A note about tools & platforms You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t possibly be everywhere. Go where the food is.
Sample online community The “big dogs” (coming soon) “It depends”
What’s gonna work? Teamwork. Use your platforms to complement each other, and you’ll build deeper relationships with your audience.
An Online Community IS A messaging channel Conversational Community-driven Interactive Customer service An opportunity to build one-to-one relationships Free research
An Online Community IS NOT Traditional marketing Advertising A billboard Formal Self-centered Sales-driven
Why an online community? Build trust, which helps build brand recognition, loyalty and affinity Obtain a deeper understanding of your audience’s needs and wants Create one-to-one relationships with customers and prospects It’s what people want and expect
“The Participatory Web” Browse Interact Personalize Talk about and connect with what and who they’re browsing Share those interactions and experiences with others
Your opportunity Build relationships and trust with your target audience They can be your best allies, sharing your information with others who trust them Social media allows them to pass that along to hundreds more people
Factors to consider What do you hope to achieve with your social media efforts? Think concrete, tangible and quantifiable. How will you measure results against your goals?
Creative Dental Solutions Build awareness around Creative Dental Solutions Attract new patients/grow the practice Cultivate word-of-mouth recommendations Promote the importance of dental health Generate discussion and interaction around dental health and other topics that interest the target audience
Find your maestro Embarrassingly outdated image courtesy of Bit Social Media
Your manager The party host An active and high-profile community member Accountable to everyone Company Community The “voice” of your brand Sets the tone for the community Becomes your brand’s online persona
He or she should be Friendly Smart Patient Creative Proactive Fun Articulate An excellent writer Knowledgeable about your brand
What’s being said about: Your company Your competition Your industry Other factors that impact your business
Who’s talking? They may be interested in your company, product or industry (your target audience) Helps define and refine your target audience Your target audience may not be who you think they are
What are they saying? What topics generate the most discussion? This is what interests your audience Use this information to shape your messaging strategy
Who are influencers? Recognizable Greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace Their opinions matter to others Engaged in conversations with hundreds or thousands of people
Celebrities not required Industry bloggers Trade publications Local personalities
Finding influencers Where do you find information that’s relevant to your industry or niche? These are some of your influencers They’re talking to your influencers. They’re talking about your influencers.
Your messaging toolbox Key words Key messages Protocol Engaging Responding Escalating
The Content Loop Good content = return visits = word of mouth = new members = more content (community-generated) Good content drives participation and growth
The right content Interesting and relevant to your audience Addresses audience members’ interests Sparks discussion Establishes you as an expert in your field Positions you as a valuable resource
Baby steps Focus on a handful of topics that reflect your audience’s shared interests. Build on these topics later, using your audience as a guide.
What people want Useful information on a topic they find interesting or attractive Engagement in experiences to improve their personal or professional life Examples: How to improve job performance or be a better parent
What they don’t want Information on how to buy more of your product Constant calls to action Communication that’s mostly brand-specific
Ask yourself: What value am I bringing to my community? Why would my community members care? What kind of conversation could this generate?
Content sources Google Alerts (set up during Listening) Blogs News outlets The web Community members Influencers Become the best source of information interesting, relevant and valuable your audience
Messaging Getting it right Finding the balance between self-interest and providing value in your messaging
Short and sweet Whatever you share, keep it bite-sized. It’ll be a quick read that can easily be passed on to others.
Seed online channels with content Who really wants to go first? Why would anyone join a barren or inactive community (which isn’t a community at all)? We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves
Trial and error When to communicate Where to communicate How often to communicate What content resonates with your audience
Why it’s important Promote your community and attract new members Communities are driven by relationship building, not by the sales cycle Communicate with people as friends or potential friends, not as prospects People seek out those who share their interests Allows your community to be a platform for open, honest conversation
Wallflowers need not apply Ask open-ended, thought-provoking questions Conduct polls Offer incentives Contests * Coupons Reward good content and/or participation Join in others’ conversations Provide thoughtful, expert answers to questions Become a trusted friend
Engaging influencers Re-tweet something they’ve said on Twitter (add an interesting comment) Post on their Facebook wall or tag in one of your wall posts Comment on their blog post, YouTube video, etc. Mention them in a blog post Link to their website or blog
Did I mention participating? At least once a day Use multiple platforms Constant and consistent You don’t always have to start conversation Let others be heard Always respond to questions, comments, mentions, etc.
Why respond? Communication is a two-way street People want to know they matter Immediacy is key: respond quickly to complaints, endorsements or any kind of mentions. A response, especially a fast response, will build or strengthen trust
Rule of thumb Work day: respond within 1 hour Overnight/weekends: respond within 12 hours Respond within 24 hours at most Do your best
When responding… Be positive Be transparent Be honest Be timely Be helpful
Handling negative feedback Balance between moderating (reactive) and managing (proactive) Often the best course of action is no action Know when (if ever) to delete a post ALWAYS save a screenshot before deleting a post Never get defensive
Monitoring tools Use your listening tools and tactics as you continue to monitor and participate in the conversation Use aggregation tools like TweetDeck, Seesmic, RSS feeds, SMS and email alerts for instant notification of updates to your community
TweetDeck Easy to use Allows you to monitor: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Others Updates regularly, automatically
Change happens Tools, services and networks are constantly evolving, which means your community will evolve too Expect and be prepared for change, especially community-driven change If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to ask the community what they’d like to see
If you remember nothing else … Be respectful Be genuine Be helpful Don’t fear the funny Take risks (within reason) Be human
Homework Today Identify your manager Set up your listening/monitoring tools (Google Alerts, Twitter searches, socialmention, etc.)
Homework The next 7-14 days Gather and compile information Identify your audience and influencers Set up at least a Facebook page and/or Twitter account Add content to your platforms Determine your messaging and content strategy
Homework Days 15-30 Launch Follow Invite members Engage Respond as much as possible Make the time!
Homework 30 days Evaluate your efforts Change what needs to be changed To infinity … and beyond Participate Monitor Measure Evolve