In almost every community I work with today, members shift between a central community site and various social media tools.
They might meet on a site you host, but their interactions will spill out all over the place.
Generally, members use social media for quick messages and self-expression.
If people have a quick question or want to update members on what they’re doing. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram seem to be their preferred tools.
If they want to convey their identity, they increasingly turn to social media instead of their member profiles.
If they have a more complicated question or need more detailed information, they turn to the community.
This has three implications.
1) You’re going to need to be engaging with your audience on social media too. Answering quick questions from members is as important as complicated questions. It helps to promote a simple hashtag for members to use (#companyname works fine).
2) You need to design your community site accordingly. Speed of response might be less important in the future than the quality and quantity of responses. It has to be a repository of the best information that pulls in the best content from social media too. Search is going to be a critical piece of the puzzle too.
3) Give members assets to display on social. If members primarily use social media for self-expression, giving them assets which they can display on social (avatars, great photo opportunities) is going to be more important than gamification badges. Even status as an official ‘verified member’ can be powerful.
If you’ve been avoiding social media so far, it might be time to dive in.