You’ve spent a lot time and effort growing your online community to get where you’re at today. You have a great group of people who are interested in interacting and championing your brand, but it’s not quite enough.
The great thing about online communities is that they’re living organisms. They’re always changing and, maybe more importantly, always have the chance to grow.
But how do you help your community grow even more than you already have? You feel like you’ve already done your monitoring to find out where your audience was and then started to engage with them there and they responded. Well, there’s a good chance that since the last time you did your research the landscape has changed yet again and there are a ton of new opportunities out there for you to grow your community even more.
Here’s a few tips that will help you use social intelligence to further grow your community:
Find where people are talking (again)
In today’s online world there are always new places and sites where people are going to learn and have conversations about your brand or topics that relate heavily to your brand. Using a social intelligence tool, like Sysomos, can can help you to identify what networks to start looking at. Start by entering a search for your brand name or some key industry terms and then look at where these conversations are happening most. Are there a lot of blog posts that come up in your search? Maybe there’s a ton of Twitter conversations. Heck, maybe people are sharing a lot of pictures related to your brand on Instagram. Find where the action is and then you can dive in deeper to get a better look at you can fit in there with them.
Determine the real hotspots of activity for your community
You’ve found some of the networks and channels that you think could have a great potential for bringing people into your community. Now it’s time to get more granular to find the best new places and people to focus your efforts on.
While everyone in your community should be treated as an equal, there may be some people and sites that deserve a little extra attention to help bring more people into your community. A social intelligence tool can help you to identify these sites and people. For example, using Sysomos’s Most Authoritative tool can help you determine the blogs or people with the highest authority score that are talking about your brand or your search terms. Are these people or places you frequently interact with? If they’re not, they should be. These are the people and sites that are generally leading conversations and have people listening to them when they do so. Interacting with these people can help them to become more aware of you and your great community. The more you interact with them the more they’re likely to want to get involved with you and likely bring others with them. It’s important to keep seeking these people out on a regular basis as this list is going to constantly change as new voices enter the picture and older ones fade out.
But people and sites with high authority aren’t the only people that you should focus your attention on. There are plenty of people out there that may be super fans of your brand or highly interested in your space and talking about it that aren’t necessarily your typical “influencer”. That’s why our Sysomos tools also have features to help you identify the people and places that are talking most about your brand or other key terms regardless of their authority. Looking for people and places with the most mentions of your interest can be helpful because while they may not have the reach of some of those people with a higher authority score than them, they’re still talking to people who are interested in the same subjects as them. These are the people that are truly interested and can easily be brought into your community and help to champion it to their own communities.
Learn what your community values and give them lots of it
As a community manager myself for the past 5 years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that communities thrive when they find value coming from within that community. Saying that you’ve created a community is very different than having an actual community. People get the feeling of actually being part of a community when they’re able to both give and take in a valuable way. So how do you learn what your community actually values (besides your brand, of course)?
Start by learning more about them and their interests. For example, below is a word cloud made up of the bio’s of Sysomos’s Twitter followers. Twitter bios are a great place to start because people volunteer information about themselves including what they do and what they like. As you can see in the word cloud we obviously have a large group of folks following us that are marketers, communicators and people that are into the digital world. But if we look closer we can also see that these people identify as being fans of sports, music and more regardless of what they do for their day job. This let us know that our current community members have interests beyond social media, so we find ways to insert these other topics into what we do around social media. That’s why on our blog you’ll occasionally see posts where we talk about how social media played a role during other pop culture related events, like The Grammys or The Super Bowl, because we know that our audience likes these things and we’re able to find a way to show them something of value that also relates back to our brand and what we do.
But people also reveal a lot about what they value through what they talk about. So, find out what they talk about most and see if your brand can fit in to some of those things as well. Start looking at what some of your most active community members are interested in and try to figure out ways that you can help them or add value to these things. One step further would be to create a media set inside of Sysomos of your most active community members and then look at text analytics around what they all talk about and see what surfaces. Seeing what a large group talks about in common will give you a great idea of what your larger community is interested in. You can then create content that fits with your brand around those topics and even interact directly with your community members around them.
If you start making your community feel like they’re really getting something from you, they will also start to share those valuable pieces of content and others will be brought into the community by seeing the value they can get from it.
The ideas above are just a few ways that can get you started on using social intelligence to keep your community growing. Remember that communities are going to constantly keep growing, so keep going back and doing these things time and time again to help your community grow.
We’re also curious to know how you’re using social intelligence to grow your communities. Let us know in the comments below.
Do you need social intelligence to grow your community? Give us a shout to find out how we can help you with it.