Updated: Mar 15, 2020
Maybe you’ve already begun building your social media communities. That’s good, but in this post we’re going to show you how to expand your communities. And if you haven’t started yet that’s all right too. The information in this guide will give you a framework to begin building your communities. Everybody you email, tweet and chat with is a potential member of your blog marketing community, but those aren’t the only people you need. Eventually, your community will include potential readers and people that know your potential readers. The people that know your potential readers are influencers that can share and broadcast your messages. In this post, we’ll show you the steps to build your community with all the tools available today.
What Is A Blog Marketing Community?
It is the collection of followers, subscribers and whatever else you want to call people that want the information you’re sharing.
It is the collection of people that will read your blog posts.
It is the collection of people that will comment on your blog posts.
It is the collection of people that will share your blog posts, sending them to their extended community.
It is the collection of people that will send you traffic, leads and sales.
Tip: Defining Your Target Community Member
Before we take you through the process of building your blog marketing community on popular channels like Facebook, Twitter and Email, we need to share a strategy for defining your target community member. You didn’t skip ahead already did you? This is important. Defining your target community member is the key to knowing where and how to build your community.
Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1 – Start A New Spreadsheet Using Google Drive
Note: For this guide we use a spreadsheet on Google Drive. It’s a cloud service that allows you and your team to work collaboratively on tasks including blog marketing. Save this spreadsheet throughout this guide. We will use the same spreadsheet to collect information that will help you market your blog posts.
Name the spreadsheet Blog Marketing.
Rename the first tab Target Community Member.
We recommend saving this spreadsheet on a shared server or cloud server where you and your entire team can access it and where there will be a single, master copy of the information.
Step 2 – Name Your Target Community Member
The goal is to have more than one person in your community, but creating this profile will help you build your community with the exact person that will read and share your blog posts while also helping you build your community.
Step 3 – Describe The Person
Make this as detailed as you can. Give the person an age, job, location, etc. List their hobbies and the type of information they like to read online. Finally, include the types of websites they use and their preferred social networks.
Step 4 – Add A Photo
Find a stock photo that fits the description.
That’s it! Now you’ve defined your target community member. This will help you determine exactly what channels are best for your blog marketing efforts. There is an opportunity to market you blog on every channel mentioned in this guide, but each business and each target is different so some channels will offer more opportunity than others.
Now it’s time to develop your plans to build your community. Your blog marketing community will encompass everyone that gives you permission to market to them, but each person will have a preferred channel or channels to receive those marketing messages. We cover the most important channels below.
Facebook is the largest social network. There are over 1 billion monthly active users on Facebook. If you want to build your community you want to go where the people are and people are definitely using Facebook.
In this section, we’ll go through the steps toward building a Facebook Business Page and the steps you can take to build a community of followers or Facebook users that like your page.
As you build the community, you’ll be able to market your blog posts to the community to generate traffic that can turn those followers into customers and repeat customers.
Step 1 – Setup Your Page
Visit Facebook For Business
Click the Create a Page button at the top. Facebook will take you through the steps of adding a logo, a cover photo and description information for your business.
Step 2 – Reach Out To Contacts On Other Channels
The first step to building your Facebook community is to reach out to everyone you know. Chances are they are probably using Facebook. Use this script when you email, call or talk to them in person:
Hi,I just launched a Facebook page and it would mean a lot to me if you helped us grow by liking us on Facebook. We’ll be sharing lots of cool content there including some things we think you’ll find useful.
Sign your name and thank the person again for their effort. You can make the message more personal depending on the relationship you have with the person, but this script gets to the point and is easy to repeat. Most people are willing to help out a friend and you’re piquing on their interest by suggesting that you’ll be sharing useful content on the page.
Step 3 – Like Other Brands & Comment On Their Updates
Look for brands that complement yours by searching on Facebook. You probably have a good idea of who these brands are already so you can look directly for them. Otherwise, search for terms relating to your industry and use hashtag searches to find relevant brands.
You’re looking for complementary brands. These are companies that don’t directly compete with yours, but that have the same target community member.
Let’s say you sell shoes. You could look for brands that sell jewelry or clothing.
The next step is to like these brand pages. Leave comments on the pages as your business page. Some businesses leave comments, but unless those comments are valuable and insightful you’re setting your brand up for failure. General comments that are irrelevant and bland are seen as spam and will do more harm than good.
