Communities are our hubs for connecting with others, and brands, especially smaller niche brands like nonprofits and local organizations, have a real opportunity to be the framework for which these connections are being made. The “why” is pretty simple. Face-time reinforces top of mind awareness, and by being the name behind the framework for connectivity, it will reflect positively on your brand. The how is a bit more complex, but with the following tips your Facebook following can become a structured and involved community rallied around you.

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Give Your Page Operators’ Names

Posts from pages are typically faceless and nameless beyond the business in general. Have whomever posts on your page use a signature like their initials, especially when responding in comments. Community management can be one person’s sole job, or it can be a the shared effort of a few.

Start Discussions

Post about the latest news about your industry or related topics, and ask for your followers’ input. Actively respond to comments, and refrain from being judgemental. Make sure to balance out the heavier content with more light-hearted content.

Hold Events

Either host regular online events like webcasts or featured postings or take your presence offline and get your fans involved in person. Invite your community to your business or meet out on the town, and make a Facebook event posting to promote it. If your business extends beyond local, use travel opportunities to arrange meetups.

Host Contests

We mention freebies and giveaways a lot, and while they are an important element of why people connect with brands on Facebook, there are other ways you can reward followers. This is especially the case if you are rallied around a cause. Inspire contributions from your followers, everything from art to design to photography or letters that demonstrate support and reward them with recognition. Sometimes that alone is satisfying enough. Have the community weigh in on their favorites.

 

Build Anticipation

Heighten your followers’ emotional excitement by generating anticipation over things to come. Maybe it’s an exciting announcement of another success, or maybe it’s the unveiling of a new endeavor behind the scenes. Make your followers a part of the experience and maintain their involvement as you work toward the right moment to unleash what you have to share.

The real caveat of it all is the time and dedication it will require to facilitate. You want to instill the idea that your page is the place to go to talk about a related topic. The timely nature of Facebook’s interface is what makes it more of a challenge to manage a community on than message boards or forums, but with constant upkeep can have a stronger, more lasting importance with a more connected audience.