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Why Social Media is Important For Communities

Wikians are often at the epicenter of their favorite fandoms. You represent the biggest experts there are, not to mention that you have some of the most intense passions for pop culture in the world. That's why it's not very surprising to know that social media is an important tool for your community. What better way is there to talk to other fans and let them know about your community?

Every day, we talk to fans on our own brand accounts, @getfandom and @Wikia, and we've learned a great deal about the importance of engaging with an audience on social media. As social media becomes more and more important in the evolving internet landscape, I wanted to share some of what we've learned with you.

Why is engagement important?

Gravity Falls Wiki Twitter

Communities like Gravity Falls Wiki have cultivated impressive social media followings by engaging with their fans.

When you have a well-established community, you and your fellow contributors are influencers. Own it! Your voice carries a lot of weight as other fans look to you as the authority on the subject matter. Communities like Gravity Falls Wiki, Marvel Database, Love Live! Wikia, Destiny Wiki, and more have all cultivated major Twitter followings and engage with their fans on a daily basis. Fans enjoy hearing what those communities have to say.

Talking to your fans gives them a deeper and more intimate way of engaging with your community. The core of a Wikia community is generally an encyclopedia, but there's so much more that happens around it. People enjoy feeling like they are part of your orbit, even if they're not contributing content themselves. Likes, retweets, replies, and more are all ways to foster a sense of community with your wider audience. You may soon find that there are people who will like, retweet, or even reply to everything you post. Even if they don't have a Wikia account, these fans are still able to become a loyal part of your expanded community.

How should I engage?

How you engage with your audience is, in a lot of ways, going to depend on what your fandom is, what your audience is like, and what you want to do with your social media accounts. There's a lot of variation that can and should take place, and it will take time for each community to figure out. Otherwise, all social media accounts would be the same! But on a basic level, there are some key pieces of advice that are true for all social media accounts, especially Wikia communities.

  • Find your voice. Setting a tone and a personality for your accounts is very important. You probably don't want your accounts to have the same voice as an encyclopedia, otherwise your posts would be pretty dry. Finding a way to celebrate your fandom on social media, and creating a voice that reflects that, will help you reach a wide audience and post content that people will want to share with their friends.
  • Share broadly-appealing content. Truth be told, on our brand accounts and some of the community accounts we've worked with, we've found that links to content on communities tend to get lower levels of engagement. There's a lot of reasons for why that could be true, from looking like an advertisement to being too in-depth for a social media post, so finding content that appeals to wide audiences from more than just your community (but not neglecting your community, of course) is a great way to establish yourselves as a hub for your fandom. Think beyond the scope of your core community; if your wiki is strictly encyclopedic, your social media accounts can still evolve into something more.
  • Stay positive and celebrate whenever possible. Negativity can get clicks, there's no doubt about that, but why talk about things you don't like when you can instead talk about things you love? Maybe your wiki is about a movie series and one of the movies is a stinker. It happens! You don't have to ignore that, but you don't have to focus on it either. Focus on what people love and you'll appeal to the widest possible audience.
  • Post consistently. If someone clicks 'Follow' on your account, it's because they want to see more of your posts. You're creating an expectation that you will post consistently, so strive to post at least once per day so people see that you're always active. The less active you are, the less likely fans will stick around.
  • Post when people are online. You can post at any time of the day, but also keep in mind what times people are most likely to be online. The commute to and from work or school, lunchtime, after dinner, and in the evenings are all times when people are more likely to look down on their phone or get on their computer and look at social media. Use that to your advantage!
  • Search for keywords about your community and fandom. Use the platform's search function to look for keywords related to your community and to your fandom. In doing so, you'll find other tweets, status updates, and more that are relevant to your topic. You can talk to those fans, like their posts, and retweet them, all as a way of showing that you thought what they had to say was really cool. Those people then stand a good chance of following you back and engaging with you. If the posts and tweets you find are from influential fans, content creators, or even actors, then they have a large following that can help you. After all, if they end up following you and they share your content, then a big audience will see what you posted.

None of this is a surefire way to social media success, but it's a good start. It gives you a base to help establish how to make a unique social media presence for your community.

What's your social media like?

That's what we've learned. How about you? What are your community's social media accounts, and what kinds of successes, setbacks, and learnings have you experienced? Let's start the conversation in the comments!

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