Community Building: 8 Tips for Successfully Building Your Community on Social Media

Tanja Laub 1/17/2024

In this article, you will learn how to build real, vibrant, and interactive communities that go beyond mere follower numbers.

Table of contents
  1. What does Community Management mean?
  2. Why is building a community on social media important for companies?
  3. 8 Tips for Building a Community on Social Media
  4. What challenges are there when building a community?
  5. The future of your community in social media

"Community" - a term that is used excessively in the world of social media. But let's be honest: often behind the term is actually an audience. Not a real community.

What does Community Management mean?

Often misunderstandings exist about what community management actually means.Customer serviceis not community management, which focuses on quick and direct responses to customer inquiries. Community management goes far beyond that, by building and maintaininglong-term relationships. Many companies nowadays also think that leaving some comments or interacting with other brands in funny comments to increase their reach is community management. This is not the case.Viral Community ManagementandComment Marketingmay attract short-term attention within the target group, but they overlook the actual meaning of community management. It requires a profound understanding of the needs and interests of the target group, far beyondsuperficial interactions. Community management creates an environment where members feel heard, valued and motivated to actively participate.

The careful curating of content, moderating of discussions and the building of deep relationships promote genuine engagement. Authentic community management does not end in the comment columns, but begins there. It seriously takes into account the voices and opinions of the target group and uses theirfeedbackas animpulsefor innovations.

The role of community management becomes crucial once we go beyond mere reach. The goal is to transform the initial listeners into an engaged group that interacts more meaningfully with the content - a shift of focus from quantity to quality of interactions. Various tools are available for the diverse tasks of community management, which support in the areas of moderation and publishing. Platforms such as, Facebook Creator Studio, Hootsuite, Facelift, Salesforce Social Studio and conversario are not only useful for moderation and publishing, but also support you in the analysis of user behavior and the monitoring of trends. They facilitate the interaction and optimize the handling of content and discussions. In this overview, you will get background information and a comparison of the individualCommunity Management Tools.

Why is building a community on social media important for companies?

Building a community on social media entails more than just community management of an active followership. A real community is characterized by deep, mutual interactions - not only between members and the brand, but especially between the members themselves. Here, a space for exchange, creative creation and joint learning is created, driven by common interests and values.

For companies, building a community on social media is more than a marketing measure; it is a strategic cornerstone. Genuine interactions between customers and brand promote relationships that offer significant benefits in various areas of the company. But what are the goals when building a community?

The goals when building a community on social media are diverse and closely linked to the marketing funnel. They aim to increase thebrand awarenesspromote thecustomer engagement and enhance thecustomer loyaltyas well as the direct communication with the users. Thus, building a community does not only support the immediate marketing goals, but also has a positive impact on the entire customer acquisition process and the long-term customer relationship.

  • Promote peer-to-peer interactions:These are the heart of vibrant communities. They allow members to exchange experiences, thereby strengthening customer loyalty and understanding of customer needs. At the same time, the mutual aid of community members promotes efficient resource use in the company. To achieve this, you can first initiate topic-specific challenges or competitions that encourage participation and discussions.
  • Transform members into brand ambassadors:In a well-maintained community, members become authentic brand ambassadors. Their engagement, based on genuine appreciation for the brand, amplifies its reach and credibility far beyond traditional marketing. Support this development by establishing a culture of sharing and celebrating success stories within the community and encourage members to share their positive experiences.
  • Drive Innovations Ahead:Involving the community in product development and innovation is a key element for success. By leveraging the collective creativity of the community, products emerge that truly meet the needs of users. Actively involve the community in product development by organizing regular feedback rounds. Use surveys or interactive tools to capture opinions and ideas directly from members and show how this feedback is implemented.

Building a community has many benefits. But how do you build a community?

8 Tips for Building a Community on Social Media

Two different approaches are possible when building a community. The first uses anexisting followership in social networks to focus on specialized segments such as topic-related or local communities or a group of committed members. The second option is thebuilding a community from scratch, without an existing large reach. Regardless of the starting point, the basic principles of community building are the same. Here, some basic questions need to be clarified:

