By Kelly Loubet (@childhood and @social2B)
Authentic -adjective: not false or copied; genuine; real.
It’s a buzz word used in the social space all the time. Sometimes it’s used justly… and others not. When I think of an authentic online community, I think of one where the members feel comfortable to share with one another and to provide honest feedback. In other words, they engage with one another. (I know… I used another buzz word. But I’m being authentic about it!)
Here are 5 ways to grow an authentic online community:
1. Be authentic.
It’s kind of obvious… I know. But, are you being authentic with your audience? Your topic should be something that you’re well versed in. For instance, parenting advice is best given out by other parents. Not a parent? It wouldn’t be authentic for you to lead your readers to think that you have been there and done that. Stick to what you know and you’ll always be authentic in discussing it.
2. Be genuine.
Being genuine is very similar to being authentic. When building an authentic community, being genuine is key. Most people can smell a fake from miles away. When you say “It’s going to be an amazing day!” your readers should feel your enthusiasm. Your message should match you. If you’re typically a reserved person… it’s not going to fly for you to adopt raucous personality. Be real. Trust me on this one.
3. Be knowledgeable.
What’s your expertise? Everyone has one. Whether it’s fixing cars, selling houses, or being snarky… everybody is an expert on something. Share with your community what you know. And don’t make it a one way street. When they ask questions… answer them! The best way to grow a community is to engage the people in it! (more on that later)
4. Be engaging.
I touched on this a moment ago. I’ll go ahead and say it again… The best way to grow a community is to engage with the people in it! Sharing quotes is nice, giving facts and figures is helpful, and posting links is informative, but the bottom line is… you must also be responsive. What are your followers experts in? In order to get feedback… one must also be prepared to give it.
5. Be you.
Don’t try and adopt a personality. It won’t work. I promise. There’s only one you and you’re the best at being you than anyone. Embrace it. Share it. Live it. Give it.
Kelly Loubet is a Social Media Marketing Manager at Social2B. She’s a believer in community building and using social media for good. Kelly is a mom, a writer, and a speaker. Follow her @Social2B and on her personal account @childhood. To read more of her writing, check out EverydayChildhood.com.