How To Stay Ahead Of The Social Media Curve With Community Content
We already know that two of the key components of a successful marketing strategy are great content and community engagement. But what happens when you combine these factors and use the results to benefit your business?
Community content is already becoming a must for any aspiring business to add to their repertoire. However, if left unmanaged, this content can just as easily become a burden as a boon. So to help you make the most of this unique brand of content, here are a few tips on what it can do for your business, and how to integrate it into your overarching marketing strategy.
Recommended reading: How Can Social Media Help Your Online Marketing Campaign?
What Is Community Content?
Also known as user-generated content (UGC), community content is the term used to describe contributions from members of a specific community, which interact with existing content or the brand itself. These can include the following:
- Feedback and reviews
- Comments and forum posts
- Blog posts
- Ideas and suggestions
- Video content
Of course, there are many other forms community content can take, and this will depend on the type of community creating it. Nevertheless, leveraging this content can be tremendously valuable, and is a great way to supercharge your social media offering.
Not only does it provide variation and relatable content for your community, but it will also flesh out your content calendar, meaning your followers always have something to engage with, without you needing to devote every waking hour to content creation.
Why Does It Work?
Social proof is a big player in the world of marketing. While your customers may trust and appreciate your brand, audiences in general will still be more willing to act on the recommendations of friends, family, and other customers, than on that of the company itself.
Community content is incredibly influential because it humanizes the marketing process. Your audience can then engage with content created by people they directly relate to through their mutual interest in your brand.
This content is more likely to be viewed, shared, and acted upon by your audience, generating a higher number of organic impressions that content generated solely by the brand itself.
Building Your Community
UGC can only really take off when you have an established community. You need to know that your followers are going to get involved, or all your efforts could be wasted. There’s nothing worse than creating a custom hashtag for your latest campaign, only to have it fall flat.
A great way to encourage people to interact with your brand is to offer some kind of incentive. Why not run a competition, offer a discount code to those who post content, or create a temporary Snapchat filter. Taco Bell opted for the later with the Cinco de Mayo Snapchat lens, which turned users into a giant taco…
There may be some trial and error involved in determining the sort of offers and interactions that are most valued by your audience, so don’t be discouraged if your early attempts at engaging your community are less successful than you had hoped.
Social media is a self-propagating force, and audience growth tends to be acceleratory. Basically, the more your community grows, the faster it will expand from there onwards. In the meantime, by focusing your efforts on those who are willing to promote and share your brand, you can get the most out of early community offerings, whilst also rewarding those who are the most dedicated to your brand.
Preparing for the Future
Naturally, the digital landscape is always changing, and marketing strategies shift in tandem from one year to the next. Community content will become more important than ever in the coming months on platforms such as Facebook, due to imminent changes to their recommendation algorithms.
Under the new system, users will be more likely to see posts from friends and family than from brands, unless they have specifically selected to see that company’s content first. This means that businesses will rely more than ever on their communities to spread the word and build the credibility of the brand.
Once you’ve figured out the sort of content that gets your audience excited, you should also look at how to use this to drive traffic to your website. User reviews and pictures of customers showing their satisfaction are a powerful means of promotion, just take at look at these happy users on WebsiteSetup…
If your website also serves as an online store for your business, you can take user reviews a step further by linking back to the products sold by your business. The benefit of this is that potential customers can go directly to purchase the item they’ve just been inspired by.
GoPro has come up with an ingenious means of driving sales through community content, using its digital community “The Channel”. Users can post photos and video content captured with their GoPros, and viewers can then choose to “Get This Shot”, which will take them to the GoPro store, where they can purchase the camera used to capture that particular photograph or video.
Anything that increases positive engagement with your audience is inevitably going to be of benefit to your business. However, leveraging community content enables you to truly capitalize on these interactions, boosting the success of your business, while simultaneously showing appreciation to the most dedicated fans of your brand.
A good community manager and careful vetting of content is essential to ensure that nothing counterproductive slips through. So while this is a lower cost means of expanding your content portfolio, you will still need to allocate resources to this element of your marketing strategy. However, with the right management, and continuous interaction with your growing community, your efforts will quickly begin to pay for themselves.