  1. Why exactly do you want to build a community? Having an event once a year and calling it a community event does not make a community. It must be clearly defined what distinguishes a community from previous activities. Why should it be a community and not just a series of events or community management for fans and followers? Set specific goals, like fostering peer-to-peer learning or exchanging ideas. This helps you develop your strategies in a targeted way.
  2. What motivates potential members?What incentives and added value motivates them to engage? What needs and wishes do they have, which can be fulfilled in the community, but not elsewhere? By being able to answer these questions, you develop an environment in which members not only participate, but also actively contribute to the life of the community. Conduct surveys or informal conversations to find out what your potential members really want. This way you can create content and activities that provide real added value.
  3. Who will be part of your core group?This group of engaged users works with you to lay the groundwork of the community. Their motivation differs from that of the later members. The core group shapes the character of the community and sets the first milestones for its growth and orientation. Identify active and influential users in your network and invite them to become part of your core group.
  4. What resources do you need?When building a community, an awareness for long-term and effort is important. This includes not only the investment of time and energy, but also the provision of a realistic budget. Part of this budget should be planned for training and qualification as well as for investments in community management tools, as qualified support is essential for success. In addition, resources are required to support community activities and initiatives. Remember that building a community is a long-term project and the true benefits of such a community often only show over years. Set realistic schedules and budgets for community building.
  5. Who looks after the community? Active care and coordination are essential for success. Depending on the size and needs of the community, these tasks can vary from moderating daily exchange to organizing events to strengthen the community feeling. Whether these tasks are fulfilled by one person or by a team depends on the individual requirements and resources of the community.Social Media Tools support you here in the interaction and analysis of posts. They help you to keep an overview and respond effectively to the needs of the community. In this article you can have a look at a comparison: Social Media Tools.
  6. Where does the community exchange ideas? An essential part is the creation of an exchange space, be it online or offline. These spaces range from local events that allow personal meetings, to groups in social networks or on own platforms. They enable real dialogue and personal exchange, which make up the true value of a community.
  7. How can members actively contribute? An essential aspect when building a vibrant community is the active participation of the members. It's not about everything being dictated from above; rather, members should be encouraged to actively contribute and participate in decision-making processes. They should feel free to express their ideas, opinions, and suggestions and thus actively shape the development and direction of the community. Encourage active participation of members. This can be achieved by setting up surveys or idea contests.
  8. How do you create a positive atmosphere? Not all members will be equally active. Many observe and listen rather than actively participate. Your goal is to create an atmosphere in which all members, regardless of their level of engagement, feel welcome and appreciated. Be aware of the different engagement levels within the community. Create content and activities that appeal to both active participants and silent observers. Best Practice Example you find at this point.

In addition to the core aspects of community building, there are other important considerations that are crucial for long-term success:

  • Common values and focused topics: Specific, focused thematic boundaries promote a strong community feeling. The clearer the common interests and values, the stronger the sense of belonging.
  • Safe exchange space: A community should be a safe place where members can communicate freely and safely. Effective community management and netiquette are necessary to ensure respectful interactions and a positive atmosphere.
  • Start small and grow organically:Start small and let the community grow naturally. Too rapid growth can weaken the community feeling and personal bonds. Gradual growth promotes the relationships and the culture of the community.

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What challenges are there when building a community?

Building a community in social media is rewarding, but also challenging. It is important to understand and overcome these challenges:

Maintain steady engagement:Maintaining continuous engagement of the community is a major task. Challenges can arise from changing interests or content saturation. Effective onboarding and ongoing interaction are crucial. Develop a content calendar with diverse and relevant topics to keep the content fresh and appealing. Regular community events or challenges can also increase engagement.

Dealing with different opinions and conflicts:Different opinions arise in growing communities, which can lead to conflicts. Skilled navigation and promotion of a respectful dialogue are essential here. Set clear community guidelines to ensure respectful treatment. In case of conflicts, react quickly and diplomatically. Consider appointing moderators from within the community to help with conflict resolution.

Scalability while preserving quality: Balanced growth of the community is needed to preserve the quality of interactions and maintain a community feeling. Implement structures that can scale with the growth of the community, like subgroups for specific topics. This helps to preserve the quality of interactions and gives members a sense of belonging.

Adapting to platform changes: Flexibility in dealing with changes in platforms and trends is crucial to secure visibility and engagement of the community. Stay flexible and adjust your community strategy to new features and trends of the social media platforms. Also use tools to analyze social media trends to continually update your strategy.

The future of your community in social media

The future of community building in social media lies in transitioning from mere interaction to active ,participatory community-building. Success in building a community requires a strategic approach that placesauthenticity, active listening and adaptabilityat the forefront. Companies need to move beyond being a single focal point to places where members interact, share, and grow together. The true value of communities lies not only in the number, but in the depth of connections and the collective contributions of its members.

Tanja Laub
Tanja Laub

Tanja Laub ist selbstständige Community-Strategin mit über 15 Jahren Erfahrung. Sie ist darauf spezialisiert, Unternehmen und Organisationen in effektivem Community Management zu beraten und zu schulen. Tanja verbindet strategisches Denken mit praktischer Umsetzung, um aktive Nutzercommunities aufzubauen und zu stärken. Als erfahrene Dozentin und Speakerin teilt sie ihr Wissen auf internationalen Bühnen.

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