With the continued fragmentation of social networks, growing and nurturing your community through social media is more important than ever. As Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse urged in a previous blog post, “I don’t care what platform you’re on, start by creating that community with people.”
The importance of community was a topic she and Alan Hennessy, the Digital Mentor, as well as Kara Kampuzano, CEO of KC Creative, discussed on a recent episode about social media on Russ Hedge’s Russ Reels Live show.
Consistent and Relevant Communication Builds Interest on Social Media
Begin by ‘us[ing] the platform you’re most comfortable with and start by creating consistent content,” says Kara. “Once you've got that mastered…then start branching out. But branch out to where your audience actually hangs out, not where you like hanging out.”
She suggests actively engaging with your audience by leaving comments on other people’s accounts. This will peak their interest, hopefully leading them to look at your social media profile and eventually leave a comment on your account as well, thus broadening your visibility among others’ networks.
She also suggests directly tagging people by name in your posts and on your livestreams in order to get the attention of those who might not otherwise see what you’re sharing online.
Worried About Creating Content on Social Media? Focus on Engagement Instead
Kami recommends people think about social media as a tool to build community. “Don't think of it as getting started in social media –think of it as an extension of your networking in person.”
If you’re new to social media or new to a particular platform, “in the beginning it'll feel very lonely,” she admits, “so the first thing you should do is find a couple of people to follow and then just engage, engage, engage.”
She advises using the 80/20 approach, which consists of having 80 engagements with others such as comments, likes, and so forth, and creating 20 original posts of your own. In other words, make your online actions heavily external-facing.
Russ agrees with this approach. “If you're not pouring into other people, and giving and reaching out, and engaging and caring about what they are doing, they're not going to really care about what you're doing. If you want people to be interested in you, you have to be interested in them.”
Adds Alan, “there's a computer screen [between us and] we’re thousands of miles apart, but we're still engaging here, we're still talking like we would if we were in the room together.”
Don’t miss an opportunity to invest in others, he warns. “I see people online where they've put up this fantastic post and someone will come along and they'll just put a thumbs up to it. That really doesn't mean anything. Okay, that's saying ‘yes, I've acknowledged that you've wrote this,’ but it doesn't give me an insight on how you felt about the post, what's your opinion on it.”
Engaging is also a way to build goodwill and trust, he says. “If you start sharing your opinions and start engaging with people on these conversations, that's how you build your network and that's how you build trust and also likeability, because people start to take notice of you.”
Add Massive Value with Your Content on Social Media
Carefully consider the quality of what you post as well. “Is it of value to the people that are reading it? That's the most important part here – adding value to someone's life. Because if they're taking the time out to read your content, you want to be able to engage them, you want to entertain them or inform them,” he says.
Working on building community is the foundation upon which future collaboration is often built. Russ explains that, ”not only do you build connection and community, but then you find out where you can help each other.”
Practically speaking, “you need to be doing business and your business needs to thrive,” Alan notes. “What social does is it opens the door to what you have to offer. Once you start using social media, you get an audience that starts to know you that may have never known you before.”
From Online to Offline: How Social Media Bridges the Gap and Fosters Real-World Connections
An important thing to keep in mind about social media is that it transcends geography. People from all different parts of the world can interact with those whom they might otherwise not get a chance to meet. But social media doesn’t just connect people online. It also allows people to connect where they live and work. As Kami points out, “social media isn't just online, it kind of moves between the worlds of online and offline.”
Referencing Ted Rubin, Alan explains that the process involves first “start[ing] online [and then] , you tak[ing] it offline. But you also bring it back online so you're always aware of what's going on in that person's life, so the next time that you meet them you're going to be able to hold that conversation” about what they’re up to. “We do it with our friends, we do it with our colleagues who we work with….There's no difference between the online world and the offline world.”
Connecting with your audience on a human level is vitally important. “You're not better than your audience, you are just a conduit to community for your audience. As a conduit to community, your role is to lift up the people that follow you,” says Kami.
Extending this idea, Russ notes that, “I think that makes everybody better. That makes the world better when we're kind, caring, and we work to lift each other up and work together instead of working against each other, and I think that is crucial.”
Kami adds this final thought: “You can basically do almost anything with the community that's willing to support you. You can almost do nothing by yourself. So if you're trying to get people to pay attention to you, then pay attention to people and people will lift you up.”
To learn more from Kami, Alan, and Kara, watch the recording of the full livestream.