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Community Building: How to Grow a Loyal Following on Social Media

Community Building: How to Grow a Loyal Following on Social Media

Last Updated:  
March 18, 2024

This isn’t a “how to” guide for gaining followers fast.

This is the formula for building a loyal community online.

There’s a difference.

Community building is arguably one of the best ways to grow a memorable brand presence on social media. Without it, your followers feel neglected and are less likely to stick around. This article will provide the necessary steps to build a loyal community, teach how to nurture the community, and give you tips and tricks to find sustainable growth today.

The numbers don’t lie.

According to Higher Logic, online communities help improve engagement by up to 21%. In addition, 66% of branded communities say community has had an impact on customer retention. This means your engagement is improving AND you are retaining customers while building trust.

Long-term growth on organic social is near impossible if you aren’t utilizing community management.

At the end of the day you want sales. I get it. Community building will make that happen. 55% of brands say that community has contributed to an increase in sales. Building trust will increase retention as well.

Struggles Brands Face with Community Building

Gone are the days where posting photos of your product on Instagram are enough. Consumers are tired of constantly being sold across social platforms. Facebook ads, highly edited photos on Instagram are pushing users to crave authenticity now more than ever. Here are some common struggles brands face:

  1. I don’t know what value to offer: This depends on what product/service you have. Find ways to educate or entertain your audience and build a strategy around it. Understand what type of content your target audience enjoys and create similar style content.
  2. I don’t know which platforms to choose: Many brands feel pressured to be on every social platform. This isn’t plausible unless you have a dedicated team and the right leadership in place. Try focusing on 1 to 2 platforms and scale when you can hire experts for each channel
  3. I’m starting with 0 followers: News flash champ, everyone starts with 0. It’s not easy. It’s also not an excuse. If you lack followers, go to where your target audience consumes content. Learn what types of content they like and engage with them.

Remember: Community is built brick by brick.

7 Steps to Building a Community Online

  1. Know your target audience
  2. Understand the platform
  3. Find your audience
  4. Stay consistent
  5. Provide value
  6. Feedback
  7. Secret Sauce

1. Know Your Target Audience

This comes down to understanding who your target audience is and why they are on the platform. Do you know who you are talking to? Do you know how they communicate on different platforms?

The same person goes on TikTok for different reasons than they would on Instagram or Facebook. Understand the WHY of their intentions so you can get to know them better.

  1. Who is your audience?
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  1. Why are they on the platform?
  • To learn
  • To be distracted
  • To be entertained
  1. How do they communicate?
  • Emojis 😊
  • Punctual.
  • Silly/Goofy :)

Think about it… A 40 year old communicates on Facebook differently than the 20 year old on TikTok. Find ways to keep true to your brand voice while shifting how you communicate with a certain audience. Match their energy and you will be seen as relatable, yielding better results.

2. Understand the Platform

  1. Which platforms are you on? Users use social media for different reasons. People could go on TikTok for learning cooking recipes while using Instagram for finding and sharing memes.
  2. Why are you posting? It could be for pulling in a new audience or giving value to your current community. Finding purpose behind your posts on each platform will help give clear direction for your social and community team.
  3. Do you know the platform language? Users communicate differently on every platform. TikTok tends to be sillier with lowercase letters, more trends, and personified brands. Facebook is old school, using proper punctuation. Understand HOW users communicate, share, and engage on each platform and ensure your content reflects this.

3. Find Your Audience

It’s important for brands just starting out to spend time where their ideal audience is. An account with low followers can find their target audience by engaging with like-minded communities. Instagram accounts with similar interests are a great source for finding community members to connect with (especially meme pages).

Once you understand your audience's pain points you can speak to them in a way that they relate to. You can match their energy, speak to them how they want to be responded to, and so much more.

4. Stay Consistent

Consumers value people and brands that keep showing up. Consistency is noticed over time which builds momentum. Daily interactions and responding with meaningful comments are the big contributors to momentum and consistent community growth.

People want to be a part of something special.

Consistently build for them and you will earn their trust.

Think of it this way:

You walk into a coffee shop. You’re a stranger.

You keep showing up and they know your name.

You keep showing up and they know what you do.

You keep showing up and they know who you are.

You went from stranger to a regular with consistency.

They know:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Where you’ll be

They will look forward to seeing you tomorrow.

5. Provide Value

Every audience deserves value. Consistent value is how you’ll get an audience to keep engaging. The type of value can depend on what your brand is about, the marketing strategy, and your target audience.

The two main types of value are educating and entertaining.

  1. Education value is teaching your community information that helps them learn, save time, make money, or all of the above.
  2. Entertainment value is giving your community enjoyment. The best brands are shifting into content making machines; prioritizing content and providing entertainment for users while sliding in products nonchalantly and less aggressively.

It’s best to focus on one and sprinkle in the other, but using both can be very effective.

Consistent value builds trust.

Trust is social currency.

6. Feedback

Find ways to make real connections with your audience to generate valuable and direct feedback. 90% of communities say that suggestions from the community have been used to improve products or services.

The more you interact and understand them the better you can understand what they want. The goal should be to bring your community as close to the brand as possible.

There’s no better feedback and opportunity for innovative ideas than your immediate audience.

7. Be Human (The Secret Sauce)

At the end of the day remember there’s a human on the other side of the interactions and posts. Comment like you would to a friend, speak their language, and find ways to be relatable. Make your audience a part of the process and they’ll feel more willing to grow with your brand.

Examples of Community Building

C4 Energy - With the help of Sam Wells have grown a fantastic community on their organic social channel. They entertain their audience and you can feel the excitement and allure of their loyal community in their comment sections. They’ve dedicated time and effort to building out a proper team for managing the platforms and the positive results show.

Triple Whale - Tommy Clark leads the charge with their social strategy featuring an elite meme game. The memes are great for relating with Triple Whale’s target audience and pulling in new potential customers by speaking their language. Any Saas business should be taking notes.

Simple Steps To Start Building Community Today

Look, I get that community building can seem like a lot, but it works wonders once you get the hang of it. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 followers of 50,000 these same principles ring true.

  1. Start now - Stop making excuses and putting it off. Start small and grow as you go.
  2. Be consistent - Find a pace that works for you and don’t forget to show up.
  3. Respond more - If someone takes the time to comment on your post, respond.
  4. Have fun - Don’t take it too seriously, your community craves authentic fun.

If you build it they will come.

Need more inspiration? Learn How to Build a Community in 5 Simple Steps from a community building pro Chris Meade, creator of CROSSNET. 

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