How to Use Groups and Social Media Communities to Build a Brand

By on February 6, 2019

 Image Source: Public Domain Pictures

Social media and brand awareness have a close but tumultuous relationship. The attempt to leverage social media as a catalyst for business growth can be a huge challenge – as you may well have experienced. Many companies are ready to abandon social media altogether.

And why is this? Well, quite simply, social media is limited (and becoming more so) when it comes to organic reach – so much so that a 2017 study for BuzzSumo revealed a 20% decline in the average number of engagements with Facebook posts.

So should you throw up your hands and call it quits? Is it time to accept that social media is no longer the answer to achieving your business goals? Quite the opposite…

We must, as entrepreneurs have always done, adapt to the times. But what are the implications of this for building brand awareness through social media? Essentially: your strategy must be founded on tapping into the power of groups and social media communities.

Here’s how this approach operates. Imagine you’re in a room filled with your ideal prospects – a community of people with an interest in your area of expertise. This is exactly what social media communities and groups are: a virtual gathering place for common interests and problems.

One of the best ways to maximise the results you can achieve from using this strategy is to become an authority within the right communities. As Youness Bermime writes:

“Become a respected member of a community of people that are interested in your topic, share your ideas with them in posts, answer questions in comments. Become an authority in your niche that way”. 

This is your task: build your brand by reaching expert status for those who matter most to you.

Types of groups and social media communities 

Onto the nuts and bolts. What kind of social media communities exist?

Goal-oriented communities: Comprised of people looking to achieve a particular objective – perhaps one specific problem to be solved. With all luck, your business will provide that solution.

Intentional communities of shared interest: Enjoy rebuilding old motorcycles? Have a passion for mountain biking? Want to engage in continuing education? Social media provides virtual community centers for people to come together based on their shared interests. Figure out which communities will benefit most from knowing about your brand.

Communities based on cultural groupings or alumni status: Valley High Class of 2003? The Pan African Community of Toronto? The online sphere easily allows you to stay connected to a pre-existing group.

Communities based on professional connections: LinkedIn is the place to go to take advantage of this group type. Finding your niche professional community will go a long way towards building your brand as an authority among the right people.

So, identifying the kind of social media community where your brand will be impactful is important. Let me now share some insights into how to manage your engagement with groups on two of the major networking sites: Facebook and LinkedIn.

Tips for using Facebook Groups effectively 

Facebook has evolved in the direction of making community building its primary mandate. As Mark Zuckerberg announced in 2017, their new mission statement is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together”.

Organic reach for businesses is no longer as fruitful in this new incarnation of Facebook’s key objectives; nonetheless, generating traffic that’ll convert is more possible than ever if you build your brand within the right communities.

Here are my three top tips on how to align your mission of building your brand with Facebook’s mission of building community, so as to catalyze growth in your company:

  1. Answer the questions that people are asking:

People join Facebook groups because they’re seeking answers. Don’t believe me? Have a quick browse through any group and you will see the feed is full of questions. By offering your solutions, you immediately put your brand on the map in a manner that doesn’t seem pushy.

  1. Choose the right groups to belong to:

Facebook has made it straightforward to discover appropriate groups for your purposes. All you have to do is log into your account, hop over to GROUPS in the menu on the left, and you’ll be taken to a page where you can discover a diverse range of potential groups.

Read the exact descriptions of the groups that pique your interest, rather than wasting your time in areas that won’t serve your aims.

  1. Create your own group:

It’s now possible to link a Facebook group to your Facebook page. What an opportunity for a business owner! The level of sophistication of these groups has evolved to the point where you can sell from right within your group. Thus, a virtual community can both build your brand awareness and be a forum for you to execute sales.

Tips for leveraging LinkedIn Groups 

LinkedIn has also observed the power in creating avenues for the meeting of like minds, particularly based on shared professional interest.

The site’s move towards fostering community is great news for you. They’ve developed an approach to LinkedIn groups that puts user experience at the center. For example, they now send group members daily or weekly newsletters that sum up the group’s main activity. That means more engagement with the group in question and, by proxy, with your brand.

Here’s how to capitalize on what they have to offer by creating your own LinkedIn group:

  1. Make it topic focused rather than product focused:

You’ll draw people to your community by offering the chance to discuss topics of interest to them, rather than because they want to be advertised to. Choose a topic that directly relates to your brand so that your expertise offers the solution to your participants’ needs.

  1. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s additional features:

For example, use their message templates to get in touch with those who show an interest in joining your group. They even provide the option of using an application form so you can ensure that your community is comprised of appropriate members.

  1. Make use of cross-platform resources:

Use other active social media channels that are available to you to promote your LinkedIn group. It’s important not to sit back and think your group will grow of its own accord. Like any marketing effort, passivity gets you nowhere.

What else is out there? 

Whilst it’s likely that Facebook and LinkedIn will be at the forefront as you seek to build your brand, they’re not the only options. Here are some others you could try:

  • Twitter Chats: #usehashtagcommunitiestodrawattentiontoyourbrand.
  • Google Plus: Allows you to grow your audience through intentional threads.
  • WhatsApp: Can help you create groups from existing contacts to share relevant information about your brand.
  • Ryze: This is a business community that will help you manage your B2B interaction.

Why not experiment and see which platforms are the best fit for your brand?

Summary 

Organic social media posts have seen a decline in reach over the past few years, so the model for social media success is changing. Rather than broadcasting your message loudly to an unsuspecting broad public, the move is towards engaging intentional communities that are part of the niche you wish to target.

Depending on your specific purposes, Facebook and LinkedIn both offer outstanding chances to build your own community or engage with pre-existing groups. Both platforms are promoting this shift and have made it more feasible for business owners to interact with the right audiences.

Your job is to use social media groups and communities to find your tribe, or create a space where your tribe can find you!

About Charlie Carpenter

Charlie Carpenter is the co-founder and CEO of Kite. He is a mobile advocate with over ten years of industry experience. After working for large and small agencies for many years, he co-founded Kite; a software solution for print-on-demand, zero inventory merchandise, and personalized photo print goods. As well as an entrepreneur, Charlie is a seasoned product strategist with experience of various types of digital projects which include: Responsive and Adaptive Websites, Mobile & Tablet Apps, Hybrid Apps, Cross Platform App development. You can connect with Charlie on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter.
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