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Surprise, Delight, and Engage: Building a Vibrant Social Media Community

We landed an interview with a Hall of Fame NFL Quarterback all because of an "X" (formerly Twitter) post and an incredible online community built by The Fantasy Footballers.

Your online community is the greatest marketing tool at your disposal. Forget paid social advertisements and regularly shelling out money to influencers. If you can build an active social community, you’ve already won. We live in a world of peer referrals. Your customer is four times more likely to buy something when referred by a friend. Fostering and growing an active social community is vital for any business, yet it is often overlooked when it comes to social strategy. Here are a few ways to start building your community today:

Set The Stage: To begin fostering a community, you need something to gather and rally around. This is where creating engaging content is crucial. Many would rightfully assume that creating original content that sparks conversation and encourages your fans to respond would fulfill this need, but that’s just the beginning. Imagine a friend asks you a thought-provoking question. You think about it and begin to give your response, only to be met with your friend leaving the room and walking away in the middle of you speaking! It’s an odd analogy, but it’s exactly what many brands do on social media every day. They spark conversation and then walk away, content with a decent amount of one-way comments to boost the post in the algorithm.

If you want to build a strong community, you have to foster it, and part of that is showing up daily in your own feed. When a post goes out from your company’s social account, this is just the beginning of life for this post; the beginning of the conversation. Now you need to continue the dialogue. Answer questions, point out humorous responses, and take a genuine interest in the interests of your fans. You never know where these micro-conversations may lead. Sometimes the story you just posted may lead to a second story of its own, whether it’s a great customer testimonial or a new human interest piece. One of my personal favorite stories was following up on a simple comment on a Disney Parks TikTok of a gentleman we featured saying he was her dad! After a little research, we found out that this was indeed the father of this Disney fan showing up in our feed, who also worked in the park alongside her dad! Their story made for a fantastic follow-up and viral TikTok with a million-plus views, all because we took the time to follow up in our feed.

Surprise & Delight: Imagine going to a concert, posting a picture on social media, only to have Taylor Swift (or insert your favorite artist here) comment on it the next day, thanking you for coming out. Day made, right? As a brand, there is so much power in surprise and delight. Building a true social community requires you to go beyond your own social feed and dive into the personal social feeds of fans and prospective fans. Stanley, the maker of the famous tumbler, made waves doing this just last year. If you don’t know the viral story: after a TikTok went viral showing a Stanley cup not only surviving a car fire but still having ice in it, Stanley reached out to replace the car and, of course, sent some new Stanley cups.

Surprise and delights don’t have to be elaborate. They can be as simple as a comment on a fan's feed. What’s important is looking for organic ways that your brand may show up in the daily lives of your fans outside of the content you are making.

Become The Trusted Source: Americans are 6-7 times more satisfied when working with a live agent over an automated customer service bot, and who can blame them? In an ever-changing world with new AI technology springing up and being implemented across every industry, “the human touch” is becoming more and more rare. On social media, it’s vital that your brand voice isn’t comparable to an AI bot with premeditated responses. You need to establish your brand voice as a real persona with likes, dislikes, and a particular sense of humor. Have you established guides to how your brand responds on social media? Have you established go-to GIFs your brand may use? Have you thought through the style of humor your brand may have? We go to social media to connect with other humans, not corporate entities, so we need to ensure the brand voice you are creating is a true embodiment of your brand. Spend time establishing your brand voice. Get specific with it. And perhaps most importantly, have fun with it.

When you take the time to develop your brand’s social presence and show up, magic can happen. Have fun and stay social, my friends.

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