How to Foster a Community of Givers

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in social media is consistently coming up with new content on a day-to-day basis. At first, it might seem like it’s easy to stockpile content, but most of the time it’s rarely as simple as sifting through old photos or blogs and picking out content that is aesthetically pleasing or seems to be pertinent to that day.

Providing content that is relevant, compelling and shareable on a day-to-day basis is rarely as simple as reaching into an archive and pulling out whatever fits.

But fostering a community of givers — users that are willing to share content with your brand — is a great way to help provide your brand with content that is shareable. Here’s how any brand can develop a community that is willing to share their own content with that brand,

Develop a Loyal Community

First, you’ll want to develop a community of individuals that not only finds you and your brand interesting to follow on social media, but would also be willing to share content to those outlets, such as photos of themselves using a product of yours, or responses to questions, or even things that they have created, such as cover photos, memes or other entertaining content.

Still, in most cases, you won’t immediately begin seeing users that are willing to contribute their own responses or content to your social media pages. In all likelihood, that may take weeks if not months. But with consistent activity and content that is actually interesting, the number of contributors and loyal followers will grow over time.

And eventually, you’ll begin seeing people share photos, events and perhaps even short testimonials supporting your brand.

Give Them An Outlet to Share/Create Content

But beyond being active, it’s also important to present those followers with a means of sharing and creating the content that they might find interesting or compelling. Take Porsche’s timeline cover creator, for example. In it, they enabled their huge base of Facebook fans — using a Facebook application — to create timeline cover photos for their Facebook profile. Not only was this useful for users in that it allowed them to create cover photos for their personal profile pages, but it also allowed them users to flex their design muscles and create things that they could show off to their friends and say that they had an actual hand in making.

Captain Morgan’s Rumpedia, on the other hand, challenges wannabe mixologists to share their best Captain Morgan drink recipes, allowing other users to vote on the best ones. In both of these cases, the fans of these brands are presented with a means of easily developing and sharing their content, serving as great sources of content for those brands.

Give Them a Reason to Share Content 

In Porsche’s case, getting people involved in their cover photo creator was simple enough, as they had already established a dedicated fanbase of millions of fans through Facebook. But in order to sweeten the deal, Porsche decided that it would recognize the best cover photo designers by placing their photo as the cover photo for their Facebook page.

It’s rarely ever enough to simply provide fans of your brand a means through which to create and submit content through social media. In order to guarantee the greatest response rate, you have to give them a compelling reason to submit their content, or develop a cover photo, or do whatever it is you’re trying to get them to do. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be an iPad or an all expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. It can be as simple as creating something that is fun to interact with and submit content towards. Or simply a means of creating something that looks good.

And if people have a reason to interact with your brand, they will  become far more receptive in instances in which you ask them to share content or ideas. And they will probably be much greater assets to your brand overall.

What sort of success have you had in getting your users to share their own content?