Secrets behind building online communities – that is an article I once wrote. I also did an article on effectively building and managing your Facebook page. Storytelling is needed in building your business or startup is yet another article I have done before. Another one was on building communities around your business. All those subject matters cover several useful insights on social media management. Today I am specifically zoning in on ways to effectively engage and enlarge your social media community. If you are to become a formidable startup or business in this day and age you need an ever-growing social media community.

Be People-Centric

Just like you have to be customer-centric in running an enterprise, you should be people-centric when it comes to social media communities. Do not be overly obsessed with the results per se. Focus on the people and everything else will automatically fall into place. This calls upon you to imagine what you would need to have you been those people. You need to communicate with those people, genuinely, and be relatable. Make your platform sound like it is a real personality interacting with people. People naturally gravitate towards platforms where their voice matters e.g. by having comments liked, commented on, shared, and so on. Be obsessed with communicating with people – two-way communication, everything else will be clockwork.

Be Proactive

It is all too common to see most social media accounts being reactive. Being reactive is not the best approach, even in life in general. By being proactive you set the tone, drive the narrative, and control the dynamics. Do not wait for stuff to react to; rather come up with engaging content that instead elicits reactions from the audience. Dig deeper by researching the characteristics of your audience. You can even go as far as becoming a part of other online communities that your audience is a part of. All this will be to be on top of your interactions with your audience. Seek to be of value to your audience without waiting to be asked or provoked. It comes off as a sign of weakness to mostly be reactive instead of being proactive. By being proactive you build a dominant voice that commands respect and attention.

Take Time To Respond To Comments

Many people or brands are guilty of not responding to comments. It always baffles me when I come across platforms riddled with ignored comments. At times I even see comments requesting price details and they are ignored. I then wonder if such brands are even serious about selling at all. As much as possible you must respond to comments; the very least you can do is like a comment. Your responses must exude warmth and genuine interest – they should not seem like just formalities. Do not be selective in your responses as well. Both good and bad comments will come but do respond to both. Do not use generic or pre-written responses to comments, try to be as personal as possible. Do not hide comments as this comes as shutting people’s voices or thwarting their freedom of expression. No matter how bad a comment might be, find ways to tactfully and respectfully respond. How you respond can end up scoring points and boosting your brand reputation.

Keep An Ear And Eye Out For Mentions Of Your Brand Online

There might be times when your brand gets mentioned online. Some can even tag you or just simply mention you in passing. Such mentions can be for good or bad. For example, someone can mention you as a recommendation whereas another person can mention you citing poor service. Whichever the case might be, both constitute valuable feedback or information for your brand. You should regularly take time to sift through the internet and social media for mentions of your brand. Go beyond just focusing on your platforms only because you might miss out on invaluable information. For instance, your brand’s reputation can be shredded to pieces somewhere unawares simply because you do not know it is happening.

Always Have A Damage Control Plan In Place

Things seldom go according to plan. You need to be able to anticipate the evil day i.e. the day when things go sideways. Possibly you might run out of stock, your website might crash, or there might be a power outage, just to mention a few possible incidentals. It might even be that a prominent person (e.g. someone with a huge audience online) says something negative about your brand. You need to have a damage control plan in place. One way you can put together a plan is by having pre-written responses or communique that can apply to possible scenarios. That way you can immediately respond or communicate about a crisis. You will also need to have a standard operating procedure (SOP) on what to do given a particular crisis. This will be useful in ensuring you respond ASAP.

With these 5 ways, you can effectively engage your social media audience. By applying them you will also enlarge your social media community. Get creative and always draw insights from data about your engagements with them. You will always figure out strategies to do more and better.