How to Build a Social Media Community: Content and Collaboration

I like to be on the cutting edge when it comes to utilizing social media and content. With the social landscape changing so often, we have to constantly be students of it, striving to find individuals whose content stands out from the crowd — to learn from and emulate.

Being “more interested than interesting” means that I take the opportunity to learn from the top social media influencers, allowing me to duplicate their social media fundamentals to improve my online presence.

I often consult my team members about the content that they enjoy most on social media. This is how I came across Eliot Robinson, the young entrepreneur and operator behind the @dunk account with more than 2 million followers on Instagram. Robinson has built a massive community based on his unique brand of basketball content. His community-building talent even caught the attention of superstar entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, who asked Robinson to help expand his social media profiles, resulting in more than a million new followers across Vaynerchuk’s platforms.

I was eager to learn more about what makes the @dunk community special. So, I phoned Robinson to get his input on my two keys for creating an engaged social media following: content and collaboration.

Content is still king.

Today’s best social media strategists focus on aggregating content on their platforms. They elevate their own brands through collaborations with others, leveraging their content, while also minimizing operating and production costs. And the better your reputation for social media excellence becomes, the more users you’ll find who are willing to work together for little-to-no compensation. This technique allows you to aggregate valuable content on your social media platforms and avoid content creation processes that waste time and money.

According to Robinson, incorporating humor and putting your own personal spin on the content of others adds personality to your posts and allows for personal expression, which pulls in your audience. You must find a frequency, a combination of truth and awareness that resonates with others. This is key for any public figure, and especially true on social media.

Be sure to bring an energy of creativity when it comes to your content. As Robinson advises, “Post things the viewers want to see, rather than satisfying your own preferences.”

Originality and emotion build better relationships

One important facet of social media success is maintaining strong relationships with viewers, readers and listeners. That’s why I make a point of replying to almost everyone who interacts with my content, whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or YouTube.

Experts in this field, like Robinson, advocate building long-lasting relationships with your audience by consistently posting content that is 100 percent your own. Original content gives followers insight into your life (and mind), which aids in developing a stronger connection.

Emotion is another tool heavily utilized by many social media strategists. The best social media pages use emotional pulls to develop connections between themselves and their audience. In my content, I do my best to address and solve common problems that my followers experience, such as being told “no” or experiencing the emotion of embarrassment. This provides value that they might not get elsewhere.

These days, there’s a vast amount of focus on negativity. But, if you add components like humor, excitement or hope to your content, you’ll generate a stronger attraction to your community.

The role of partnerships

Social media professionals like Robinson are able to create and maintain partnerships with other talented content creators by leveraging their internet popularity and success. Robinson also cites a need to have the first rights to the content of others, however, as original content is much easier to monetize.

This strategy of combining lots of valuable and unique content gives users the ability to stand out and flourish as a one-of-a-kind social media account. For this reason, I leverage my own brand to connect with icons in the sports, business and inspiration fields, in order to collaborate on new content.

One of my best recent social media collab opportunities came from working with the @motivation_mondays Instagram account. I did an interview on Instagram Live, along with the curator of the account, and answered questions about inspiration and motivation from the account’s followers. Not only did I help to create some great original content for @motivation_mondays, but I captured content to share on my own page and gained many new followers in the process.

This mutually beneficial exchange is the essence of a community. Both giving value and gaining value is what collaboration is all about!

David Meltzer