Do you feel like you’re putting yourself out there on your website, blog, or social media channels but not getting a lot back? Here’s how to harness your web and social channels to deepen your existing relationships and gain a lot more new ones. It’s time to spread the love.
Have you introduced yourself to your followers on social media? Even if you have before, it’s a good idea to repeat your intro every so often to welcome new followers. Here’s a post Jenna and I did on Instagram introducing ourselves with a photo and short bio. It was encouraging to see the genuine introductions from people we hadn’t met and the conversations that have continued as a result. Don’t be afraid to end your intro post with a question such as ‘Now tell me about you!’ or ‘What are you passionate about?
Publish updates consistently
Are you blogging on your website and posting on social media regularly or do weeks go by without an update? It’s easy to let updates fall by the wayside but one of the quickest ways to kill that awesome community vibe is to go MIA and let your channels appear dormant. Set yourself a schedule that’s achievable and stick to it. People trust consistency and like any of us, respond best to regular conversation.
Share the good work of others
Do you like the way that wedding photographer you worked with snapped your floral bouquets? If you’re a midwife, do your clients rave about a particular pregnancy yoga class or product? Give those providers a massive compliment (and more publicity!) on your social channels or blog posts. Who doesn’t love a compliment? And chances are, if you send out good karma, you’ll get some back and attract fans and advocates along the way.
Comment on blog posts
Do you want people to comment on your blog posts? Karma definitely applies to blogging too. Make it a habit to comment on three other blogs you follow for every one post you write. Also, share blog posts you like on your social media channels and – most importantly – say why you like them. Let people see that you’ve thought about what you’re posting, and don’t be afraid to share your opinion. All of this reinforces your brand and paints a clearer picture of your personality.
Interview community experts
People love to hear from experts. Plus, interviewing someone means you don’t have to think of content ideas for your blog! Win-win! Find an expert or someone you admire in your industry to do a guest blog post. Or whip out your iphone and do a three-minute video interview with them. It doesn’t have to be fancy, long or complex. Interviews with voices of authority in your industry give you lots of credibility with your community and often stimulates some great discussion.
Find out where your community hangs out
Monitor who talks about the things you care about. One easy way is to use a site like Mention, which lets you set alerts for keywords and monitor who talks about them. You can set up a basic free trial account and set alerts for keywords that represent your brand, product or service. Once you see who talks about your keywords, start engaging with them.
Ask your influential members to be champions
Do you notice one or two active people in your community who are commenting, sharing and interacting with you or your business frequently? Nurture your relationship with them. Get in touch and ask if they would be willing to be an online champion. This could be in the form of writing a testimonial about your services or products, sharing your social posts every so often, or just continuing to be actively engaged with your content. Make sure they know you appreciate them.
Pay attention to what your community talks about
What are the big issues in your community? If you’re a celebrant, stay on top of industry news such as gay marriage or ceremony trends. Are you in a pregnancy business? It seems like every week there’s a new study out about what foods, exercise or remedies are best for pregnant women. Share a current news article related to your industry and ask your followers what they think.
Check out this hilarious news article posted by the pregnancy and parenting podcast, The Longest Shortest Time.
Do your best to respond to enquiries and comments
When people email you via your website, it’s ideal to respond within 1-2 days. I can’t tell you how many times I emailed wedding vendors when I was planning my wedding from abroad, only to get a response a week later or sometimes, no response at all!
On social media, you don’t have to respond to every like on your posts, but make your followers know you’re there by responding to comments as much as you can. Even a smiley face lets people know you’re paying attention. Once your followers see that you are actively listening to their conversations and comments, they will engage even more.
Boost connection by sharing stories
There’s something powerful about the way human stories bring people together. Ask your clients if you can share their stories with your network. Also remember to check in with your client in future to get an update – be it a birth, anniversary or other milestone – and share an update with your followers.
Get out there and shake some hands
With so much of our social activity being screen-to-screen these days, it’s easy to forget the value of interacting with our community in the flesh. In-person efforts go a long way towards building your online community, be it conferences, networking functions or social events. And as a bonus, you learn gain new industry knowledge and insights.