As part of my Masters in Parsons I looked into how to grow an online community. So I have created a simple tool Kit
1) ‘Content is king’ so make sure everything you post, collaborate on, share, and care about online goes towards your brand. Make sure the content is tailored to the brand (even if that is just you), is interesting, is engaging enough to draw people in and use it as a great opportunity to explain what you do and why people should care.
2) Easy shareable links – whether this is through the use of Twitter or via an email and give people a reason to share. This could be through an interesting Twitter campaign or a promotional offer.
3) Get people to refer a friend by encouraging word of mouth and help to build a community. It could be done through a simple referral code that they forward on to friends with the possibility of perks for doing it.
4) Using different social media channels to bring in new people, such as facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or blogs. Facebook in particular is useful for notification pop ups and adverts which prevent posts being lost (something that can happen on Twitter).
5) Seek feedback wherever possible because if people feel involved in the process they will support you more and it allows you to identify what’s working and what’s not. If campaigns weren’t successful then ask why!
6) Finally, use the above but stay actively it! The rule of thumb is to post to Twitter at least 5 times a day, post to Facebook five to 10 times per week and post to LinkedIn once per day. But only post if the content is there.
What we did?
To test as much of the tool kit as possible for our pilot prototype we did the following things over the period of a week and measured the results.
1) We started to help build out the Facebook page for the parent company as we didn’t have time to successfully implement one for the app itself.
2) Initiated a Twitter campaign for better engagement. We used hashtag campaigns to try and engage the community to see what if it would get people more active on Twitter, increase the Twitter follower numbers, bring more traffic to the site and result in more sign ups. These links are easy to share and easily spread. Furthermore the content itself is tailored to the app which makes it more engaging for the users.
3) Used shareable links in the newsletter. The newsletter had a huge open rate but this didn’t drive action, by using shareable links it meant users could reach out to friends or Twitter followers to promote the brand
To measure our results we compared the stats for each area to that overall and also that of the previous week.
Firstly we started to see an increased following for the parent company on the back of our facebook promotion. We realised that the more social media presence the bigger the potential network and for Facebook we saw an increase of 31 followers which was a 12% increase overall and a 700% increase in comparison to the previous week.
Though our Twitter campaign only saw an increase of 3 followers the engagement statistics greatly increased. We saw a 200% increase in likes compared to that of the previous week and a 50% increase for the overall month. We also saw a 200% increase in content shared compared to that of the previous week and a 12% increase overall. This led to more people being able to see the content which was key to what we were trying to achieve.
Finally, the newsletter saw an increase in signups of 6 people. The open rates for the newsletters was already very high at 43% but it lacked click throughs. The introduction of more engaging content and a shareable like saw the click throughs increase by 32% overall.