Being “social” is a combination of understanding both your online community as much as your offline community in regard to not only the type of content you are providing them, but also the volume of information. You don’t want content to over-load, but you do want them to read the information that is important to them.
Here are some tips for strengthening your online community presence and keeping your readers engaged:
Know Your Audience
Those who develop and create content for online communities-whether it’s associated with a university, a charity group or any other common interest group, should remember their user from beginning to end. Consider:
- What does your group want to hear, read or see?
- What is going to engage them long enough that they won’t be tempted to click away?
- Is it a visual, a video or the just-right snippet of copy?
As the online community developer, you need to study your target audience carefully. This is critical. You want to engage as much as possible while providing a wide variety of material.
Take Gen Y for example. This group of individuals is highly focused on social media more so than any other generation. They want messages delivered in a clear cut manner, as quickly as possible. Content provided online helps them learn more about the niche communities they care about on and off line.
Determine the Outcome
Although you want to build and brand your community, just as you would with any organization, you need to strategize what the outcome will look like. Will you consider yourself successful with more clicks on your page? More likes? More followers? Identifying your goals will help you define what you should write about to attract your online community. Take the time to write out your strategies and your tactics. You may be surprised that they aren’t what you originally thought.
Find the Middle Ground
“Too many choices can overwhelm us to the point where we choose nothing at all.” ~Professor Sheena Lyenger from her book tittled, “The Art of Choosing.”
Finding the happy medium for the quality of content you share will not only allow the community to grow closer with one another, but grow in numbers. The more users that are attracted to you, the more recognition your community will receive. However, when there is too much content for users to look through, it can send the wrong message. As Stephanie Grieser from Unbounce poses “Is too much choice killing your conversation rates?”. Striking the perfect balance is an important to the online community pie.
If you take TD Bank’s Twitter account for example, several young users read their tweets because they are creative, fun and engaging. The content is informative but not overbearing. Again, utilize your online tools effectively. Providing too much content or not enough could be perceived by users as having to take the time to sift through the good, the bad or the ugly.