To build and engage a large community network is a challenging venture, for it will be necessary to design and follow a thoughtful strategy to optimize the chances of success. Such a pathway should be built upon the following principles:
- Concentrate efforts: start with one social media platform and extend presence in other channels progressively. Build an engaged community first in one platform –Facebook is likely to be the best choice- and then leverage this network to the other platforms one by one, considering which target audiences you are most likely to engage with in every platform.
- Be relevant and honest: building a network is about net giving and building trust, so be selective and set high standards for the quality of your content, making sure it is interesting to the target audience. Show transparency about who are you and what you do, allowing community members to research and test on what you are claiming for.
- Foster interactivity: posing questions, organizing contests and generating discussion is the way to create buzz for the destination brand and ultimately engage the community members. Further, promptly answer the questions and try to build personal relationship with members, and especially with the community leaders. Let them take the initiative to further engage them as active members.
- Show your face: beyond the online connection, personal relationships need an offline experience to build trust and cooperation. Start by showing pictures or videos of the team members to show the human side of the destination brand, and then organize offline events to let everybody know each other personally.
- Take it easy: building a network requires time and patience, so track the evolution of the network growth but do not expect great results in the short term. Set high objectives but be prudent in your expectations. Prioritize consistency by engaging the right targets rather than intending to grow fast disregarding the kind of people you are engaging.
Do you think of other key principles to be considered?