October 02, 2020
We all know of companies that have closed their doors due to mismanagement of funds, low sales, rapid growth etc. but did you ever consider miscommunication as a threat? With so many ways to stay connected, people are filtering through messages from friends, family and organizations alike, all day long. Effective communication can be the difference between mattering to your audience or staying invisible to them.
Your audience stops and listens to the greater social conversation of the moment. Why? It’s simple. As humans, on a fundamental level, we want a sense of belonging, to have value, purpose and to be part of the future. All of these needs are fulfilled by being part of a community.
Most of us first experience the first element, lexicon, early in life within our family unit. Think back to nicknames for family members, objects or actions. Memories start to pop up. To this day, this special vocabulary is probably still understood and used by your family, or tribe. Everyone in your group knows the meaning of those words and feels a bond by using them. Now, think about communicating as an organization. Are there a set of words used, or that can be used, to describe what and how you do things? Take Beyonce’s fan community, the beyhive, as a great example. They use words like “queen bey”, “beychella”, or “becky” and their online engagement as a community is well documented, because as an audience, they can easily signal to the online world they are part of this tribe and communicate with each other.
“Check this out, after Beyoncé performs.. after she done the dance.. Coachella gotta rename Coachella to BEYCHELLA.”#coachella #Beychella #Halloween2020 #Beyonce #BlackGirlMagic pic.twitter.com/frEEDr01KI— Anna K. (@_Annastesia) November 1, 2020
Using sound, or a sonic signature, serves to queue the mind through memory. Using a blend of voice and music to create a desired tone, then using this consistently in content will prime viewers to know it’s your organization from the start. It will trigger the action of having them stop to watch as well as serve to differentiate your message. Need an example? Hum in your head right now “Ba Da Ba Ba Ba I’m lovin’ it”. Do you know who that is? Exactly, that is the McDonald's jingle. Think about how you can create sound that will make you sound different but will stand the test of time.
Photos, graphics and video are meant to visually aid and communicate a message. Take time to put thought into the content you create. Aim to have the final result be something share-worthy that your audience will want to talk about with others. The account, @somegoodnews on Instagram, is a prime example. The video and photos shared here are cohesive, interesting and always telling a story. Consider how you can give your community content they can show and tell about.
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Shared experiences result in memories. These memories serve to connect us throughout life. When we do things like eat a particular meal for the holidays, or celebrate birthdays a certain way, these moments collectively become traditions. There is a sense of familiarity to these events and you know what to expect. In the same way, building this type of connection with your audience can help them know what to expect from your organization and feel connected to each other through this shared experience. Nick & Sienna on TikTok does a great job of this. Their content is mostly based around their normal daily activities as a father and daughter, which is relatable, while incorporating trendy TikTok challenges, which is how they contribute to the collective. In a similar way, think about the current social conversations of the moment and what data, information or social currency can you provide your audience with on a regular basis.
Providing a safe space and bringing people together is more relevant than ever. People are looking for organizations that act ethically and empower their community. Having a transparent value system and rules, like expecting interactions to be honest and empathetic, make your online community a safe space for growth. This requires communication and monitoring the interactions happening. If needed, chime in as a moderator. Being a safe space, encourages people to interact with you and each other.
Similarly, sharing tools and resources helps keep people inspired and informed. By drawing inspiration from the same place and acting on it, your audience will create their own experiences, and will have something in common to connect and communicate about. @katiejanehughes does a great job of this on Instagram with her KJH Academy, where she walks users through a makeup look, challenges them to recreate it, and later posts a carousel of people’s results. Conviction is a great motivator. Think about how you can help nudge your community to act today because of something you shared.
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To give some anecdotal evidence on how community building works, I want to share with you that the content here was a remix in and of itself. The inspiring strategist and author Kai D. Wright shared this knowledge earlier this year at LaterCon 2020. Since then, we at Mindful Creative have been busy applying these findings and taking new risks of our own. By sharing insights and their applications, we all continue to work together to build a better future and learn from each other in the process. I want to encourage you to get started sharing today because it all boils down to getting started. There is great power and community in creating.
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Jasmin is the Strategist and Project Manager at Mindful Creative and has spent the past 8 years consulting clients on traditional media buying, digital marketing, and web development strategies. Jasmin spends her downtime hiking through the southwest, coaching gymnastics, and spending time with family and friends.