Businesses are always looking for ways to strengthen their brand. For this, they need to have quality and frequent conversations or chats with their customers. In order to do that, they commonly build what is called a brand community.
Brand communities bring together all of a business’s customers in one place or platform. If a business is able to build a brand community, it has a competitive edge over others because it is a massive win in terms of its brand image and sales volumes.
Brand communities are actually a win-win for the business and its customers. While businesses are able to enhance their brand equity through their brand communities, customers have fun communicating with each other, resolving issues about the products, and sharing honest feedback about their experience with the brand.
To understand the concept of a brand community further, let’s define what is a brand community first.
What is a Brand Community?
A brand community is a platform where all the users or customers of a brand interact with each other. These users typically have the following activities within the brand community.
Sharing ideas about product improvements that they would like the brand to bring about.
Giving feedback on their experience with the brand’s products and the brand’s customer support staff.
Making jokes and memes about the brand and its products may or may not suit the brand image.
Asking questions about the brand and its products/services.
Answering queries from other customers that certain customers have answers to.
Get in touch with the brand ambassadors and influencers.
Launching complaints about the products and asking for refunds or repairs.
Simply chatting for fun with other like-minded people in the community.
A brand community is the best display of brand loyalty. Building brand community is among the best brand management strategies and should not be ignored or avoided if you want your brand to grow and prosper. People who actively participate in a brand community are really emotionally invested in their conversations. They are usually your frequent buyers and digest any content you publish seriously. They also help to spread the word about your brand to others in their networks. Therefore, they are valuable to your business and should be taken care of.
Building brand community is not the same as building brand awareness. Creating brand awareness simply means telling people about your brand, which usually involves direct marketing strategies. But in doing so, you do not necessarily build a brand community, where everyone you approach can come together and interact with each other. Just because someone has heard about your brand or even appreciates it does not necessarily mean they are engaged in your brand community.
Participants of brand communities are usually active on social media too. These people can quickly become influencers in social media channels and carry your brand image higher and higher, as long as they are kept satisfied. They enjoy knowing about everything that your brand does and like to share the information with others. They also help others within the brand community in resolving any issues related to the brand. In other words, they provide a free marketing service to you. The emotional connection that they have with your brand can go a long way in helping you penetrate more markets and expanding your sales revenue.
Why Do You Need to Build Your Brand Community?
Almost all businesses understand these days that they already have a brand community on social media whether they consciously put in the effort or not. Most brand communities on social media are created by default. Even if a business does not create a Facebook Page to represent its brand on Facebook, for instance, someone else will create it for you. It is then your job to find out about this community and start interacting with the members there. You also need to develop a strategy to make it easy for the members to interact with each other.
You need to do this because your brand community is essential for your business in the following ways.
1. Acts as a Marketing Tool
You need to do this because the brand community can become a potent marketing tool for your business. It will act as a group of people who regularly buy and use your products or services, and you can even reach out to them regularly. You can ask them about their experiences with the product, take suggestions for improvement, find out about any complaints, and announce new product releases or updates.
At Strikingly, we have a help center that serves this purpose. Our brand community is where our users interact with each other and solve each other’s Strikingly related problems.
Image taken from Strikingly
2. Provides a Platform to Share Your Blog Posts
If you have a blog, you can share your blog posts in the brand community to create an even better impression about your brand. Content marketing helps give information about your products to others and allows others to see you as an authority and an expert in the industry. A blog can be a means to promote your brand and your website at almost zero cost.
At Strikingly, we have a blog where we regularly post articles related to the niches we serve. It allows us to interact with our users, and to promote their businesses by mentioning their websites in our articles.
Image taken from Strikingly
3. Helps You to Make Customer-Driven Decisions
Furthermore, a brand community helps you to make customer-driven decisions. Since you can easily get all the feedback about your brand that you need in the brand community, you can make more informed decisions and develop more effective marketing strategies to further enhance your brand equity. Ensure you can build and maintain a strong brand community, where members keep thriving and rewarding each other regularly. This way, it can become a means of gaining all-star customer success.
Steps to Build a Brand Community
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for building brand community. However, there are certain steps that you can take that will increase your chances of building an outstanding brand community.
1. Define Your Brand
The first thing you need to do is define your brand. It should be clear to your prospects what you are selling, your company background, which market or niche you are targeting, and how you plan to expand. If customers are confused about where you are coming from, they will not feel like interacting with your brand or any community you build around your brand.
Since brand communities are a means for you to make more informed and customer-driven decisions, you need to ask yourself specific questions before developing a brand community. These questions may include some of these given below.
What are your company goals, and are they in line with your brand community goals?
How will you measure the success of your brand community?
How will you make sure to keep your community members engaged?
Which primary metrics are you going to track to check the effectiveness of the community?
If you have the answers to the above questions or metrics, you are ready to build a brand community.
3. Choose a Suitable Platform
Before you start inviting members, you need to decide what platform to use for building brand community. Some of the best brand communities these days are made on Facebook in the form of Facebook Groups. The advantage of using Facebook as your brand community platform is that everyone is already familiar with how its template works. So it is easy for anyone to just join the group and start interacting with the members there. There are no new rules or methods that they will need to familiarize themselves with. If you have a brand community on Facebook, you can even create a Facebook one-click website through it.
Another good platform that some of the best brand communities are using is a blog. Businesses often create their own blog and hire professional writers to post articles on it that are related to the industry that the company operates in. Among brand community examples that are built as a blog is the one shown below.
Once you have decided where your brand community will be, it’s time to get the word out there. Invite people in your personal and professional networks to join the community. Business networking can really get your brand community to grow. Give incentives to people to share about your community with others. If someone decides to carry your brand forward and spread it as a loyal customer, you can get lucky too. That means you will be able to grow your brand community members with minimum effort on your part.
5. Regularly Engage With Your Brand Community
The whole point of building brand community is to interact with your customers and keep them engaged with your brand regularly. Good brand communities are those that are fun and interactive. If members of your brand community start losing interest in your brand, you need to find the root cause of that and take corrective measures immediately.
Before building a brand community, you must have a brand website. If you are looking for a simple tool to create a website yourself, try out Strikingly. Strikingly is a website builder that enables you to develop a full-fledged website and launch it within hours. It is a cost-effective and fun platform to build an online presence for your brand.