Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)
Every day I get request from people who are tired of investing time in building a strong brand community. Some have tried severally to build a profitable and engaging community without success. Some of them are aware that there is a possibility that such state exist where a brand can achieve long desired goal of engaging its strong community to make profitable venture.
While I do not have all the answer to this, I have come to note through personal experience that strong community is a product of hard work, strong relationships with others. Recently someone asked me why he could not get more than three followers after being on twitter for a year. My question to him was ‘how many people do you relate with in the course of your tweeting for a year?’ I also asked whether he relate with others in his industry or did he ‘retweet’ anyone’s punchy tweet that struck him? His answer also was no. So I wonder how this person’s efforts should have result. Strong online community is not only about pushing great content. Relationship, tactics and marketing will help in achieving great result than when an individual is trying to do it alone.
At the base of strong community, there are basic guidelines to follow.
Who are your target audience and what do they want: no community can satisfy everyone. There is need to narrow down on the strength of your brand community. Trying to reach everyone will scatter your efforts and no one wants ‘general public affairs’. Know who you are reaching and what they want to read or what interest them. Never forget that you have nine seconds before they form an opinion about your community relevance.
Be a socialite: Possessing strong social skills on how to build a strong community is a must for community builders. Learn how to mix and talk with people from different culture. Getting angry, use of inappropriate words will damage community efforts. Community builders are public figure. Manyof their followers have greater expectations from them. Most people who are following community leaders see them as role models. In all, community builders must also demonstrate their humanity. People need to see they are real. So there is need for a balance.
Learn to give/share freely: to build a strong community that is fully engaged and has larger following, learn to give freely. Be a reservoir of knowledge. Not that alone, you must learn to give out so much that major influencers will be made from the community members. Do not forget that when you do this, your influence spread and they will help in spreading the community voice.
Love what you are doing: In a recent networking session, I asked people how many of them love what they do so much they can forgo their sleeps for it? This is the reason why many people let go of many projects they are involved in. As soon as the oil of passion dried up in their bowel, people find all excuses to let go. If you are passionate about community building in a niche, you will continue to do it. You will also continue to learn how to do it better until you hit the ‘gusher’. Before you start, a community builder may need to answer the ‘do I love this question’ otherwise he/she will get stuck. It is not love for what you are doing alone, there is need to love people too. Along the line you will get over a hundred mails everyday asking for help. If you do not love people, you will abandon this project for what you think is important to you.
Link: After the above steps are satisfied, then the community builder can start linking the community with other platforms. First link the community to other articles you have submitted. Also link the community to your facebook fan page/ accounts and make sure you tweet the community efforts on your twitter account. Be actively involved in promoting other communities’ activities. Life is based on give and take. Over to you. Let me know what has work for you.