3 Ways Instagram Creators Can Turn Their Social Media Following Into a Real Community

Okay guys, it’s time for Instagram creators to level up from basic social media and embrace community media. So, what is community media, you ask? Well, community media is using your platform not just as a place for you to shout into the void, but as place for a community of people to share not just with you, but with each other. The old days of social media were about putting yourself out there with little regard for the quality of your feedback. Likes and one-word affirming comments and emojis were enough. Well, frankly all of that is basically useless if you’re trying to build a real, sustaining community. Here are a few tips on how to engage your following in a way that fosters a real sense of belonging and community.  

1. Solve A Problem

So often, this basic step gets overlooked when building relationships with your followers.  Solve a problem.  Now if this seems basic, that’s because it is. It is also really effective. One example of this is with advice columns.  Have you ever taken a look at the comment sections of long-standing advice columns.  When you get a chance, check out the Carolyn Hax advice column, at the WashingtonPost.  I kid you not, there are commenters who have been actively and expectantly reading and commenting on her column for years.  What’s truly impressive is not that they’re devoted followers, it’s that many of the commenters have become friends among themselves.  It’s not at all uncommon for folks to comment on one anothers’ vacations and other things just based on the information they’ve shared with each other over the years on this advice column.  

…before you know it, you’ve got a lively discussion going where community members are sharing ideas and thoughts, and slowly getting to know one another.

Now, I guarantee you, if there is a nagging problem or issue that you have, you can bet that at least a few of your followers also share the same problem. And by providing a solution to those problems, not only are you being of service, you’ll also find that members of your community will start sharing their solutions, and before you know it, you’ve got a lively discussion where community members are sharing ideas and thoughts, and slowly getting to know one another.

2. Transform Your 2-Way Street into a Multi Lane Highway

How often do you look at the comments on an influencer’s Instagram posts?  Surely you’ve noticed how many of them are basic, meaningless affirmations of “so cute!” Or “I love this post!”.  Well, that’s great. It’s affirming. It is not, however, genuine engagement. That’s what happens when your social media channels are 2-way streets. You post, they smile, the end. 

As I’ve said before, creating a community is about more than just giving information. It requires genuine sharing – give and take.  And if you’re looking to turn your social media following into a community, you need to level up and turn that 2-way street into a multilane highway.  And by that, I mean get your followers not just to engage with you, but to engage with each other. Introduce them to one-another. Facilitate their relationships and relate their input and comments to one another. By encouraging your followers to engage with each other, you create a genuine community where information and knowledge can be shared through you, not just from you.  

So stop worrying about getting more followers, and start focusing on engaging, delighting and serving a few, impactful followers.

3. Replace Quantity with Quality

Think small. Focus on fewer followers.  I know that sounds insane, but it’s true. Unless your name is Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter, you can’t possibly create a meaningful community of millions (seriously, her beyhive is impressive). What you can do, however, is create a powerful community with a smaller number.  In all honesty, what does a large number of unengaged, uninterested passive followers do for you and your enterprise, organization or brand?  Nothing, really. So stop worrying about getting more followers, and start focusing on engaging, delighting and serving a few, impactful followers. It will create a better experience for everyone, and really add a sense of purpose to your platform.  

And that’s it.  3 ways for Instagram creators to level up your social media following to a genuine community.  Check out a few other blogs here for what you can do with your community once it gets going, how to increase your revenues 10 fold from a smaller number of engaged users, and other exciting tips and hacks for turning your platform into profits while inspiring, engaging an helping others.

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