Community building in the Meta age is a constantly evolving endeavor. By leveraging the vast reach of Meta’s platforms, you can create a vibrant, engaged community!
We’re in a time when communities are no longer just defined by the neighborhood in which you live. Now, they exist in the digital world as well. This orientation to a digital-first society offers some amazing opportunities to build a relationship with your audience. But let’s talk a little more about how you can actually build a community.
Community building is the way brands build loyalty and grow in this digital age. It provides a space for customers to truly engage with the brand (and each other for that matter). By providing a sense of belonging, the community becomes self-sustaining. In other words, it becomes its own ecosystem. In this realm, your brand is built through user-generated content and good ol’ word-of-mouth marketing.
With all of this in mind, let’s talk about what this article will delve into: mainly, community building within the Meta framework. We’re going to look at social features and interactions that are available across Meta’s platforms, followed by the best strategies for developing engaged communities. In addition, we’ll give you some real-world examples and tips you can use to navigate the system and take full advantage of it for your brand.
Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc., is a technology conglomerate that offers multiple social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and the newest addition—Threads. Each of these platforms offers unique avenues for community building:
Let’s talk about some of the features across Meta’s platforms:
Excitingly, community building has poured into the realm of virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR). Oculus is the platform for this, as it lets you hold virtual reality meetings, and have social spaces which are more personal and engaging. It’s not face-to-face, but it’s close!
If you want to build a community that lasts, you must know your objectives. Do you want increased engagement or better brand loyalty? More user-generated content? Each goal requires a unique approach.
Regardless of your goal, knowing your customer is everything. If you can develop a community persona, you can get insights into what your members are looking for in your community and how they like to engage.
For any community to function well, setting the stage with a clear set of guidelines and best practices is essential. These should cover everything from behavior and interactions to posting guidelines and rules for user-generated content.
Groups on Facebook and WhatsApp are great channels for discussing specific topics. You’ll want to make your groups welcoming and relevant, not to mention well-moderated in order to be sure your community members will keep using them.
Live events and webinars are great as interactive and real-time forums. Instagram Live or Facebook Live have easy-to-use features and also provide analytics and feedback you can use right away.
If your customers are willing to give you their own generated content, why not give them the tools to do so? Use Instagram stories, Facebook posts, or even a collaborative Oculus session to broaden your brand’s reach. You might also have to think about additional tools.
Let's say your community frequently engages with Word documents—whether it's co-authoring articles, sharing event agendas, or circulating internal newsletters. In this case, investing in a tool like a DOCX editor becomes crucial. Aside from editing, users can collaborate in real-time, add images, or even integrate the tool with other web apps.
The bottom line is—whatever tools you decide to incorporate, they must be useful to your community.
User reviews and testimonials are amazing for word-of-mouth advertising and showcasing them within the community can encourage more people to participate.
If you want high engagement, use rewards and games. Give points or exclusive access to content as a reward for contributions. One great idea is to offer exclusive VR experiences for your most active community members. Make it fun and rewarding and your customers will reward you back.
Emotional connection through shared values and narratives will likely be the most important aspect of building your community. Storytelling is part of being human. It’s one of the oldest ways we learned to connect to others. You can use this via Facebook Stories, Instagram reels, or even Oculus experiences. Your community will feel more connected to your brand and stay loyal longer.
GymShark is a great example of building a community in the digital space using powerful social media tools like Iconosquare. They used Instagram to build a community centered around their health and wellness services, mainly using user-generated workout videos, recipe sharing, and live fitness challenges. Now, they’re a hub for wellness inspiration.
EarthJustice is another example of good community building. They’re a non-profit that used Facebook Groups to create a virtual space for eco-conscious individuals. With their Facebook Live sessions, they discussed key issues and shared actionable tips that promoted action by their followers.
The NBA has been to create new immersive experiences for its community of fans. After teaming up with Meta, fans can now watch select games in VR through Oculus. Their fans get to see the games as if they were right there in the stadium, and even chat with the avatars of other fans in virtual attendance.
You must rely on data in order to know how effective your community-building efforts have been. Luckily, Iconosquare provides plenty of analytics tools to monitor metrics like engagement rates, user-generated content, and ROI. Use these measurements to refine your strategy going forward.
And of course, don’t forget to focus some of that effort on building good PR. The PR industry is worth $97 billion dollars for a reason - good PR has a massive effect on a brand’s engagement and feedback. Focus on metrics such as social engagement and the quality of media your communities are receiving.
Your community will keep growing and therefore your strategies should as well. You may need to transition a WhatsApp group into a 1larger Facebook community for example. Knowing when and how to scale is important for growing your communities.
For those looking to see rapid growth, consider strategies like hosting time-sensitive challenges or partnering with influencers for live sessions. These initiatives can give your community an immediate boost and draw in new members while you re-engage existing ones.
Community building in the Meta age is a constantly evolving endeavor. By leveraging the vast reach of Meta’s platforms, you can create a vibrant, engaged community that not only boosts your brand but also becomes a self-sustaining ecosystem of advocacy and loyalty. From persona creation and objective setting to new technologies like VR and AR, the avenues are endless.
Armed with these insights, you are now ready to take the plunge. Your next steps should involve outlining objectives, choosing the right Meta platforms, and launching your initial initiatives with a clear set of guidelines and best practices. Good luck!
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