Cultivating an online community

Cultivating community

Now that your page is set up, it’s time to start attracting an audience. Have you done these three things?

  • Invited colleagues, friends and family to follow or ‘like’ your page.
  • Added social media links to your website, newsletter, email signature and marketing collateral.
  • Started sharing content often to ensure you remain at the top of people’s feeds.

Remember, growing your social media accounts won’t be instantaneous, so don’t be deterred if your fan base is growing slowly!

Creating engaging content

Once you start posting often, you’ll begin to get a feel for which types of content resonate with your audience. Posts that get lots of engagement (likes, comments or shares) are likely to have hit the sweet spot. Understanding what it is about your content that is hitting the mark is important.

When reviewing how your posts have performed, take in to account:

  • what time of day your content was shared;
  • what format the content was in – was it a video, photo, or link?;
  • how long — or short — the text in your post was; and
  • what hashtags, geo-tags or accounts were mentioned.

Tip: The Sensis Social Media Report 2016 reports that 63% of Australians surveyed access social media networks in the evening, after work. Aim to schedule your posts to publish at this time!

How should I be measuring success?

The primary metrics social media platforms report on are:

  • ‘impressions’ – how many times a post has been seen;
  • ‘reach’ – the unique number of users that have seen your post;
  • ‘engagement’ – how many times users have interacted with your post; and
  • ‘likes’, ‘fans’, or ‘subscribers’ – how many people are following your account.

Review your insights or analytics with your social media marketing objectives in mind. For example, you might report on engagement stats if your aim is for people to click through to your website, or follower growth stats if you’re trying to position the organisation as having influence or authority in the community.

Facilitating user-generated content

Creating posts for your page doesn’t have to sit solely within your organisation. Sometimes the most engaging content can come from the community, partners, or followers of your social media channels.

Our tips for collecting user-generated content:

  • Ask colleagues and peers to share photos and updates of the work they’re doing regularly. Think along the lines of events, meetings, workshops, conferences – ‘EACH’ does this really well on their Twitter page).
  • Follow relevant hashtags and pages to seek out content to repurpose (with permission).
  • Connect with peer leaders and influencers within your target audience to approach for content.

Prompting participation

Encouraging people to share their experiences can be done easily by:

Hello Sunday Morning community questions

Case study: Hello Sunday Morning’s Daybreak app encourages people to change their relationship with alcohol. App users can share personal experiences and access support directly from the app.

Ready to reach a wider audience? Here are our tips.