Social media communities are critical for any brand; they help promote engagement, brand loyalty, awareness, and trust, and ultimately drive revenue. Now more than ever, people are using social media to seek out community and build connections. In 2022, it’s time for social media marketers to reinvest in their social media communities — first understanding how a social media community is created and nurtured, then identifying the benefits and challenges along the way.
In the last few years especially, the way consumers use social media has changed drastically. Businesses have taken note, with a clear shift being made to using social platforms to foster deeper customer relations. Hubspot recently reported that 64% of marketers said they plan to invest in social media communities this year, with more than half of those surveyed saying they also plan to further build social media communities in general in 2022. This means you’ll see a greater number of brands upping their value offer, shifting their focus to audience-first instead of brand-first. They are doing this through high-value content, an increased focus on user-generated content (check out our recent blog post for tips on incorporating UGC for your own social media strategy), as well as personalization through targeted social media ads.
Brands are building these communities on a number of different social platforms, too. Facebook recently announced its continued investment in Facebook Groups , attempting to make these functions of their social media platform more appealing to both brands and members alike. Instagram has also increased its creator tool options (a nod to the pervasive nature of TikTok), which will make UGC all the easier to create and more readily available for brands to utilize.
Taking the time as a social media marketer to really invest in building and strengthening an online community can reap many benefits for your brand overall. Increasing engagement and brand loyalty are givens, but there are some other big advantages that come with this type of community building:
Remember that with every good social media strategy, there are some challenges to acknowledge and then overcome. Creating an authentic, engaged social media community doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to build up these relationships and especially the trust that needs to be present for audiences to truly feel connected to your brand. It also takes commitment — most audiences are willing to participate but are waiting for brands to initiate the conversation. This means as social media marketers, it’s our job to think creatively when it comes to asking the right questions and setting up our brand channels for healthy conversation to take place and communication lines to feel open.
As with all initiatives on social media (but especially when community building), it’s also important for brands to establish and stick with community guidelines and have a system set up for monitoring. At the start of the year, Meta, like many other social platforms, issued their updated guidelines for promoting safety and expression while using its sites. Establishing clear rules and expectations as a brand page or group is a great way to get started in your community building.
The final piece to social media community building is making sure you have a plan in place for measuring ROI. Before beginning an initiative like this, have a conversation about how success will be measured, and then make sure to include specific metrics (like CTRs, engagement rates, or even KPIs) you can measure those goals against.
At the end of the day, investing in your audience goes back to marketing basics. By putting your customer first, and really digging into their needs, effective community building and engagement will occur naturally. Is there anything better than a truly engaged social media community?
Ready to start your conversation? Tell us what tactics you plan to use to help your brand build its social media community in the comments!