To leave comments as your brand page you’ll have to switch to use Facebook as your business page.
The best way to do this is to reply to comments and questions that people have on the brand’s page.
You don’t want to impose on the brand’s page. However, if you feel you can contribute to the conversation with insightful answer it will be of benefit to the brand and to their followers if you share your knowledge.
This strategy will expose your brand to the exact type of people that fit your target community member profile. If you’re helpful and interesting you’ll become interesting to these people and they’ll want to click through to your Facebook page and follow you especially if you’re sharing all your interesting blog posts on your new Facebook page.
Step 4 – Use Facebook Ads To Get Followers
Facebook ads provide an extremely targeted way to build the number of likes you have for your business page. You can target the exact type of person you want to follow your page by narrowing the audience by age, interests, location and more.
With Facebook ads, you get a basic title or main heading and a short description along with an image.
The best way we have found to create Facebook ads to build followers is to ask a question with the title and offer something enticing with the description.
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When you target the right people with that ad you’ll get tons of clicks and tons of new followers.
Step 5 – Partnerships
Do you work with other brands or individuals in your industry?
You can create joint venture or co-branded content on Facebook that features helpful advice, insight or tips.
For individuals, this means finding another person in your industry (ideally with a good following). It might be two SEO experts creating a list of 6 tips (3 each) for Facebook search optimization.
For brands, find complementary brands that share your target audience. An example would be a footwear company partnering with an apparel company to create a trend update for the upcoming season.
You could post an FAQ update on your Facebook page and provide the content with a partner. Post the update on your page and have them post it on their page.
If you’re new you could even offer to create all the content and simply ask them to share it on their page as a joint effort. The tradeoff is that you get exposure to their audience, which is already established.
Step 6 – Create Unique Facebook Updates Complete With Hashtags
Facebook added hashtags after the functionality was relevant on other sites like Twitter.
But hashtags on Facebook quickly caught on with users and people do click on them to discover new content from new sources.
The goal of blog marketing with Facebook is to share your blog posts on Facebook and get traffic back to your blog. You’ll want to use hashtags with the posts you share, but initially you’ll want to create unique posts for Facebook that also include hashtags.
To do this, create as many bits of useful information as you can that relate to your company and industry. During the peak hours of the day, go to this list of updates and share them on Facebook ever hour.
Add the most popular and relevant hashtags to the updates.
What you’re doing is creating unique, useful content that people will discover when they click on the hashtag from other updates.
Beyond sharing new pieces of content on Twitter, there are a few strategies to implement to ensure that your blog marketing strategy is taking full advantage of Twitter.
Step 1 – Signup For Twitter
Visit Twitter and Signup For A Twitter Account.
The debate is still out there if you should create a personal Twitter account or a business account. The answer depends on the goals of your content marketing and blogging strategy. If you want to build your business that one day will grow beyond your own capabilities you should start a Twitter account for your brand.
But if you want to develop your personal brand then it’s best to start a personal Twitter account.
And you can of course do both, but you’ll be spreading yourself thin across both accounts. People have struggled to maintain multiple accounts even with automation.
When creating your Twitter account there are a few important choices to make to make sure your target community members can find and follow you on Twitter.
The first is the username. Keep your username simple. Use your exact business name or personal name if possible. Two variables determine if that is possible. The first is whether your ideal name is available. Some other Twitter user might have it already. The second variable is the fact that Twitter limits usernames to 15 characters.
If you can’t use your full name opt for a shorter version of the name without characters. Characters can confuse people that want to find you or that want to mention you in a tweet.
For example, if your business name is World Business Company see if World Business is available. Go shorter if possible. From there, use abbreviations to shorten the name of the business and for a last resort use characters such as “_” to create your username.
Once your username is set you’ll enter in the name that will appear on your profile. Set this as your brand name or as your personal name. Use the name people will most likely use when searching for your brand on Twitter. The name in your profile and how you type it is very important. Make sure to leave spaces between the words because if someone searches for “World Business Company” and you list your name as “WorldBusinessCompany” they will struggle to find you.
Your bio comes next. You get 160 characters to describe your brand. You can use hashtags and mentions (more on those next) in your bio. For example, if you create two Twitter accounts, one for you and one for your business, you can mention your business Twitter account in your personal bio.
