It’s no secret that our industry is heavily regulated, even stigmatized. It may seem unfair that content about sex education and intimate wellness gets lumped into the same category as pornography. Since we haven’t been able to take advantage of paid media, due to social networks’ policies, we’ve built this community through organic content and an education-based strategy. Now that Platanomelón has reached a million followers on Instagram, we want to share with our colleagues in the industry what we’ve learned along the way and what’s worked best for us, helping us to reach so many people.
Define a brand personality
People follow brands that have clear stances on current issues, and brands whose values match their own. Don’t try to get everyone to like you! Know your values and your brand positioning, and act accordingly. Don’t be afraid of the haters. If you want to build a strong community, you have to focus on reaching the people who share your vision, and forget about those who don’t.
Provide content that has value
Social networks are an exceptional sales channel, but don’t just try to get people to make a purchase. If your objective is always conversion and your content is always focused exclusively on sales, your audience will get tired of you, and it will be impossible for you to build a strong community. Nobody wants to be bombarded with advertising!
The secret is to maintain a balance between content geared toward selling and content that helps generate community engagement. Listen to feedback from your brand’s followers and ask yourself: what does the community expect of this brand? Then offer them content that has value beyond a sales pitch. Give them reasons to continue being part of your community. If you do a good job on your content, you won’t need to create “advertising” content for your audience; you will be able to organically integrate your products or services into conversations on social networks.
Listen, listen, listen
We follow a person or brand to hear what they have to say, but it’s very difficult to have a real conversation because social networks are designed for one-way communication. Overcoming this is the key. Find a way for your community to interact with you — and more than that, try to get them to interact with each other. Listen to their opinions when they comment on things you share, and learn from those comments. You can discover new points of view and new ideas that will help you create content in the future.
Really listening means having the capacity to recognize that you don’t have a monopoly on the truth, and that your followers may teach you something you didn’t know. When your community changes your mind, don’t be afraid to admit it. Remember: this is a conversation, not a monologue.
Constantly analyze your results
Listening is important, but so is interpreting information. We need to have a clear objective in mind with each piece of content we share: Do we want to start a conversation? Reach a wide audience? Reach new types of people?
Once content is posted, it’s important to analyze its performance and see if it has achieved its goal. With each piece of content you post, seek to confirm whether it had the desired effect, and apply what you learn to future content. If you know that a certain type of content sparks the most conversation, try to create this type of content when you want to start a discussion within your community. If one post has been shared much more than the rest, analyze the possible reasons why and try to replicate them when you want to reach a wider audience. What your followers are saying is just as important as the data Instagram provides you. Don’t ignore any of this feedback, and apply what you learn to the content you share in the future.
Be active and consistent
Consistency and patience are indispensable tools when creating any community. Make sure to share content regularly. Once again, the secret lies in balance: don’t let them forget about you, but also don’t let them get tired of seeing your content.
Interact with your community, and try to be fast. Social networks demand immediacy — don’t take too long to respond to the comments and direct messages your followers send you. Respond to every DM that you receive!
The people who are part of Platanomelón’s community share their problems with us, give us their opinion on the topics we address and ask us for advice each day. Our job as a brand is to provide support to the people who are part of our community. That’s why we answer every one of the messages we receive through social networks, and we try to do so immediately. In my opinion, this has been the true key to building a community as strong as the one we have today.
In summary, social networks are the best channel there is for interacting with your customers and with people interested in your brand. We should do more than just use these platforms as sales channels; we should leverage them as sources of constant insight and feedback that help us continue growing.
Tips for Growing Followers, Building Loyalty Through Social Media by Anna Boldú originally appeared in XBIZ