Guest Post by Kelly Kostanesky
If you hear a faint noise in the distance that sounds like a warning siren announcing some impending doom, it may just be some marketers and businesses reacting to the most recent Facebook Algorithm announcement.
Many are panicking at the thought of Facebook’s News Feed being limited to posts from family and friends and excluding those from pages and brands.
But statistics show that social media users want their platforms to be just that – social.
In a guest blog post on marketing titan Jay Baer’s Convince & Convert, Carrie Jones cited research showing that 66 percent of online brand communities define themselves as relationship-building places and 85 percent of marketers believe these kinds of communities improve the customer journey and build trust.
Social media is truly getting social.
Tom Bilyeu, the co-founder and CEO of Impact Theory, summed up the new look of social media marketing in 2018 in a tweet he posted on January 14, 2018. Bilyeu wrote,
“Social media has changed the game. Don’t use it as a way to waste time. Use it as way to surround yourself with people that in any other time in history you would have been unable to reach.”
Those words are even more powerful when you sit back and realize that you can share your thoughts and feelings with millions of people around the world with just the simple click of a button. I felt the impact of social media from the first moment I was a part of it more than a decade ago.
In fact, I am writing this here today because of the power of Facebook connecting me with the incomparable Shonali Burke and her warm and welcoming Social PR Posse, Virtuoso and Pioneer Facebook groups.
Make the customer the center of your community.
It’s not a marketing secret that social media is not meant to be a one-way communication street where marketers only blast their promotional content at their customers. But the new Facebook algorithm will make it imperative for marketers to focus on their customers with each piece of content they produce and encourage continuing conversation and massive amounts of interaction.
In a blog post on OnlineMarketingInstitute.org, Tess Pajaron shared her tips on how to build an engaged social media community. If you’re one of those marketers who is guilty of boasting about your brand at the detriment of your community, it’s really easy to shift the perspective back to the customer by following a few simple tactics, including:
- Encourage comments and conversation – Make content that invites interaction. Ask your audience questions to spark comments and conversations or provide enough value that makes them want to share your content with their friends.
- Listen first, write second – Establish listening channels so that you can use the feedback you receive from your audience to shape your content into what will be useful for them. Customers like to feel that their thoughts matter in your marketing strategy.
- Be real – Authenticity and transparency is crucial in today’s marketing world. Customers genuinely want to connect with brands that they know and trust, so be honest with your target audience.
Where to start
In a blog on her Marketing Media Maven website, digital marketing expert Christina Garnett provides a list of questions for marketers to ask themselves as they try to determine where to go from here. This comprehensive list of questions is a really great place for marketers to start in developing a more community-building content strategy.
Build your social community
Once you have your answers in place to those key questions, you can start implementing some of the social media platforms’ best community-building features.
Facebook Groups are an excellent place to encourage interaction and gather feedback and data from your audience. Customers can ask questions and address concerns in a safe and comfortable setting. Many businesses use them as an online community for loyalty program customers.
Twitter lists are a convenient way to organize your most engaging customers and keep track of what is being said about your brand on the platform. It’s easy to create lists and develop ones for each stage of the buyer journey through your marketing funnel.
Hashtags are still an effective way to track conversations on Twitter but Instagram has stepped up the game by allowing you to follow a hashtag. Although you can search a hashtag on Twitter, being able to follow one on Instagram gives you a solid way to keep track of your company’s standing in the online community.
Use this latest update to the Facebook algorithm to challenge yourself and your organization to become truly social in your social media marketing efforts. Embrace the power of building a brand community behind your business based on knowledge and trust.
Kelly Kostanesky is a content strategist in the Scranton, Pennsylvania area. As a strategic communication professional, she helps organizations create content aligned with their mission and values to effectively and efficiently meet their business goals and objectives by making sure they have a balanced presence in traditional, online and social media outlets. To read more of her thoughts on content creation and other topics, connect on LinkedIn and Twitter.