Five top tips for building online communities

Today I delivered training for Media Trust on Building Online Communities to a number of charities. The training was really interactive and it was wonderful to have delegates that were enthusiastic, confident and happy to share their own experiences and tips.

We covered a lot of topics but I wanted to share five top tips for helping to build and engage a community. They are:

1. Experiment with posting times

Have you looked at your Facebook Insights to see when the people who Like your page are most active? You might be surprised… if your target audience are parents, for example, then experiment with posting at 8 or 9pm. This is when the kids have gone to bed and parents finally have a chance to sit down and check Facebook.

2. Think ‘mobile’ first

As of March 31, 2015 there were 1.25 billion mobile monthly active Facebook users. So when you’re creating your post, make sure the first two sentences have your call to action or conveys what you want people to take away. Chances are if your post is too long for mobile, most people won’t click to read more.

3. Keep the conversation on your cause

If you are going to make use of trending news stories or trending hashtags, make sure they are still relevant to your cause. If you can’t think of a way to tie in your charity’s work/values/mission to a trending hashtag – don’t do it. Here are some good examples (and one bad) of ‘newsjacking’.

4. Keep it real

Real people, real stories and authentic images. People love human interest stories and hearing about other people’s experiences so why not showcase them? Avoid stock images and use real people – photos of smiling, happy faces get the most engagement. Try it!

5. Always say ‘thank you’

This could be literally – as in thanking fundraisers on your social media channels or thanking volunteers but it is also about thanking those who engage with you. And that could mean something as simple as liking their comment on your post or replying to it. With Twitter this could be Retweeting, favouriting or replying with an @mention. If someone has taken the time to engage then they should be acknowledged. This means they are also more likely to comment, Like or share your content again.

Got any other tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment or tweet me at @LondonKirsty

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