Social Media Strategy beyond your Company Page
Social media page vs Online community
Social media activity, although a big trend these days, has been around since the dawn of the commercial Internet. AOL chatrooms, forums boards, and newsgroups filled their basic role years ago. But now that the services these once robust portals offered have become individually commodified, social networks are numerous. While having a social media account for your company is necessary, it hardly counts as branding in terms of ROI, especially since you are bound to the service’s TOS.
More and more reports emerge from the arena regarding both the outpouring of help some in need have receive through social media and the condemnation of those who have suffered social media backlash. Experts are then beginning to realize that these networks, however independent from one another, are part of a larger community that has few brand loyalties.
On mainstream social networks, your followers do not see your brand or discussions as coming from a “community”. You are merely another account in a larger community with which they sometimes interact. A social media page is not your “online community”. It’s just another account on another social media site with your corporate branding at the top of the page.
Online community & Sense of community
Most companies need communities built around themselves and their products. It’s not just another outlet for online interactivity. Instead of merely responding to complaints or thanking customers for their purchases. A community allows your company to disseminate information and ideas that target your entire customer base while bringing together like-minded individuals whose common interest happens to be you!
A hashtag is not a community, merely a topic of discussion. Few people are likely to become social media “Friends” with an anonymous stranger just because they both buy the same brand toothpaste. They will never see the profound and controversial response to that one customer which set off a small viral argument on your social media newsfeed. However, when these disparate persons join a community based on you or your product, they feel a connection to both you and your other customers. They not only see these otherwise direct exchanges but feel invested in them. They are not only more likely to notice these things but participate in them, and that increased activity brings more interest to your community, raises knowledge of your product, and often spurs new discussions regarding your company.
A community platform based on your company develops branding and allows you to directly target your customer base. Using mainstream social medias in the service of your own platform dedicated to your brand. That seems to be the best strategy to take the best of your online brand community.