Organisations are always looking for ways in which they can get effective advertising for as close to free as possible.

One method that requires a little planning and some work is to build brand advocated that will act as a dedicated team around your brand. These highly engaged users act as a team of defenders, set to fend off critics when they strike, so your social media manager can save the day like the champion they are.

So, how do you build a community around your organisation?

#1: Create content with your users in mind
Social media is not about you and your brand. It's about people. It's about consumers. Too many brands fail on social media by only broadcasting their message or advertising, rather than delivering the content their audience wants. Here are seven great examples of the fashion industry taking on branded content that has their users in mind.

#2: Actively listen
If you pay attention to what your audience is saying they will tell you what thay want. Sometimes a more effective strategy is to listen to it s they're not saying. If you're posting one type of content because it tested well in other groups, but you're getting no engagement on those posts, maybe it's time to start listening to why they're not attracting attention. Become an advocate for your users and they will stand up for your brand.

#3: Know thy audience
Your user personas are vital when you're creating content. This will help you find the best ways to present content for the target audience sectors you want to receive the message. Looking to engage older people in what they need from your brand? Using language in a written post they understand and helping them to engage with you may work better than blasting them with a fast-paced YouTube video.

#4: Clear the clutter
Want make sure your message is clear? Then clear away the distractions and help them to see it. We don't suggest you delete every tweet you've ever sent, or remove all the posts from your Facebook feed. Instead, take advantage of pinned tweets or posts and keep them at the top of your page. still not sure they will see it? Why not pay for a brief promoted post campaign? This is a great way of extending your reach to potential new community members and will ensure, with correct targeting, that all of your already-committed audience sees your post.

#5: Test, report, analyse, rinse and repeat
As with anything, getting 100% positive results is unlikely. When you do come across something you thought would bring people into the fold but fails, take a look at the data and see where changes could be made. If all else fails, talk to your existing brand followers and ask them what would help them become more of a community. This will engage them in thinking about you and your brand as someone who genuinely want to make their lives better. If you can do that, then you've already won half the battle.

If you're not sure how to start building a social media community around your organisation, we can help. Our dedicated digital strategy team have the skills to create a comprehensive social media strategy that will make your brand a success online.