. Communities bring us together, add value to our lives, and help us co-operate in groups to stay safe and make sense of the world.
Strong communities are a source of social cohesion, fostering bonds around shared values, attitudes, and goals. In digital spaces, the sense of community can form around topics, platforms, experiences, and more…yes, even your brand!
Read on for three things you can do to help build your social media community.
1. Monitor & Respond
If you’ve ever reached out to a brand on social media and received no response, you know how such an experience can negatively impact your perception of the company.
That’s why interacting with your community is a vital part of social customer care. It fosters greater brand loyalty and more active followers and gets you ahead of potential complaints or crises. Plus, you can identify and encourage brand advocates.
However, it’s not enough to simply respond to messages or mentions. At S2, the follower strategies we develop for clients include liking and responding to comments, interacting when appropriate, responding to messages and feedback, and following those who are engaging with the brand when applicable.
As a Sprout Social Agency Partner, we love Sprout’s social media monitoring tools for making sure followers feel heard and supported.
2. Follow & Engage
Another critical component of your successful follower strategy is following and engaging with the right people in your community.
By following someone, as a brand you’re extending a handshake of sorts to welcome that person into your community beyond just a heart or reply to their comment or post. It’s an endorsement that you’re following them and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, and is an opportunity to show some social media love to your community members.
Every company needs to determine the best approach for their brand. Here are our recommendations: Be sure to follow people who positively talk about your brand or share user-generated content (unpaid, unsponsored posts your followers share in which they rave about how much they love your brand).
Additionally, follow fans and customers, and follow and engage with your competitors’ followers. For example, users that like or engage with your competitors’ photos may be interested in your brand, too.
Lastly, follow anyone who engages with your brand, PR, or press people and the winners of any giveaways you host. (And if you’re interested in hosting a giveaway, we can help!)
We always recommend to check to make sure the people you’re following are indeed people and appropriate to follow in regard to bots, spam, and other accounts that may not be aligned with your brand.
Some brands choose to be super selective with how many accounts and who they follow; however, if you’re looking to grow your followers, we recommend being a bit liberal on who you follow. And while some companies promote the gamification of following and unfollowing, we recommend a more human approach – just follow people who you want to include in your brand’s community without the games.
3. Be Proactive in Your Outreach
Of course, reacting to your existing followers is only one side of the coin. You should also seek out engagement and awareness in the wider community that makes sense for your brand.
For example, if your company is within the tech space, follow influencers and leaders within that area, as well as users focused on the kinds of problems your brand is great at solving. Look especially for influential accounts with large followings.
It’s also a good idea to utilize relevant hashtags in all posts to help increase engagement and awareness. To learn more about creating an effective Instagram hashtag strategy, click here.
Always flag reputable accounts and potential partnerships, and be sure to use a social media voice guide to ensure consistency in the brand’s voice when conducting outreach.
No community management efforts are complete without a strong follower strategy. Fortunately, by applying the information contained in this blog post, you can begin to move in the right direction.
Your engaged, authentic, loyal social media community is out there…so get started!
As always, the Sociality Squared team is ready to assist you in defining your goals and achieving meaningful results to grow your business. Reach out today to learn more.