3 simple tips for winning the hearts of an online community

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1. Learn what drives each community

Every social network offers consumers a unique reason to join: Twitter is about connecting with your interests; Pinterest is about discovering things you want to do; Polyvore is discovering and shopping for fashion. As marketers, our job is to understand what makes each community unique and use that to determine how our brand should participate.

For example, at Polyvore, we start by recommending that brands look at how their products are finding their way onto our platform organically, which of their products are most popular and how our community is styling those products in outfits and collections. We provide all of these data points through our Brand Analytics tool, which is available to every brand and retailer that has an official profile on Polyvore.

Similarly on Pinterest, brands can use Pinterest’s business analytics tool to identify which pieces of their content are getting pinned the most. Brands can also use third party tools like Curalateto sift through what users are saying about their pins. Twitter also offers a very robust analytics platform that shows which pieces of content from your site are getting the most engagement on Twitter.

2. Find and engage your brand advocates within each community

Every community has a core group of very active members: Twitter has celebrities and athletes; Pinterest has lifestyle bloggers; Polyvore has fashionistas making 3 million outfits a month. As marketers, our job is to find the people within each community who are naturally talking about our brand and start building relationships with them.

As marketers, our job is to find the people within each community who are naturally talking about our brand and start building relationships with them.

At Polyvore, we give brands a scorecard showing which community members are creating the most outfits with their products, and we encourage brands’ social teams to like, comment or message in an authentic way. It’s amazing how far lightweight interactions like these can go to start building positive relationships. Designer Shoe Warehouse and Barneys are good examples of brands who are doing this successfully on Polyvore with minimal time investment.

Similarly on Pinterest and Twitter, brands can identify influential users amongst their followers and build relationships with them, leading to increased user pins and shares. Some brands do this in-house via their social media teams, while other brands use third parties like Hello Societyor Refame to do the wrangling for them.

3. Align your paid and social activities within each community

Most social networks now have native monetization programs to complement social programs: Twitter has promoted tweets; Pinterest has promoted pins; Polyvore has promoted collectionsand promoted products. As marketers, our job is to make sure our paid media programs support our social media programs, and to give them higher share of voice in the community.

At Polyvore, we enable brands to promote collections of new products to our community in order to inspire outfit creation. It also keeps relevant sections of brands’ product catalogs top of mind when community members browse for products to buy. The RealRealHeels.comand many of the top luxury apparel brands are all examples of retailers seeing regular success following this approach on Polyvore.

Similarly, on Twitter, brands can promote their most popular tweets to their own followers to ensure they aren’t missed. Brands can also promote tweets to targeted audiences as an effective way to acquire new followers. Rock/Creek is a good example of a brand doing this on Twitter. Pinterest’s ad platform is still in its early days, but promises to offer similar capabilities for promoting brands’ most popular pins.

A passionate community can be a powerful audience and ally for any brand. Follow these three best practices and watch your own community grow.

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Bron: Mashable