Despite the inherent purpose of social media, there are times when community involvement and interactions dwindle. Even if you are producing amazing content, there are reasons for why comments, re-tweets, replies, +1’s, ‘likes’, and pins can wane. To overcome this, there are many strategies and tactics that community managers can employ to incent and encourage social behaviour.
FOLLOWING ARE 5 STRATEGIES FOR ENCOURAGING SOCIABILITY:
1. ASK FOR IT
This is pretty straight forward, but sometimes you simply need to ask, or tell, your community to be social. Tell them to re-tweet something if they like it, or ask them to ‘like’ a post if they agree with a point you’ve made. You’ll be surprised how well this works, particularly for communities of scale.
2. REWARD SOCIABILITY
Utilize virtual or real rewards to incent and encourage sociability. Virtual rewards can include re-tweeting comments or endorsements made by your community, responding to a particularly valuable comment, or +1 or ‘liking’ the type of social activity you’re hoping to promote. Giving chosen community members a few minutes in the spotlight in your community can be a powerful motivator of future sociability.
Alternatively, you can reward socialbility using real incentives such as discounts, samples, free product, or prizes. An example of how to employ this tactic would be to tell your Twitter following that if 50 people re-tweet one of your updates that you’ll offer a 20% discount that day. Not only will you experience more re-tweets, but you will be encouraging your community to work together to achieve this goal, which is inherently social.
3. DEVELOP RELATIONSHIPS
If members of your community feel they have a direct relationship with the brand or the person/people managing your community, they will be more likely to be social. Mirroring real life, if people were to show up to a party and not know anyone, they would be much less likely to be outgoing and interact with others; the same applies online. Get to know your community and they’ll feel more comfortable and confident contributing socially.
4. SEED INTERACTION
Nobody likes to be the first one to a party. This holds true in social media as well. When someone arrives on your page or feed and there are no comments or signs of social activity, the perception is that there is nobody there which mitigages the value of contributing. To overcome this, encourage people in your organization to actively participate in your social communities and to be the first individuals to ‘like’, comment, @ reply, re-tweet, +1, or pin. When others arrive, they’ll sense the momentum behind your most recent content and be more inclined to engage with it as well.
5. REACH OUT
Sometimes you need to employ tactics that require you to venture from the comfort of your own social communities to engage in conversations elsewhere. Target communities that are related or complimentary to your own and get involved. If executed correctly, you will be able to draw people back to your community to continue the conversation.
How do you encourage and cultivate engagement, interaction and sociability with your social community? It would be great to hear from you in the comments.
As always, if you have any questions or anything you’d like to chat about, feel free to touch-base.
Photo credits: Photoshopped using Connections (mideastposts.com) & Unknown
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