This week, Lady Gaga became the first person to exceed 20m followers on Twitter.

These are huge numbers, but volume rarely means anything on its own. The interesting point here is that this community really are her 'followers' - in namesake and in the way they respond to her.

They are more loyal than a brand could ever dream of, but there are some lessons that we can all take on board and implement when trying to build a community either online or off.

  1. Look at existing behavior and run with it One of the biggest mistakes brands make when entering into the world of social media is a lack of response. Whether we’re talking about social customer service, or just engaging with people who love your brand;  it’s very hard to do either well without there being some kind of interaction.
  2. Invest and incentives Not only has she personally invested in Backplane, a technology-based community platform, but she also uses Fancorps – another platform from which she leverages a street team of over 25,000. Fancorps incentivises people to share the word of Gaga both online and offline, people are rewarded with points to be used against tracks or albums, tickets, collateral, virtual gifts and more.
  3. Show your flaws Instead of taking this popularity, and shying away from it, keeping things behind closed doors – she’s embraced it and flung open the doors. There are messages from her bedroom, videos shot backstage, interviews where she’ll open up about being scared about performing. The whole shebang.  
  4. She's true to her brand It might be ever-changing, chameleon style, but Gaga’s brand knows itself like no other. It know its stance on equality, sexuality, friendship and more. These might not be issues that every brand needs to consider, but working out what your social voice is.  
  5. Change Keeping people engaged for longer periods of time means exciting them. Sadly, attention spans are much shorter than they used to be, and so there’s a need to create a richer content plan now more than ever.
  6. Authenticity There are no holds barred with Gaga. What you see is what you get, she’s the one doing the talking.  You can tell this by the candid images and videos, to the way she talks online. She’s the one running the show.
  7. Targeting like-minded people To properly build a community, a scattergun approach will not work. There are too many forums, networks, games and apps for people to get involved with, and suck up their time.For years, the benefits of mass-niche communities have been shouted from the rooftops, but now, this is tipped to be the 'future' of networked society. 
  8. Gratitude Without a doubt, the power of Gaga is her fans. Her crazy, loyal, would-do-anything-to-support-her fans. She knows that, and she tells them regularly. It’s the most simple aspect of her community management, it’s free and it takes no time at all.
  9. Collaboration Co-creation and collaboration is the name of the game at the moment. Well, it has been for a while really, but it’s matured enough to be of real use to a brand. Nokia’s just announced that it will centre a large of its international marketing strategy around this, just to show you how it’s evolved as a concept.

See the full article on econsultancy.com

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