Community Building

Community Building 101: Stop pitching your products, start promoting your people

There is nothing wrong with using social channels to sell.

In fact, there are many companies that do a great job of selling on social (e.g. Moz, Hubspot, Social Media Examiner). The difference between companies that sell well on social — and those that don’t — is based on the community they formed online.

Brands with thriving communities get more attention, more engagement and more visibility with their social posts. If you want to build a thriving online community, stop using your social channels to sell.

Why Selling Stunts Your Growth on Social

Here are a few reasons why selling on social channels can stunt your community growth …

Selling constantly on social channels is annoying (like a stream of sophomoric selfies) 
Some companies think that every tweet should direct people back to their landing page or a salesy blog post. They think every Facebook post should be about themselves. They think that a constant stream of self-serving social posts will eventually reel in a customer. The problem is that those salesy social posts rarely get engagement — and often just get ignored.

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Community Building 101: You can’t lead without listening.

You can’t lead an online community without listening to them.

The trouble is that we struggle to make time to listen – and don’t always have the best tools to help us listen smarter. Besides, we have content to produce, social posts to schedule, blogs to write, meetings to attend, campaigns to work on, and reports to run.

However, If we want to be better community builders, then we need to be intentional about listening.

Why We Struggle to Listen to Our Communities

Here are a few reasons why we struggle with listening:

The trouble with listening is that there is no immediate ROI.
One reason why we have trouble listening to our communities is that we have nothing to show for it when we’re done. Listening is passive – and we’ve produced nothing at the end. If you spend a full day listening to your community, you have nothing to show for it. Well, you could produce a canned “social mention” report with word clouds, social mention counts, and sentiment analysis – but that’s just an automated report that anyone can run. Those automated reports only help you with listening, they don’t listen for you.

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Community Building 101: Focus on building friendships, not followers

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I just got back from hanging out with friends and colleagues at the FinCon conference in New Orleans this past week.

Aside from the informative and entertaining sessions, FinCon is an opportunity to actually shake hands, hug, and hang out with those I’ve engaged with online.

FinCon is a place where you can move an online relationship into an offline friendship.  And that’s the glue that keeps this personal finance community growing – and why we all keep going back every year.

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The Definitive Guide to Hosting a Successful Tweetchat

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My favorite part of the week is when I get a chance to host and join our weekly tweetchats.

Tweetchats are great because it allows you the opportunity to meet and engage with dozens and dozens of people in real-time. I’m always learning something new and meeting amazing people in these chats.

In the last year, I’ve launched a weekly #CreditChat and #MarketingChat and want to share with you my process in case you’re interested in hosting your own at some point.

This is my process …

Research Phase

Find out about dates and times of any tweetchats that have similar topics as yours.
Before launching your own tweetchat, make sure to find out if there are any tweetchats that already exist on a similar topic. Simply do a Google search for “topic + tweetchat” to see what appears.

When I was getting ready to launch #MarketingChat, I found out about many different digital marketing chats that already existed. I also discovered this crowdsourced tweetchat schedule on Google Docs that archives all known tweetchats along with date, time, topic, and who moderates.

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The Art & Science of Getting Retweeted

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As a community manager, I’m always studying my company’s tweets to see what content drives more engagement than others.  And this can help me decide on what type of content we need to be developing more of.

Researchers at the Palo Alto Research Center studied 74 million tweets through the Twitter API to discover common attributes of tweets that get retweeted.

They wanted to find out what elements in a tweet helped increase the retweet rate (e.g. URL, hashtag, mentions) and what about tweet authors drove more retweets (e.g. follower count, followee count, age of account, number of favorites by user, etc.).

Here is what they discovered:
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The Art & Science of Writing Questions to Engage Your Online Community

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A big part of my job as a community builder is to encourage community members to engage with each other and the brands I work with.

One way that I’ve been building engagement with my communities is through live events (e.g. chats on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+). There’s nothing like live online events to build rapport with community members – and improve relationships.

When hosting live events (e.g. tweetchats), it’s important to know what sorts of questions you want to ask to encourage conversation.

Let me share with you some tips to writing engaging questions …

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How to Get More Visibility, Engagement, and Followers for Your Company on LinkedIn

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Do you want to increase your company’s visibility on LinkedIn?

Over the last year, I’ve been spending a lot of time on LinkedIn trying to figure out ways to grow my company’s reach, engagement and followers.

I can’t share our stats or dashboards from our LinkedIn analytics – but I can share ways that I’ve learned to dramatically increase our follower count and engagement.

Here are some ways to help you boost your company’s reach on LinkedIn:

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