Starting out in the social media industry can be tough. You don’t know who your people are. You find yourself going down rabbit holes of specific topics, and you can begin to feel lost quickly. I have gone through it and can tell you it isn’t fun. To save you from going through the same meandering and confusion, I want to provide you with three ways to build your digital community as a social media manager.
Why create a digital community?
First and foremost, digital communities provide a way for individuals to connect with others regardless of physical distance. With the rise of social media and online communication platforms, it has become easier than ever to connect with people from all over the world. These connections can provide a sense of belonging and social support that may not be available in the individual’s immediate physical surroundings. The benefit of developing a digital community is a place to turn to whenever I have a thought or idea.
Digital communities can provide a way to engage with others with similar interests or experiences. Online communities centered around specific topics or hobbies can allow individuals to connect with others who share similar passions and form meaningful connections.
These connections can provide a sense of validation and support that may not be available in the individual’s immediate physical surroundings. I am heavily involved in my local community and not very many people I know love social media and marketing as much as I do. It began bothering me so much that I started to create my digital community around those that loved marketing and social media so that I had a community to go to when I wanted to nerd out.
Overall, digital communities can play a vital role in an individual’s social life and provide a way to connect with others in an increasingly digital world. While they may not replace in-person relationships, digital relationships can complement and supplement them, and provide additional sources of support and connection. Let’s talk about how to create them!
I’m not suggesting you spend hours and hours on your for you page or the Instagram feed screen. (Wait… I actually did that in the beginning stages!) Okay, you can spend some time there, but you want to get to the point where you have a list of businesses or people you enjoy learning about and from. Begin to consume as much of their content as possible!
Consuming other people’s digital content can be a way to connect with others and make new friends. Shared interests in music, movies, TV shows, or even social media personalities can create a common ground for people to bond over. Consuming content together can spark conversations and build relationships. For example, discussing a recent podcast episode or sharing a meme can lead to deeper conversations and even friendships.
I have been recently consuming a lot of content from @julia2. We share similar interests in social media and fashion, so I thought it would be great for me to follow the type of content that she puts out. I also care a lot about men’s skincare and would love to build up a community around this, so I have been consuming a lot of content from individuals like Lonnie Hammons, Noah Beck, and Brendan Jordan.
In today’s digital age, online communities centered around specific interests have also become a popular way for people to connect with others who share similar passions. These communities can provide a space for people to share their own digital content, receive feedback, and engage with others who are interested in the same topics. Engaging with these communities and creating content for them can be a way to connect with like-minded individuals and form new friendships.
Say “Hello” - Take the scary leap to say hello!
Saying “hello” on social media may seem like a small and insignificant gesture, but it can actually have a big impact on building connections and fostering a sense of community. In a digital world where communication often happens through screens, a simple greeting can help break down barriers and create a more welcoming and friendly environment. It shows that you’re approachable and interested in engaging with others and can be the first step in building new relationships.
You don’t literally just say “hello,” add something about their day or ask them about creating their latest piece of content. Note that before you leave that comment or send that DM, you want a sense of connection that started when you were consuming their content.
I am all about kindness, so initiating a conversation can be a way to reach out to someone who may be feeling isolated or lonely. (If you think for one second that social media managers and creators don’t get lonely, you are WRONG! It happens to all of us.)
Saying “hello” can also help establish a foundation of trust and openness between two people, which can be the first step towards forming a meaningful relationship. Ultimately a genuine relationship is what we want to build our digital communities.
Engage. Re-Engage. Follow up. – Don’t be a ghost! They’re scary and secretive.
Once you send that “hello” comment or DM and you have a great conversation, don’t leave it there. Spend time consistently engaging with that business or person in the future. If you are able to continuously show up in their notifications section, they are more likely to join your digital community.
Social media platforms provide a way for people to connect with others who share similar interests, passions, and experiences, and engaging with others is a way to build on these commonalities. Let’s act like social media professionals and be social!
I have found that engaging with others on social media helps create a sense of familiarity and trust. Responding to comments, sharing content, and participating in discussions demonstrates that an individual is approachable and interested in building relationships with others.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new opportunities to work with people and businesses. So not only does following up allow you to bring people into your community, but it also provides an opportunity for more visibility. The stronger your digital community, the more likely they are to refer you to others!
To recap, find some common ground, initiate a conversation, and follow up! You got this
Jeremy Linaburg @linaburgjeremy
I get my best ideas underwater! I love people, swimming, social media, and marketing. It’s not uncommon to swim a few miles and think about my next Instagram or Twitter post. I believe social media and digital marketing bring the world together and that the right message at the right time has the power to change the world. Let’s create content together that promotes positive change!
I am passionate about community building, social listening, and community engagement across all social channels. I love and interact with the internet culture daily and possess a deep understanding of how people digest and engage with social content. I have experience tracking and reporting metrics, creating data-driven content strategies, and managing a content publishing calendar with multi-level approvals.
When I am not working, I spend time coaching swimming, helping in our local youth group, and hanging out with my beautiful wife, whom I co-founded Wholesome Media.