Building a strong brand requires so much more than just earning a high number of followers on your social media profiles. The key to cultivating the type of brand voice that people respect and actively support is to tap into the core cultural values you share with your desired target community.
Identifying the ideas you want to communicate will allow you to connect with the right people, and significantly improve the efficiency of your ongoing social media marketing efforts.
Finding New Partners
As you are looking to build your social network, it is important to focus your time and energy on finding new relationships that will be mutually beneficial. In order to determine the people and/or businesses most worthy of your limited time and energy, you must first understand the nature of your desired common ground.
What does your brand stand for? What do you want it to stand for? The better you understand what you want your brand to be all about, the easier it will be to find truly like-minded people with whom to connect. More importantly, the nature of your connections will be built upon something important to everyone involved and those relationships will be easier to build and maintain down the road.
If the relationships are one-sided, and you are only looking for what others offer you, you will quickly find that your network isn’t worth much at the end of the day! We much prefer to think in terms of finding potential partners. The more you find that you can contribute to others’ lives, the more likely your social media activities will generate positive results for everyone.
Building New Relationships
Once you have identified key people to target online, how do you go about actually forming new relationships with them? Like most things worth having, this takes real work and time. But the more you put in, the more you will benefit!
If the person or business you are targeting is posting content that aligns with what your brand stands for — which should be the case if you’ve chosen your target wisely — support them! Liking, sharing, and making supportive comments is a great way to engage in content that aligns with your desired brand voice while also getting on the radar of the others with whom you’d like to partner.
Depending on the person or business you are targeting, it’s also smart to show your support offline. This is especially true for smaller markets and cities. If there is an event they are organizing, promoting, or even attending, show up. In fact, bring your friends! Make it clear that you are there to support them, both on and offline. Naturally, if you are sincere in your support, you’ll do more than the bare minimum here. Show up often and be a real friend.
Maintaining Your Relationships
As you successfully build relationships with new people in your social network, you are going to start seeing signs of momentum. The bigger your network gets in both size and quality, the more other people are going to want to be a part of it! This can be a blessing and a curse.
As awesome as it would be to extend your energy towards everyone, the reality is that we all have limited time and resources. Finite capacity means that we have to prioritize the relationships we want to pursue and maintain over time. This is why the first step of thinking carefully about finding the right people with whom to partner is so very important!
Like any relationship, if you want to maintain it, you’ll need to continue to invest energy in it. Of course, once you have established the relationship you might not need to work quite as hard quite as consistently. However, you will still need to be diligent in your maintenance. If you have a team of people, it’s often a good idea to divide and conquer! That way, the pressure to maintain quality relationships doesn’t fall on any one person.
Building strong communities with your network can lead to some pretty awesome things! Connecting with like-minded people and businesses can have a way of reinforcing the core things for which you want your brand to stand. But it can also introduce you to some great new business opportunities.
Whether you are building a network of loyal customers and clients or expanding the possibilities for artistic collaborations, it’s always a powerful thing to be connected with the right people.