Eby Ghafarian, an Independent Social Media Marketer, kicks off our afternoon tracks sessions focused on Community Culture & Strategy. He begins by discussing the necessary steps to begin building awareness:
- Research: ask your audience (or potential audience)
- Narrow your scope
- Prepare to fail
- Stimulate the conversation
In preparation to understanding a company’s community, he stresses that surveys aren’t necessarily the best option, instead utilize what’s available: forums, comments, and Twitter. It’s essential to establish trust and keep the conversation going, it only hurts the company if you participate in these online areas and once information is captured you then leave, this is a break in trust.
Then companies should focus on relevance, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean a company should. In turn, you should keep your community members’ investment in the community low and simple – don’t force them through long rigorous registration forms. In turn companies’ can take advantage of open platforms.
But the process is difficult, companies’ must be prepared to fail, because technologies and community strategies are constantly changing and new tools are launched regularly, can anyone truly say what will work for them unless they launch and let their community tell them what works and what doesn’t?
Therefore communities give companies an opportunity to engage their audience, they are their in the community for a reason either brand loyalty, contextual relevance, and great content. It’s important than for companies to have a hand’s on approach with the communities they launch. Which means that community managers shouldn’t be the only ones involved. It’s critical that everyone in the company take part and share especially around their expertise, it will help create the impression that the company is not simply monolithic, but made up of actual people prepared to share and interact with the audience.