Every brand in the world, be it a big company like Spotify or an Instagram account that has just started out, have one thing in common – trying to get their brand noticed by the general public. One of the best ways of doing that is by building a brand community.
Building a brand community allows you to get to know your consumers on a deeper level and analyze their pains and gains. Being part of a brand community allows the audience to interact with like-minded people which helps in further strengthening the brand.
If you are new to the world of brand community or are just starting out, you have come to the right place. We will explore the absolute fundamentals of building a successful community around your brand, their importance, and how you can make the best out of it.
Let’s get started.
What is a Brand Community?
A Brand Community is a community formed on the basis of the attachment of the audience to a particular product or individual. These people will promote your company and your products to their friends, family coworkers, etc.
One should keep in mind that the brand community is not similar to brand awareness. They are not one and the same thing.
Brand awareness is the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers and correctly associated with a particular product or service. For example, when someone says “I need a Kleenex,” you know they’re referring to a tissue.
However, in Brand Community, they are invested in the brand beyond what is being sold. They are interested in not only the products that you offer, but also in the extracurricular initiatives that you undertake, the social media posts that you post, the philanthropic activities that you undertake, etc.
In the simplest of terms. People who are part of a brand community are emotionally invested in your brand.
Should you build a Brand Community?
Since most businesses are consumer-based, having a brand community that is adequately engaged is the ultimate asset. It is a powerful business community.
One should realize that their brand community is already present online. They just haven’t been tapped yet.
You need to be on the lookout for this community and generate relatable content that will attract the said community. Finally, you need to come up with a strategy of keeping them engaged for the long term.
According to research, having a brand community not only ensures greater reach for your brand but also adds value at different points of a users journey.
Having a brand community allows you to be in regular touch with your consumers. These bunch of individuals would be more than ready to provide their insights on your new products, participate in new product mockups, read and share your social blog, and even give genuine feedback for improvement.
Let’s walk you through the process of building a successful community brand that will be mutually beneficial for both your consumers and your brand.
Steps to build a successful brand community
As stated earlier, there are already many people in the online world who know are aware of your product and are genuinely interested in your brand. You just need to bring them all together and build an engagement space for them.
1. Define your Brand
In simpler terms, your brand is the image that your consumers have about your company. You need to go ahead and define your brand before someone else does it for you because then the results might not be as satisfactory. In some cases, it may become downright negative.
You need to define the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your brand. What kind of value are you providing your customers? What is your mission and your company’s vision?
What is the thing that sets you apart from your competitors? Is it the quality of your product? Convenience and speed? Once you have defined these parameters, now it’s time to build your brand based on these pillars.
Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers.
2. Decide on a goal for your brand. What to track and how to track it?
Before creating any brand community, you need to sit down and ask yourself some important questions which will ultimately determine whether it will be successful or not.
You also need to develop a strategy for your brand so that you don’t stray away from your course.
- What is the purpose of building this community?
- Will your product be catering to your consumer’s personal life or professional life?
- What are the action steps that you take to keep your consumers engaged?
- What will be your Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?
- What will be your Measure of Success (MOS)?
- What are the metrics that you want to target? The number of leads generated? The number of conversions? The number of reposts?
- How are these KPIs helping you further your brand? Will it help in increasing sales or just increase general awareness of your product?
3. Choose a platform to build your brand community?
In this day and age, there are a host of options when it comes to establishing a home base for your community.
I will be introducing you to some of the most common platforms used along with a few success stories. In the end, it depends on what suits you and your brand best. For example: if your brand is targeting millennials, Instagram is the best platform to establish a brand community. You can have one on Facebook too. Nowadays, most companies are present in all the well known social media platforms
- Social Media – You can engage your audience in one of two ways – by creating a social media group or by engaging through your platform itself.
Jewelry retailer Ring concierge is one of the brands that have successfully capitalized on their social media presence and created a terrific community.
The account is an Instagram Business Account which is run by the owner of the company itself. She relies on an honest, hands-down, and transparent approach when communicating with her consumers. She hosts Q &A sessions using the Instagram stories feature. She makes the audience vote on new products etc.
You can also build communities by using hashtags and asking your audience to do the same. Finally, you can create a generic Facebook or LinkedIn group where interested users join and share their ideas and opinions about your products.
- Forum – A forum is used by companies who have a wide audience like that of music streaming platform, Spotify. Here people get a chance to talk about their favorite music, share new playlists, and many more activities.
4. Rewards or Affiliate program
An affiliate program of a brand community provides compensation or concessions to actual marketers, bloggers, social media influencers for the signups they bring in. These individuals promote your brand via their social media channels.
The popular beverage chain, Starbucks employs a rewards program. Through this program, if a member issues an order for any beverage via their app, they receive a certain number of stars. These stars are accumulated and once you reach a certain limit, you are eligible for discounts and even free drinks like free lattes, etc.
This is a way of giving back to your most loyal customers and also increases their trust in your brand. It will be extremely beneficial for your brand in the long run.
5. Use Third-Party community platforms
Apart from using major social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
You can use mailing accounts like MailChimp to send newsletters to your consumers about the recent ongoings in your company. You can also use Mobilize and Slack to create various topics and channels to facilitate fruitful conversations and build a tight-knit community.
6. Regular Engagement with your brand community
You need to have someone who is always present to start and carry forward conversations within the community. Queries should be responded to instantly. You can appoint a social media manager who will create discussion posts -in line with the company’s vision- and be virtually active at all times.
Sprout is well known for its tools that are used to constantly engage with their audience. It ensures that you never miss out on even a single post from someone in the brand community.
Go ahead and create your own brand community today
By now you have understood, how big of an asset a brand community can be. You need to engage your customers in such a way that they always feel valued. Make sure to always be true to your brand’s vision in all the content that you put up and you will build a loyal customer base in no time. Happy building!