A successful company is one that earns enough revenue to make a profit every year, to put it simply. However, building a supportive community around your brand, service, or company is a tactic that's highly useful if business owners want to sustain that success over time. This encourages fan loyalty and enthusiasm by giving your consumers a space to communicate with you, your team, and other customers.
Companies must grasp a few essentials in order to create an effective, rich, and authentic brand community from scratch. A brand community is a collection of individuals who actively participate in discussions that are both directly and indirectly tied to a particular brand, its goods, and its ideals. Additionally, it is a customer-centric growth approach that enables companies to build brand loyalty, gather data on target audiences, nurture leads, and raise brand awareness.
Customer retention is greatly influenced by brand loyalty. In fact, 53% of Americans who follow a brand on social media are more loyal to that brand than to brands they do not follow. Brand communities reward businesses with useful customer-driven feedback, product ideas, user-generated content, and greater SEO advantages in addition to fostering customer loyalty and offering a reasonably priced substitute for sponsored media campaigns.
But creating a supportive environment for your company takes effort and a well-thought-out strategy; it doesn't happen overnight.
How do you start a brand community?
1. Recognize the purpose, principles, and personality of your brand.
The heart of your community is your brand. For a brand community to have a rock-solid basis, its mission, values, and overall ethos must be well-established. Spend the effort necessary to make sure your company's personality and values are successfully expressed across the consumer experience before starting a brand community. Read more about online reputation management.
2. Avoid trying to be all things to all people.
Avoid watering down your brand messaging by supporting causes that are not related to your brand mission once your company's values and personality have been established. For instance, a rental service for electric scooters that intends to improve city livability by reducing the use of cars will connect itself with values like micro-mobility, sensitivity to climate change, and recruiting a diverse team. The brand will not, however, support causes like saving endangered species of animals because doing so would be against its basic beliefs and objectives.
3. Establish a hub for community content.
Community members will converge at a central location to congregate, exchange knowledge, and share experiences. To decide if your brand should use a social media channel or create its own forum from scratch, take into account your audience's preferences, habits, and desired community interactions (such as sharing images and taking part in contests).
4. Produce top-notch content.
Utilize consumer research to produce content that your audience will genuinely appreciate. Make informative tutorials, post engaging articles, conduct live online events, and collaborate on content with influencers who are well-liked by your community. Encourage neighborhood residents to take part by inviting them to express their thoughts and experiences. Customers will come back again if a venue is created where they can access relevant, interesting, and emotionally engaging material.
5. Promote the utilization of user-generated content(UGC).
UGC is a very efficient way to engage and expand a brand community naturally. 90 times a week, consumers informally discuss brands, and 70% of them trust user reviews.
This means that the key to influencing the purchasing decisions of other community members is to get customers to share information about their purchases in your brand community space. Encourage participation in the community by liking and commenting on user-generated content, organizing contests, and recruiting brand ambassadors—passionate consumers who act as micro-influencers—to collaborate with the business.
6. Direct traffic to your community sites using all of your channels.
Make sure all marketing methods direct audience members to community spaces, whether those are onsite forums or social media platforms. This will enable you to reach as many people as possible and grow the community.
7. Show receptivity.
While it's advised to allow the community to take the lead, it's essential to select community outreach staff. This will keep an eye on things, answer inquiries, and make customers feel heard by the business. Brand communities give businesses the exceptional chance to interact with customers in a more intimate way, which helps humanize the brand in the eyes of the customer.
8. Add calls to action for charity giving.
Not only is it ethical to align your brand with a cause, but it is also a wise commercial decision. Customers are willing to give up on businesses that don't set an example for others and give back to the community in favor of those that do. A recent consumer poll found that 75% of millennials prefer businesses to donate their revenues to a good cause. Once your company has decided on a cause, promote your collaboration and any associated philanthropic activities across all digital media. This will encourage sales, boost brand recognition, and enable your target market to have a positive social influence.
9. Accept disagreement.
Embracing a community's internal issues can help it thrive, even when brand managers may prefer to prevent friction in their community spaces. For instance, if a user of a huge technology company's community posts about getting a phone from a rival brand, this will likely start a heated but important discussion about brand competition that will keep users of the community interested.
The culture of the community will be further enhanced by allowing members to establish appropriate conflict, contrast, and boundaries within the group. By designating brand stewards to act as community co-creators who moderate and direct conversations to create a safe space for customers, brands may still uphold their obligation to the community.
10. Showcase relatable characters.
Although collaborating with well-known mega-influencers might be beneficial, brands that highlight relatable individuals (such as employees and customers) can deepen the links within their communities even more.
Honoring employee opinions shows that the workplace is a healthy, happy place to work. The brand shows that it values and appreciates its fans by co-creating content with them.
Customers' desires for deeper, more meaningful relationships with the businesses they support are changing along with their expectations for the customer experience. Following the events of the previous year, issues like sustainability, social justice, diversity and inclusion, and voting with your cash have dominated conversations among mainstream consumers. These customers are searching for businesses that share their beliefs.
The most effective brands express their beliefs through their behavior and the social media networks they build. Offering a fantastic product and a frictionless transactional experience is insufficient to secure long-term client loyalty in a world where consumers are four to six times more inclined to support purpose-driven businesses.
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