With your bio, describe what you do and use terms you think people would use to search for interesting people to follow. People like to follow business leaders, CEOs, CMOs, founders and other similar titles.
Next up is your location and URL. Add the location of your business and obviously the link to your blog. People will follow this link when they discover your profile on Twitter either when someone else mentions you or if you’re found via Twitter search.
The final items that will complete your Twitter profile are the images. You get a profile image, a header photo and a background image.
Your profile image should be a headshot for a personal account or your business logo.
The header image could be a photo that represents your business like a shot of your office. It could be a custom illustration or collage that shows what your business does and includes some logos of companies you’ve worked with.
The background is another area where you can add branding information like your logo and some text or illustrations that explain the problem your business solves or the type of interesting content you share from your blog.
Many users now use the Twitter app, which doesn’t use all the images.
Step 2 – Reach Out To Everyone You Know In Every Channel
We’ll talk about ways to build your Twitter profile with people that prefer to use Twitter, but like Facebook and other social networks, it’s a good step to build your following with people that follow you on other channels. This includes anyone that follows or visitors your blog.
Place the Twitter Follow Button on your blog next to your email signup, RSS feed and other select social media follow buttons.
A good place for the follow button is right by the author area on every one of your blog posts. People often look to see who wrote a post. If they like what they read they’ll want to follow you. Make it easy for them by adding the Twitter follow button in this location.
Step 3 – Reply To Medium & High Profile Twitter Users
Use Twitter Search or a tool like Followerwonk to build a list of medium to high profile people that share the same target community as you. Look at the follower counts of people. Those followers are the people that you want to follow your new Twitter account.
Search for terms relating to your industry. With Twitter search, select the option that allows you to search for people. On Followerwonk you’ll be able to search for people as well and the default listing is by the number of followers each person has on Twitter.
You have two options once you develop a list of people. You can follow them or you can add them to a Twitter list and segment based on sub-categories of industries that are important to your business.
Following can work well especially if you follow only people that are similar to you and people that fit your target community members (more on this next), but the more people you follow the more difficult it will be to find the best tweets to retweet and reply to as a way to get attention.
We recommend creating Twitter lists.
To create a list, click on the gear icon at the top right of your Twitter page. Select Lists from the dropdown. Click on the Create List button. Create lists and sub lists based on the people you found during your search.
These will be the lists you can use to find the best people and content to retweet and reply to as you build your Twitter following.
Now that you have your lists built you can follow and reply to these key people. If they share a good piece of content, reply with a quick thought. Compliment and flatter them. People can rarely look away from a good compliment.
If they ask a question be sure to reply with an answer.
The goal of this strategy is to get on the radar of these people so they will potentially follow you and share your blog posts when you share those on Twitter. By getting on their radar they might also reply to you or retweet the things you say.
Retweets show up for all their followers and even replies will be seen by some of their followers. That’s exposure to your target audience and a good way to build your Twitter community.
Step 4 – Strategically Follow Your Target Community Members
You can follow up to 2,000 accounts on Twitter. Once you reach this number you’ll have to wait for people to follow you before you can follow more people.
So it doesn’t make sense to follow just anybody on Twitter, but it does make sense to strategically follow your target community members.
The reason this can work in your favor is that some people will follow you back after you follow them. Not everyone will, though, so there a few indicators that let you know if someone is likely to follow you.
First, look at the people they follow.
Are they already following people like you?
Look for the people on the lists you created. You can even look at those people and look at their followers. Follow those people.
For each person that you potentially follow also look at the number of people they are following. If they’re only following a handful of accounts the chances are low that they will follow your account.
If they follow several hundred accounts the odds are better that they will follow you back.
Step 5 – Updates, Sharing Posts & Using Hashtags
You’ll want to share every one of your blog posts on Twitter just like with all social media accounts. As with Facebook, hashtags are your friend when it comes to sharing your content.
Using relevant hashtags that your target community members are likely to follow or be interested in. People might follow the # business hashtag. Use this tag with your tweets and you’re likely to pick up a few followers as long as you’re sharing useful information.
Step 6 – Partnerships
As with Facebook, create partnership updates on Twitter. Create tweets that you can create and that others can duplicate or retweet.
The idea again is to get exposure for to audiences that are already established. Offer to create a series of tweets that you can publish that will mention your partners. Have the partner do the same by having tweets and updates that mention you.
