You’ve developed your social media marketing plan, created your profiles, provided quality, relevant content and attracted followers, friends, fans and connections. Now that you have your growing communities, how do you keep them as raving fans and ultimately turn them into clients or customers?Building a community requires you to both nurture the members so they remain in your community and engage them so they participate. People who participate in a community find their experience more satisfying and rewarding.
Here are 9 ideas that you can put into play to keep your community alive and well.
- Focus – When people joined your community, they did so because you provided specific information that interests them. Deviating occasionally from your standard topic is OK, but going astray too often can send people to go elsewhere.
- Make it about them – When you write, choose topics that you think may interest them and encourage discussion.
- Ask them what they need – Rather than guess what topics your community wants to discuss, poll your community members about what challenges they face and what type of information they need. Their answers just may lead you down a path paved in gold.
- Be respectful – In face to face networking settings, we usually mind our manners and treat people professionally. Call people by their first names and carry on a conversation. When someone posts a comment, writes on your wall or re-tweets your message, acknowledge them. Developing these relationships are important to the future of your community.
- Surprise them – If you want to get your community’s attention, give your members something unexpected such as a free event that is an hour of group coaching without the sales pitch.
- Listen and ask questions – If you do all the talking, people don’t feel they can voice their opinions and add to the conversation. Gently encourage people to participate by asking them what they think. A good question can transform your community from fringe participants to active conversationalists.
- Make it fun – Depending on your business, a weekly contest can increase activity and get people talking. Make sure the prize is something that your community would value.
- Ask how you can help – At the end of the day, your community cares about themselves first, you second. The best way to get your community to care about you is to show them that you care about their success and well-being. Follow the 80/20 rule and make it about the community 80% of the time and about you only 20%.
- Be present, active and consistent – If left unattended or activity is inconsistent, your community will dissolve. Set realistic expectations for yourself and follow through.
How do you nurture and engage your communities? What have I forgotten that has worked for you?