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Last updated on 3/8/23

Get to Know Your Community

In the last part, we looked at the power of social media and how to integrate it into your organization. In this part, we will begin to develop a social media strategy. Let's start by defining:

  • Your customer's personas. 

  • How your community comes together.

  • What drives them. In other words, what can you offer in exchange for their time and attention?

  • How do you bring everyone together? 

Define Your Customer's Personas

To learn more about your community, you can look at its socio-demographic profile. But a more objective approach is to look at interests and behaviors.

If you find out that I'm a fan of windsurfing, I'm a vegetarian, and that I travel 3 to 5 times a year ✈️, that says more about me and my passions than if I tell you that I'm a 25-39-year-old female.

Take an interest in the passions of people who follow you. There are bound to be some similarities:

  • Football fans are also often video game fans.

  • Strategy game fans are often math or Japanese anime fans.

  • Cooking fans are often fitness and wellness fans.

  • And what about people who might be passionate or interested in your organization, brand or topic?

If you already have a Facebook page, the Facebook Ads tool will give you the first glimpse of your community's interests. You might be surprised! 👀

You don't have to place an ad to use the tool. Just start the process:

  • Select "audience."

  • Target the people who follow you.

  • Note the estimated target population.

  • Add people with certain interests to the targeting criteria (animated films, Asian cuisine, iPhones or Android, etc.).

  • Now find the ratio between the estimated target population obtained and the one you had at the start.

  • You get the proportion of people in your community who have interest/behavior X. 

For example, here's the Reebok Classics community profile in France. Out of an estimated 37,000 people, 8,900 like the brand and country music (24%). But 29,000 love the brand and hip-hop music (78 %), which indicates the artists with whom to foster partnerships. These figures are more the result of a content policy led by the brand for several years.

Facebook Ads doesn't provide detailed statistics on this point - this is just an estimate. But it offers a good overview. Don't limit yourself to it. Look for:

  • Their positions on social issues.

  • Their political affinities.

  • Related markets.

For example, if you represent a gym, find out what mainstream sports your community likes, if they use natural products, or their favorite energy drink. 💪

At first, this can help you answer some trivial questions: What to broadcast on the gym screens and what to offer in the cafeteria. Above all, it allows you to understand and host your community.

If members like natural products, communicate around the concept of health, balance, and a healthy mind in a healthy body. If members like combat sports or action movies, communicate the concept of effort, always more, and impressive physiques.

If you don't already have a Facebook page, the Facebook Ads tool won't help you. But you can do the same type of work by hand:

  • On the vast majority of networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc.), they suggest other accounts when you follow account X.

  • Although the recommendations are not always rational, you can get an idea of account X's ecosystem.

  • This allows you to explore another account, such as a competitor, a similar organization, or a partner. 

Understand How Your Community Comes Together

Remember, internet users are ordinary people like you and me. So they can get together offline before meeting online.

Is your community already in associations, federations, or clubs? Is it in the same geographic location? A restaurant, café, stadium, beach, festival, or casino?

It's important to frequent these places to understand your community. Immersion is a crucial step to construct or host your community effectively.

Examples: You can hear the chants of supporters in a stadium, and you'll get a deeper understanding of their culture. In a Greenpeace meeting, you will hear arguments then understand how activists work and behave with each other.

You can identify where your community is and how its members behave by looking for common interests. In principle, you'll navigate from network to network, on blogs or forums, and even peruse the comment sections of media articles.

Immerse Yourself in the Community

You've listed the topics and accounts that you have in common with your community, and you now know how they come together. Like everything that your community likes and follow everything that they follow. You can, of course, clean it up later, but you might find some interesting things.

With the help of social media algorithms, you'll run in the same circles as your community.

  • You'll come across the same content.

  • You'll develop their language and sense of humor.

  • You'll take part in the conversations.

  • You'll even be able to participate, naturally, without forcing your involvement.

If your community is on a forum, it's the same approach:

  • Sign up.

  • Observe the conversations.

  • Spend time in the community.

  • Join in on the conversations. 

Determine What Drives the Community

Determine what drives your community.

  • Is it entertainment such as funny and original posts, GIFs, and memes? Otherwise known as "snackable content" - the stuff we like and share without thinking. 

  • Is it practical advice? Save time, find the right information, and read reviews from people who have similar interests.

  • A good deal? One promo, one click, and they're happy.

  • The novelty, the exclusivity? Seeing a new basket before anyone else, an invitation to a launch party, a personalized and unique model.

  • Information, thirst for knowledge? Thought-provoking articles, videos to learn new things and new ideas.

  • Recognition? Their participation with the brand is valued; the brand answers them. They're important to the brand-almost a part of it.

  • The feeling of belonging? A very specific vocabulary and code, addictive, frequent content, an immersive universe, seemingly complex when they're not a part of it. 

For example : Pokémon (the "250 pokémons"), fans of Lady Gaga (the "Little Monsters"), or sports teams (they know the habits, style of play and personalities of each player).

  • The claim? Builds on values shared by individuals, as compared to values that are not their own.

  • Sharing experience, helping each other? You have probably already Googled a technical problem on your computer or phone. Most of the tips you read didn't charge for the information. Contrary to popular belief, the internet is full of well-meaning people. 

If there's no clear pattern, you could conduct a study. A simple survey (i.e., using Google Docs, Twitter, or Instagram) could help you better understand the community's wants and needs.

If you already have a community, people are likely to respond faster and provide more detailed information. For example, ask your community for concrete suggestions about what your organization could do for them. But don't limit yourself to this audience. You can search for people in other places!

Don't forget to identify the central people who drive your community. Those are the influencers or thought leaders. They generally enjoy a large community, can mobilize it, and influence its choices. They can be personalities, athletes, scientists, or activists. Or people who have gained influence through their social media activity.

Influencers are sometimes experts in their field (photography, education, do-it-yourself), and sometimes just trendy personalities. They can be compensated for promoting products or services, but they may also do so without financial gain, simply for the joy of sharing their experience.

You can work with them in different ways:

  • An exchange of visibility: whether bilateral or reusing content (a retweet, for example).

  • Paid partnerships: you have a contractual relationship, which must be mentioned in their publication(s).

  • Content co-creation: if you're a tourist destination, you can invite a photographer or videographer to produce content. They will then discuss their experience.

Or, you can build good relationships while waiting for professional collaboration. Interact, get in touch! Why not invite the person to meet you at an event? It allows you to get to know each other, gauge their sincerity as an influencer, and see if they use your products/services.

Bring Your Community Together

You have identified your community, you understand its organization, you've immersed yourself in it, and you know what drives it. You can now bring everyone together.

This is the stage where you expose yourself. Clearly define your value proposition. In other words, share what you can offer your community in return for the time that they spend consuming your content. To start, ask yourself what your organization offers that's in common with what drives your community.

If you're a car brand, and your community members want to save time, offer to inflate their tires and wash their cars wherever they are (at home or the office). Typically, this is the kind of extra service that creates or strengthens brand attachment. Doing this for free shows commitment. If you have a limited budget, do it only select times for a few very committed people.

It's up to you to find the idea that will allow your brand to galvanize your community around an activity, event, experience, or topic that will make them react, share, and create an attachment to your organization. Is it offering them products? Content? The opportunity to socialize and share their experiences?

Determine practical approaches, test them, abandon some, and even invent others!

Let's Recap!

  • Have a clear idea of the community profile and the different ones within it. Put yourself in their shoes, and always keep them in mind.

  • But a profile is not just a first name, an age, a gender, a profession, and a place of residence. Focus on what drives these people, motivates them, encourages them to interact, share your content, and engage with you. 

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