If necessary, offer to create the tweets for them to save them the effort and time. The tradeoff is that you get exposure to their audience.
You can use the lists you created to find potential partners.
Step 7 – Twitter For Business
Twitter now has a few different options for ads. Twitter has a reputation for having expensive ads aimed at big brands, but there is promise that it can be a way to build followers and get traffic to your blog via sponsored tweets.
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals.
LinkedIn is for professionals to create an online profile or résumé. It’s a network for businesses to create profiles to attract the best talent. It offers various B2B opportunities and gives users the opportunity to share business-related content.
LinkedIn also serves as a great networking tool for professionals to meet other professionals. And it’s a great sales tool for salespeople that sell to professionals at businesses and organizations.
For blog owners, it’s possible to build a strong community on LinkedIn. You can build a community of your target audience and influencers that will visit your blog post and that will share your blog posts with their own community on LinkedIn.
Here is how you can build your LinkedIn community.
Step 1 – Signup For Your Personal Profile
You’ll need your first and last name, your email address and a password to signup for LinkedIn. Once your account is created LinkedIn will take you through the steps of how to build your profile.
The basic setup of your profile is like a resume you would create for yourself. It has an area for your current title and business name. You can enter past work experience.
Each profile also has a Summary section, which is one of the most important sections of your profile. When someone visits your profile page they’ll often read your name and title and then move right to your summary to learn about you and what you do.
Write about 3-5 paragraphs about what you do right now at your job. You can mention your business and your business blog encouraging people to follow it for updates. As with any summary, you’ll want to hint at what’s in it for your followers. In this case, your blog updates provide useful information to your target audience.
Step 2 – Setup Your LinkedIn Company Page
Once your profile is setup you’ll be able to add a company page. In the navigation you’ll select Companies. At the top right there is a text link to Add a Company.
You’ll enter in your company name and the email address you have at the company. This is how you verify that you are an official of the company.
Your company page is setup similar to other social media business pages. You enter in the basic information describing your company. You can enter the contact information. You can also add your company logo and a header image like the ones on Facebook and
Step 3 – Connect With People In Your Networks
The first step to building your community on LinkedIn is to connect with the people you know. You’ll need to do this after you build your profile complete with your previous work history and your current and previous locations.
You can also add your education history and any groups you’ve been a part of over the years. These all establish the networks you’ve had in the past and present. Those networks allow you to begin making connections with people.
Start by clicking on the networks (businesses, groups, universities, etc.) in your profile. These will take you to pages and you’ll see other people in those networks.
Click on their profiles and make a request to connect.
The default settings on LinkedIn make it so that you can request to connect with anybody by saying that you’re a friend or by indicating that you know them from one of your networks.
Don’t just connect with anyone. You want to connect with people that have a relatively large number of connections. This will open up your 2nd degree connection options, which we’ll talk about in the next section. Find individuals in your networks that have at least 100 connections. More is better.
Also connect with people that are likely to connect. LinkedIn will take notice if you have a lot of connection requests outstanding. If you have too many requests that are ignored you won’t be able to make connections. So focus on the people that you know well and that use LinkedIn on a regular basis.
Step 4 – Connect With 2nd Degree Connections That Fit Your Target Audience
As you build your connections you’ll open up 2nd degree connections. These are the connections of your connections. By default, you’re able to connect with 2nd degree connections on LinkedIn.
Some users will change the settings on their accounts and you’ll need more information such as their email address in order to connect, but for the most part you’re able to connect with nearly all your 2nd degree connections.
This is where you start targeting your target audience members.
When you’re signed in to your account and go to the LinkedIn homepage you’ll see a timeline of content. On the top right you’ll see a section title “People You May Know”. A similar section is also shown at the top right of your profile.
This is LinkedIn helping you make connections. Many are 2nd degree connections and people in your various networks.
Scroll through these suggestions and quickly assess if a person is a member of your target audience. You’ll only be able to see the person’s name, title and location. Usually you can tell from this information if they’re a fit for your target audience. If you need more information you can click through to their profile.
Step 5 – Participate In Group Discussions
Groups are a large area of opportunity on LinkedIn. There are groups for all kinds of professions and industries. For some, you’ll need to request an invite to join. A moderator or owner of the group will look over your profile to see if you’re a good fit and they’ll invite you to join.