COVID-19 not only reinforced the popularity and power of social media, it also stressed the tremendous potential of social media groups. Cultivating and leveraging these groups can accomplish many things. It can increase brand awareness, uncover new leads, amplify web traffic, generate more sales, heighten brand engagement, establish a loyal community around the brand, raise customer satisfaction, improve media mentions, and gather more consumer feedback.
Here are some tips to get started:
Forming a social media group
This is the most important part of the plan. Organizing a social media group that satisfies consumer interests is key. If the brand’s been gathering information and surveying its customers, that makes the chore a lot easier. Having that kind of data would also be invaluable in identifying appealing content. If neither has been done, it’s not too late to survey customers and find out. Some new ideas and suggestions may even result from that.
Forming a group is one thing, but getting the word out is another. Brands must ensure that all avenues of communication, as well as its social media platforms, are ready to go once the decision to launch a social media group is made.
The objective of forming the group should be to inform and engage members with useful and interesting content in a positive environment. Establish rules so it’s clear what the purpose of the group is and what the desired outcomes are.
The selection of the appropriate facilitator is also important. He/she should have a personality that engages consumers and who isn’t perceived as a salesperson. He/she should be a good listener and take cues from consumers that result in engaging discourse in an upbeat setting.
Consumers sometimes have special content expectations on different platforms. Brands need to be sure they understand customer expectations and are using the right platforms to deliver the anticipated content.
Use every vehicle available to promote the launch of the social media group and publicize it at least a month in advance. Also be sure to clearly identify the content and perks of the group. Send out frequent reminders and ask consumers to share the word with their networks. Ask affiliated groups and allies to also help get the word out. It wouldn’t hurt to invite one or two of them for brief cameo roles in the launch.
Plan on having some creative ways to engage group members. Be sure to have loyal customers or allies present who are prepared to step in and help start conversations, if needed. It’s important that the facilitator be positive and prepared to offer up some prizes or perks. He/she should also be a good listener who’s able to redirect conversation if interests appear to be aimed elsewhere. Depending on the turnout, giving as many members as possible the opportunity to share their expectations, ask questions, and/or offer opinions would be valuable.
Afterwards, everything brought up in the group should be gathered and analyzed, particularly suggestions for upcoming sessions. Consider offering a customer a couple of minutes at a future session to discuss his/her issue. Empowering everyday consumers can be a powerful tool and result not just in loyalty, but also in heightened publicity.
Brands with no budget or bandwidth to launch their own social media group can get their feet wet by joining other groups. The experience gained by sitting in and observing can sometimes be valuable in planning future ones.