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Building Social Communities: You Get Out What You Put In
It takes time and effort to build a supportive community around your business - and social networks are a key component of any community in this digitally connected age. As +Robert Alpha Avant recently pointed out, the rise of social media makes more work for business owners. How much work? It all depends on how much you want to get out of it. When it comes to social, you are certainly the captain of your own fate.

Read our take: http://blog.signalhq.com/2014/02/27/building-social-communities-put/ 

Thanks to Robert and +Washington Graphics LLC for your insights included in this post!
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How long does it take to build an engaged social community?
We're working on a manifesto / blog series thingamajig about building a thriving community around your business, and social networks play a key role in that effort. We could use your input!

We all know it takes time to build up a community the right way... but how much time are we talking about here? How long did it take for you to really start seeing results from your social marketing efforts (growth, comments, likes, etc)? Imagine you're talking to a marketing newbie who's asking for your guidance — what would you say?

 Your input will help inform the piece - and you  might even wind up quoted in it! Snark, honesty, personal experiences... we'll take it all. What say you?
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Introducing the Subscribe Button
Our newest feature makes it easier than ever to get a great-looking, space-saving, text or email opt-in form on your site. Say goodbye to embedding HTML; meet our new Subscribe Button!
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What were we saying earlier today about reach?
+Mallie Hart captures a lot of the frustration with Facebook's changing rules for showing updates from business pages. Without reach, how is there engagement?

"Engagement and interaction are what we all strive for. But with few or NO eyes on your prize (reach) there's really little chance of that engagement getting off the ground."

We agree completely!
 
I admit it. I got a little irritable and disgruntled today and shelved my planned publish in favor of this off the cuff post. I'm getting rather tired of the user base being blamed for Facebook's lack of consistency and/or lack of an actual business plan. 

No, reach isn't everything. Engagement and interaction are what we all strive for. But with few or NO eyes on your prize (reach) there's really little chance of that engagement getting off the ground.

To say someone's gaming the system simply because they're doing what it takes to get in front of the audience they carefully cultivated is maddening and SO NOT social!
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A Product Update Just in time for New Year's
Prepping your digital marketing plans for 2014? Our latest dashboard updates make it easier to manage your efforts! 
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How did people join my subscription list?
Find out with this handy update for our customers: http://sgnl.cm/xsfp
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Your next customer is out there, how will you find them?
We're still chewing over this not-to-be-missed post by +Robert Alpha Avant of +Alpha Avant. It's loaded with perspective on finding new customers via social media -- and how social media alone isn't the answer.

A few choice excerpts:

"The use of social media is only one factor in the complete sales conversion process. As such, it is not a complete entity left on its own. It needs, as any tool does, to be part of a larger process in order to fully perform its role."

"Selling has always been a process and will always be a process. The advent of social media has created more work for the business owner, not less. This extra work is mitigated by more opportunities."

Pour a cup of coffee and enjoy this read.
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+Alpha Avant it was well-deserved!
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Q&A: How to (Properly!) Gain Followers
Viewing follower growth as an end to itself can lead to some obnoxious and questionable tactics to build a social community. To highlight the proper approach, we talked with +Katherine Tattersfield, Online Marketing Director at +PrintFirm.com.

Read the Q&A: http://sgnl.cm/2xej 

This Q&A was spurred by our recent post, which took the somewhat controversial stance that 'follower count matters.' Conventional wisdom these days places less importance on the size of your social community, and more on the quality of engagement that occurs within the community.

We agree! And yet — follower count is still important because a growing community is the sign of a healthy, growing business. This Q&A delves into the right way to go about spurring that growth.
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+PrintFirm.com see, we just learned something else, too.
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Follower Count Isn't a Vanity Metric.
Quite the opposite, in fact. Follower count will always be an important metric for businesses for one simple, economic reason: your goal with social media is to encourage new and existing customers to make a purchase. Period.

Here's our take - we're curious to hear your perspective... are we right or totally off-base? ^DM
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Prescient words given the uncertainty around Facebook reach
Wise words from +Stephan Hovnanian on our blog from August:

“Your email list is yours, you own it, and it’s portable. It’s an asset. Those 100,000 Facebook fans belong to Facebook, and they know this.... If Facebook changed their rules, you could lose everything you worked for. Get those 100,000 people onto your email list."

Don't over-rely on social networks to reach your audience. Instead, funnel them into a channel where you control the data.

Revisit the full Q&A with Stephan here: http://sgnl.cm/5e8l
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Great to fire some questions at you, we'll have to do it again sometime! Happy holidays!
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