Are you looking for ways to have better and stronger communication with your audience? If so, you’re on the right track, because building a brand community will certainly carry your customer relationships to a different level.
Brand communities can be described as a place where your most loyal customers are branded together. They feel lucky to be involved as they find like-minded people in a community.
This useful guide here is to help you better understand what a brand community is, why it would be important for your company, and how it should be created.
So, let’s quickly roll to the important part!
What is a brand community?
A brand community can be described as a group of people who not only falls under the "customer" expression but those who feel an emotional connection with the brand.
People who buy from your company, also love to see your content, influence others with it, and frequently engage with are the keystones of your brand community.
But be careful with one thing that is often misleading: Having a brand community doesn't have to do with increasing brand awareness.
While brand awareness stands for people who have purchased from your company or at least know about the company, the brand community represents people who enjoy almost anything about your brand.
Why should you create a brand community?
Really, why shouldn’t you? It is a very easy and strong way to have a bridge between your brand and your most loyal customers.
Having a brand community created you can test your brand’s new features and products, collect feedback, and generally improve your brand in light of your regular customers’ reviews, which will make you have customer-driven decisions for your brand.
You should also know that your brand community probably already exists somewhere on social media. What you need to do is to find the community, connect with it and build a strategy to keep it going and growing.
Sounds appealing, right? Then let’s move on to the how-to part.
How to build a successful brand community?
Now that you are aware of your people’s existence, it’s time to reach and bring them together, and give them a familiar feeling that will make them feel belong.
There is not only one approach to creating a strong and successful brand community, there are many various ways to achieve that.
Let’s go through a few essential steps, so you can decide which brand community is right for you.
1. Describe your brand
For starters, you should make sure you know what your brand is, which goes above and beyond your brand’s offers and sells.
Your company’s objective, vision, personality, and brand voice all matter here.
What does your brand want to be known for, what is it trying to do and why, and who does it want to influence?
Setting on these crucial details will make you promote your brand’s core values, and attract the target audience.
2. Set your goal and metrics
As we mentioned above, brand communities have the advantage of giving you a way to base choices on client feedback, and many more. But you should take some time to ask yourself some questions before starting a brand community.
Questions like these might point you in the correct direction as you create a strategy for your brand community.
- Are we assisting people with questions related to our product or their professions?
- What are the metrics we want to track?
- Which purpose will the brand community mainly serve?
- What are we / will be doing for our community members to keep them engaged?
Once you determine the answers to these questions and set your goals and metrics, you can move on to the next steps.
3. Choose a platform
There are some different platforms you can choose to use to engage with your brand community.
First, consider the pros and cons, the native behaviors, and activities to choose from, then use either one or a few of them that will work the best for your audience and the brand itself.
We can't think of a brand without social media usage. Social media is a trendy and easy option to use for creating your brand community. In creating a brand community in social media channels, you can either create an account/page for your community to follow and stay engaged, or you can create a private group where your loyal customers can join and stay connected.
An example of using social media to create a brand community can be Ring Concierge.
The jewelry retailer’s Instagram page, which is run by the owner of the brand herself, has more than 500,000 followers.
She uses their Instagram page transparently and frequently gets in touch with their customers through interactive stories where she holds Q&As and finds out their audience’s opinions on potential new products.
Communities can be built by a simple brand hashtag, which adds credibility and user-generated content to the feed page.
And another way to use social media for building a brand community is through social media groups where your customers can join and interact with each other and your brand.
Instant Pot, an electric multi-cooker manufacturer has a Facebook group with over 5 million member, which creates an international space for their customers to share unique recipes, ask questions, and share the joy of cooking using their products.
They also offer trouble-shooting in case any of their customers face an issue or have product- related questions, and occasionally hold giveaways for their members within the group.
Although they sound a little outdated, forums are still great for larger communities to discuss products and interests.
EA's (Electronic Arts) forums can be a good example of this. The company that has published a wide amount of video games to this date has managed to gather its customers into one community, and it works perfectly for them.
Not only it allows people to discuss the games they are playing, find solutions, and even talk about shared interests, but it also benefits EA in ways.
Thanks to their forums, EA can easily learn about the problems with their products, keep the thrill of their games going and reach out to gamers for announcements. They can also find out what their customers would like to see in EA's future games and make customer-driven decisions.
Third-party community platforms
Many brands have used third-party community platforms to lay their brand communities on, and been able to connect with their customers directly.
Platforms such as Slack, Mobilizer, and Discord allow you to create various channels and threads for your community members where they can check out and interact with others.
Gucci, for example, has created their own Discord server named “GucciVault” as a part of their NFT strategy, where they could directly get in touch with their customers and allow them to talk about NFT-related topics.
The luxury clothing brand had offered special roles and perks for its first 20,000 members, and it took less than two days to hit the mark.
Another way to develop your brand community is to create a rewarding membership program for your most loyal customers.
An example of a rewards program that works on a give-back or referrals basis is Starbucks, which gives regular customer perks.
Members using the Starbucks app earn Stars that add up on each order and return as perks such as free drinks or shots.
As well as on orders, members also earn Stars through referring the app to their friends which in return ends up bringing more members and building a bigger and better community.
4. Engage with your brand community
Now that you've finished creating your brand community, all you need to do is to keep going with engaging with your community.
Responding quickly and caring about their opinions by creating conversations and discussions will keep them engaged with your brand.
In short, give your community a reason to stay connected as it grows bigger and bigger!
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