Think about the products you use every day. Whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, athletic shoes, or vehicle—many of the products we use are purchased with the help of online reviews and trustworthy recommendations.
A brand community is more than the customers who buy your products; it is the group of people invested in your brand—the people engaging with each other around your brand and then sharing it and helping it grow. A brand community exists to serve and meet the needs of the people in it; it helps them and adds value to their lives.
In the current market, brand-building through one-way communication is not enough. Building a community around your brand is essential for its success. There is an advantage to co-creating with your clients: collaborating with customers allows them to be active and build your brand with you. As the world grows more connected through social media and online shopping, it’s crucial to keep your marketing fresh and personal. Here are five tips for building an active community around your brand.
1. Determine what kind of community you want to build
Brand communities provide a space for like-minded customers to interact and provide feedback. A useful community must understand their audience. Communities can help people gain status, discuss mutual interests, or find support about products. Cultivate a community that aligns with your brand, services, or product. For example, Sephora has an active community built around customers reviewing products and offering tips. They regularly ask clients to post reviews about products. And people that post reviews frequently receive free products to review. Your community should be one that your ideal clients find value in and want to participate in.
2. Research other communities
Once you have solidified the kind of community you want, see what comparable communities are doing. What works well for them? How do these groups engage with their members? Join some communities and note the content that works. Build your community by exploring how these groups operate. For example, if you wanted to build an online community for your fitness product, checking out communities like Fitbit’s would be useful.
3. Produce valuable and engaging content
Be authentic and creative. Listen to the concerns of the community and then talk about issues that matter to them. Find leaders in your community. They can engage with members and facilitate a space to produce relevant content. Brand-related content should allow your community to connect—whether through liking or commenting on each other’s posts or messaging.
4. Create brand community #hashtags
Hashtags help track and mobilize your community. Specific hashtags let brands promote and grow their community on social platforms. A variety of hashtags support content. They can be time-limited and used to hype events. Or they can be fixed hashtags for continuous efforts. Nike is a leader when it comes to creating a sense of community among fans. The #nikewomen hashtag, for example, focuses on a segment of the brand’s population that is active—women—and it allows the community to connect and brand under the hashtag.
5. Host events
Offline events allow your online community to meet in the real world and build bonds. It also gives them something to look forward to. For example, an athletic line could host events with pop-up shops, specials, fitness classes, and athlete educators. It allows community members to mingle, adds value to their experience with your brand, and it’s fun.
Our world might be highly digitized, but we still crave human connection. Building a community around your brand can help keep your brand fresh and personal as online action surges. One of the best ways to promote your brand is through your customers. So, create a community of customers that want to become brand advocates.