How to foster an online community on Facebook
How to build an online Community around your business?
Facebook has come a long way since it launched, for better or for worse, but its primary purpose remains the same: to connect people at a social level.
So while Facebook is awash with businesses and organisations trying to connect with you, the most successful ones are those that engage with customers in a more personal and meaningful way.
And the best way of achieving this is to build an online community around your business. Get it right and you’ll attract a core following who’ll support you, promote you and vouch for you. It can be a very effective way of marketing your business to just the kinds of people you want to reach.
We’re not going to pretend that it’s easy – building organic reach never is – but these tried and tested steps will start you on the right path to building a successful online community on Facebook.
Steps to social success
Check out the competition
You can be certain that some of your competitors are already using Facebook in this way, so go and see how they’re doing things. What is working for them, and what is receiving little response, or even a negative response? Look at how they’re using images and videos and other kinds of content. Imagine yourself as customer and consider how successful they are in reaching you on a personal level. Could you do better? (Of course you can!)
Post engaging content
This is key. You need to post the kind of content that gets people commenting. Posts that don’t provoke a decent reaction will die a death, as Facebook will likely demote them. You should try and focus on creating conversations between users and customers. Posing questions (“Let us know what you think”, “Share your opinions” etc) can help here, but don’t fall into the trap of ‘engagement bait’ where you direct your audience to comment on something.
Create a posting plan
If you’re struggling with the above step then it’s probably because you haven’t created a posting plan. To keep people engaged you need to post regularly – at least once a day ideally – so this will take a little planning. Your weekly plan should include a good mix of post types, including participation posts (to get people talking), service or product outlines, client stories, staff stories, industry news shares and maybe even Facebook Live broadcasts. Don’t go overboard with direct advertising posts as this may drive people away. Balance promotional posts out with ones that provoke and inspire.
Get into Facebook Groups
You should look into using Facebook Groups to better engage your customers. Groups are where people with similar interests can gather and share experiences. Perhaps you could create a sub-channel conversation group relating to a particular aspect of your market. We suggest that groups should be designated ‘public’ rather than ‘closed’, as this ensures people can easily find the group and share its content with the wider Facebook community (the downside to an open-to-all group is that you will need to keep a closer eye on activity within the group).
Spend a little money on ads
If you’re struggling to build a community organically, you should consider investing in some Facebook ads to attract new members to your page or group. It’s not a shortcut to success – you need to put time in to get the basics right first – but it can help increase the size of your community. The tricky bit is ensuring that you’re targeting the right audiences. We can help here – speak to us about advertising on Facebook.
It certainly won’t happen overnight, but if you keep posting and responding to feedback, your levels of engagement can only increase. Facebook provides a number of useful tools which you can use to monitor how well your page is performing, so try and act on this insight.
Remember: with engagement comes trust, and with trust comes a sense of community.
Reach Solutions is your marketing partner
We can help you target your ideal audience on Facebook and Twitter.