Once seen as the domain of cat posts and people sharing what they ate for dinner, social media has come a long way in the last decade. It's now one of the core marketing strategies, with 83% of marketers actively pursuing social media marketing initiatives, using social media to find, listen, connect, engage with and sell to their ideal audience. So, everyone who's got something to promotes knows they need to be on social media. But a lot fall into the trap of thinking that all they need to do is throw up some social media profiles and posts and they'll be overwhelmed by engagement. Not the case.
As Seth Godin says, "Build it, and they will come" only works in the movies. Social media goes more like this: build it, nurture it, engage them, and they may come and stay. With strategy and focus, you can build a tribe of actively engaged followers who love what you do and want to share it with others. Here are 5 tips on how you can build your tribe:
1. Understand who your tribe is
By trying to speak to everyone, you actually speak to no-one – you just get lost in all the noise. By narrowing the audience, you can better understand your segments' needs and pain points and ensure you answer their issues with the appropriate content.
2. Know which social media platform your tribe spends time on
This knowledge is really important because you can spend a lot of time and effort on social platforms that your audience just doesn't engage with. Not every influencer/business/brand needs an Instagram and a Facebook and a Twitter and a Snapchat. Focus on one to two platforms where you know you audience likes to spend time and do it well. Spend time learning all about this or these platforms to become a master in them.
3. Speak their language
Look at the way your audience uses language. Do they use slang or do they use industry terms? Are they formal or businesslike when they communicate, or are they relaxed? Each tribe has its own jargon and symbols. In order to resonate with your tribe, you need to not only be one of them but lead them.
4. Build relationships
Imagine if you walked into a networking event, stood on the table and started yelling about how awesome you are? Unfortunately, a lot of people use social media like this. They treat it like traditional media – as a forum to broadcast on. This is not the best way to build a tribe. Social media is about building relationships. It's all about being 'social'. There's no better way to connect with your potential customer and build a relationship that's not limited to one transaction. They can become raving fans. Those who are doing an awesome job on social media focus on the people in their tribe. While having large numbers on social media might look impressive, you will be more successful with a small tribe of engaged followers than a large tribe where no one interacts. Think about how you can spend a small period of time each day just connecting with people and getting to know them.
5. Find advocates in your tribe
This tip can really build your social media pages. After you've engaged with your tribe for a little while, you'll start to notice those who are engaging, liking and commenting on all your posts. These people are your advocates. Get to know them and let them know that you appreciate them. Reward them by giving them a shout-out or even a little gift. Feature them as case studies or interview them. Provide tools to help make sharing easier. Invite your advocates to invite their friends to your page. Even look at making them brand ambassadors and give them brand-exclusive experiences.
Mireille Ryan is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and CEO of the Social Media Marketing Institute (smminstitute.com.au). Mireille consults to government, industry and business regarding social media. She'll be one of the speakers at the upcoming Money In Sport conference, on the Gold Coast on November 12-14, 2017. Find out more about the conference at moneyinsport.com.