This week the #cmgrclass focused on building a community from scratch. While companies see the importance of establishing a social media presence, very few are educated on how to properly navigate through digital platforms that result in successful outcomes.
For starters, companies and even industry leaders cause confusion when distinguishing between social media management and community management. Kelly Lux posted an article to the #cmgrclass Google+ community entitled, 5 Brilliant Ways to Staff for Community Management. The author noticeably blurs the characteristics of the two. If companies could decipher between the two, they could better pinpoint if it would be more beneficial to develop social media strategy or create a community to sustain and enhance their existing brand.
Olivier Blanchard spoke on building internal communities in last week’s Google+ hangout session. Many of the basic concepts from his chat can be used when looking to form a start-up community. Community building should almost be effortless. Blanchard suggested allowing it to grow organically. Prospects don’t want to feel like they’re being targeted by a company’s pitch to market and promote new products. Remember, start small and grow big.
In the article written by Dino Dogan, How to Build a Community of Fanatics, his third step in starting a community from scratch is, be a human. Members aren’t going to form relationships with automated voices or avatars of wild animals. Be the face of your community by including your name and picture. If your community requires people to create a profile, how do you expect them to share who they really are when you aren’t being authentic? Brand extension begins with the community manager attempting to cultivate and maintain genuine relationships.
Author of How to Build a Community from Scratch, David Spinks, offers a strategy for start-ups and larger companies to build trust and loyalty amongst members. It’s simple. Pick up the phone and call a user or customer, depending on the type of community you’re managing. Ask them for their personal insight on the experience they’ve had with your company. Don’t expect to complete this task in one sitting. Over time reach out to as many people as you can. Spinks says, when building a true community no interaction should be overlooked. Is time management an issue for you? Well, make the time. These are people who are ultimately investing in your company/brand. Without them who will market for you while you’re sleeping?