Social media is everywhere! But how do you use it to increase the reach of your community while ensuring that your community does not move to your social media channels instead? In this chapter, we will explore how to utilize social media for your community.
- Where is your audience?
Research what social media platforms your audience is using. Depending on how big your team is, it’s important to determine which social media channels should be your priority. We recommend picking 2 to 3 social channels (max.) to focus on for a community with two community managers.
- Page or no page?
You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you want a page or account for your community on your social media channels. While a lot of people think this is expected, having a page or account may detract followers from actually going to your community. You can also choose to run hyper-targeted ads that link directly to your community, rather than first trying to build an additional community on social media platforms.
Both Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer supreme targeting tools. You can target your ads to audiences based on interest, location, language, age, gender, and educational background. Keep in mind that the more you know about your audience, the better you can target your ads and get a return on your investment. With niche targeting especially, a little budget can go a long way. Most social media platforms offer very decent how-to tutorials and explanations on how to get the most out of their advertising tools on their website.
Tip: You can also target your ads to followers of related Facebook pages! Some pages have the option for you to target ads to their followers switched off, but many pages still allow this and it’s a great way to get a quick ROI.
- Join the conversation!
Odds are there are already a few pages or accounts on social media that are related to your topic of interest. It’s always a good idea to start following these pages and accounts and join the conversation. You can could share relevant and interesting posts from these pages on your own page (provided you have one). People love it when their content is shared (albeit in a respectful manner) and may start following you back and share your content as well. Alternatively, when relevant, you can share links to either your sign-up page or to a specific discussion with these pages. You don’t want to overdo this as it may come across as spam but if there is a relevant discussion, people won’t mind if you point it out.
Tip: Use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to set up ‘listening’ channels on Twitter. You can set up columns with searches for specific keywords relevant to your community and find out who and what is talking about your topic of interest. Use this information to create content of interest to your target audience. Identify and start building relationships with key influencers at the same time.
If you do decide to run a page, be sure not to give all your content away on the page. Try to trigger people and tease them just enough to get them to click the link and read the full topic in your community instead. For example, don’t go “This week we had a discussion about how often to water your plants and concluded that it depends on the type of plants you own,” but go “Who knew there were so many different insights on how to water plants? Find out what our community thinks!” instead.