The trust and commitment of the target audience are two components without which it is impossible to build a successful global brand strategy and achieve success in your niche. Every brand knows this, but not everyone can find an effective approach. This is not surprising, because, in today's market realities, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gain customer loyalty. People each see hundreds of advertising banners and offers, which contributes to blurring the focus of attention.
Under such circumstances, only what seems close and understandable can arouse interest in most cases. In addition, customers are attracted to offers that create a sense of value and importance to the brand. A brand community is formed to create such prerequisites. It becomes a solid foundation for connecting with potential customers and turning them into true friends of the brand.
What Is a Brand Community and Why Is It Important?
Over the past 10-15 years, there have been drastic changes in marketing trends, from the marketing strategies to remote working environments. If previously an effective method was considered to be a spectacular offer, placement of advertising in all possible places, as well as an attractive design of the banner, now the approach is oriented in other directions. In particular, personalized campaigns that make the potential customer feel special and extremely valuable to the brand show high efficiency.
You can provide such an approach by creating individual offers or by instantly reacting to feedback or another form of appeal. Another important factor, in this case, is the opinion of other customers of the company. Most modern buyers, when choosing a certain product or service, study the comments of people who have already been able to evaluate them.
This aspect has been underestimated for a long time. Companies believed that the main efforts should be directed precisely to the use of new advertising methods. However, as it turned out, even the most modern method and the best ads can turn into unnecessary expenses without studying the interests of the target audience. Understanding this fact became the basis for humanizing and adapting brands.
The most progressive of them began to use new tactics that were created taking into account all possible characteristics of potential customers. Now this direction has received incredible support among marketers, as they have seen high efficiency in practice. Currently, one of the methods of implementing such an approach is the creation of a brand community.
This is the name given to a group of people who have a common interest in a certain company. It is not only about products or services but also about values and philosophy. The last two criteria are in most cases the key factors influencing the choice. After all, in the conditions of a large number of advertisements, many people want to find something special that will respond to the level of sensations.
By creating a brand community, you can lay out all the necessary conditions for this. Potential customers get space for communication, exchange of experience, as well as direct communication with the brand. This helps build trust and even creates the conditions for further referrals that community members can share with others.
What Are Some Tips to Follow When Building a Brand Community?
Some companies may find this task quite difficult. However, this opinion is usually held by those who have not yet had time to familiarize themselves with simple tips that help build a strong community interested in a brand. They must be universal, as they provide the expected result for companies of different sizes.
Leveraging UGC to Nurture Your Brand Community
Effectively use consumer generated content for your community. Start by encouraging your customers and followers to share their experiences with your brand or products. Share their reviews, testimonials, and stories on your website and social media platforms to build trust and authenticity.
Create interactive campaigns such as photo contests or challenges that inspire users to showcase their creativity while engaging with your brand. Recognize and celebrate your community members by spotlighting their contributions, be it through customer stories, featured content, or special shout-outs.
Engage in two-way conversations, listen to their feedback, and involve them in decision-making processes to foster a sense of belonging and ownership.
By making UGC an integral part of your brand community, you not only amplify your brand's reach but also cultivate a loyal and enthusiastic customer base that feels genuinely connected to your mission and values.
Search for members of the micro-community
The first step in building a brand community is customer analysis. These are the people who are already familiar with the company's activities and are likely to be interested in participating in the new formation. You can find them in the existing database, and based on the received data, analyze accounts in social networks. Another effective way to search is to view mailing lists.
Most of the people to whom the emails were sent probably showed interest in the company and may also become part of the support team. Searching for thematic discussions or groups on Facebook may also provide some results. Users of the social network often create such cells to receive valuable information from other customers. You can use this to identify potential community members.
After receiving data about such people, it is worth conducting another analysis and identifying those who have positively evaluated the company's product and are ready to give a recommendation. When you find 5-10 or more people, you can start the stage of acquaintance and interaction. In the process, you need to choose a communication format and offer possible options for exchanging impressions. It should be remembered that at the beginning the interaction may be limited. However, over time the situation may change for the better.
