The Art of Creating and Managing a Community

March 2015

Blog by Barbara Maim, Co-Founder – Minsh

Today, social media dominate our lives. Whether you own a business, help out your sports club, or volunteer for an NGO, you have learned to use and master Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Pinterest, or Instagram, or all of them.

And to raise awareness, build an audience, interest your followers, you need to post often, and post good content. Below, we share in all humility just a few observations we have made at Minsh while building communities. Hope this might be useful for you too.

Post relevant content.
Content that is relevant to you or your organization is not necessarily relevant to your audience. People have a tendency to talk about themselves. It’s natural and it happens to all of us. But guess what? It’s not relevant to your audience. Try to take a step back. Why are people following you? Or more precisely: what problem is your organization solving? This is a very fundamental question you need to answer. Every single post you write should solve the same problem your organization is solving.

Personalize content.
If you can, post as yourself. Not all social media will allow you to do so, but if you can, do it. Content feels much more intimate and truthful if you can post it with your own personal account and not your brand’s. If you can’t, show the person behind the brand and use pronouns like I, me, my, mine.

Repeat.
Don’t be scared of posting a good piece of content several times. Even if you pay to boost your post on social media, most of your followers won’t see it. A good approach is to post the same content several times, for as long as it is relevant. Keep a pool of good posts, and when you’re running dry or in a hurry, just pick up an old post, dust it a bit and post it back again.

Focus
There is nothing I hate more than a website bragging about being on 10 social media channels and when you go to on one of those, you see that the last post was a pathetic picture of a team outing done 2 years earlier.
There simply are too many social media channels to be able to do a good job everywhere. Unless you’re a superstar. Stop trying to do a little bit of everything! It will not bring you a larger audience, it will just divide your time and prevent you from doing a good job anywhere. Instead, choose your social media based on your type of audience, and focus on it.

Gather information
Social media offer you a wonderful way to raise awareness and build an audience. But beware! It’s a double-edged knife. You need to find a way to gather information about your followers on your own, because otherwise, you have no way of contacting them outside of the social media channels you’re using. The way social media work is obvious: you get in, you stay in, you don’t get out, because you just can’t. All the information about the community you’ve been struggling to build is not yours. There are simple ways of circumventing this problem, at least partially: whatever the type of content you post, always, always add a call to action that will redirect to your site, or help you gather user information. For instance, if you post videos, add a form to subscribe to your newsletter at the end of the video. If you post text, add a “read more” link that will redirect to a blog post on your own website, where people can subscribe to receive emails from you.

IMG_1077_DxOOriginally from Lausanne, Switzerland, Barbara has a PhD in Computer Graphics. In 2008, she co-founded her startup Minsh. Her goal: empowering communities of like-minded people. In June 2011, she moved from Lausanne to Bangalore with her husband and co-founder, Jon to leverage the emerging silicon valley of India. Barbara is passionate about 3 things: the rise of communities all around the world, entrepreneurship, and pizza!