Using the Capabilities of Online Tools
The brand community can interact at different levels and in different formats. Specialized resources and platforms, as well as social networks, are suitable for this. In the beginning, you can use one of the channels, and after a certain period, add new resources for interaction to the list. However, before choosing a foundation, it is worth learning about the behavioral factors of the existing brand community.
It is about the peculiarities of interaction and the prevailing ways of exchanging information. Based on this data, you can choose a better solution for building sustainable connections between participants in the future. You can limit yourself to a specialized platform or combine it with other resources.
As for the platform, it is any web resource that the company can control. It provides customization and autonomy. A clear example can be discussion forums dedicated to brands. To properly organize interaction on any web resource, it is worth using several online tools.
The essence of the method is to combine communication in social networks and branded communities. The transition can be done by using survey makers.. Through them, it is possible to obtain valuable information to improve interaction on both resources.
Affiliate programs and rewards
This is one of the most popular methods that encourage members of the brand community to stay with the project. Its essence is to provide certain incentives, rewards, and bonuses to participants. Such privileges must be divided into two categories: for regular customers and a certain contribution to the development of the brand. In the second case, affiliate marketing takes place.
This is a direction that has been a real trend for several years, as it provides high-performance indicators. According to Hubspot, 89% of marketers who already use this method plan to increase their investment in it. This is direct proof that it works. This is due, in particular, to the universality of application. Affiliate programs are suitable for businesses in almost any niche.
They involve an influential client promoting services or products to their followers and receiving a certain reward for each targeted action or new interested user. This system can become one of the options for interaction with a community member. In case of agreement, he only needs to tell about the company or its products and get a reward.
when an individual chooses your product/company over any of your competition, every single time. It’s when customers don’t need to be marketed or persuaded to make the purchase; they will always choose a certain brand regardless of other brand's services or prices, even if others are cheaper. These companies have formed a trust with their customers that runs deeper than reasons like pricing and they typically dominate their corner of the industry.
It’s important to make the distinction between customer loyalty and brand loyalty. While the former is all about prices and services, brand loyalty has more to do with people’s perception of your business and the emotions associated with it. And in 2022, a lot of newer companies are lacking brand loyalty because shoppers have easy access to compare aspects like pricing and reviews online.
Brand Community Management
Creating a community is just the first step. The following actions should be aimed at creating comfortable conditions for its viability. Brands achieve this goal in different ways. Some of them even use the inactivity method.
Its essence is to create a special resource or platform on which participants will conveniently exchange information. In this case, they are the ones who decide how to use the group's capabilities. However, an approach with the active participation of the company can be effective. Everyone chooses an option taking into account the characteristics of the community, philosophy, and the purpose of creating the resource.
Helping to Expand the Brand Community
In addition to creating conditions for a comfortable exchange of information, attention should also be paid to attracting new participants. This will help increase activity and introduce new people to the brand. Both parties benefit at once. The founder of the community gets the opportunity to increase the reach, and the existing members get the opportunity to share knowledge with others and get valuable advice.
As for the methods of engagement, they can be different. For example, a good solution would be affiliate marketing, holding regular thematic events, if possible, starting training. Rewards when using affiliate programs can be gamified.
This method provides better results and provides an interesting interactive experience. Based on the selected expansion options, it is worth forming a clear plan, which will indicate the activities and the time of implementation. In this way, it is possible to support the constant development of the brand community.
Tracking of Key Indicators
Building a community for any company automatically means spending money and time. To see how successful these investments are, you need to periodically measure and track key performance metrics. These include:
- Contribution of participants to the processes that contribute to the achievement of the goal of creating a community
- Expansion rates
- The pace of community development;
- Effectiveness of content created by users within the framework of affiliate programs
Analysis of the specified data will help determine whether the created community is really useful and whether it provides a return on investment.
Brand communities have already become commonplace for many progressive companies. However, some brand owners are just beginning to get acquainted with the advantages of such associations and the peculiarities of their creation. This task may seem difficult at first, but it is not. Some simple yet effective tips will help you build a strong brand community step by step. They will help not only at the beginning of the journey but also in the long term. For more detailed guidance on building a brand community, explore this link.