The idea of creating a community around brand or business is not new, but it has hugely evolved. Earlier, it used to revolve around passive persuasion based marketing strategies, but now, it entirely depends on the two-way interaction between your brand and your customers.
Today, you need to create interactive, dialogue-based communities around your brands and businesses. It is all the more important for startups that have products leveraged to tap into the Internet. Experts perceive these new methods to be a result of the information boom and project it as the next benchmark in brand loyalty.
As a business, you do not launch products every day, but you need to make your customers happy and leverage these interactive communities for acquisition and sales. For entrepreneurs, digital marketers create such communities is a very segmented and mindful operation.
But with some basic universal ingredients and your remarkable creativity, you can build an interactive brand community and benefit from enhanced interaction and engagement. Remember that you can always create a product. The key is to get people to use it.
Nowadays, you have to keep it informal. Forums, pages, and discussions won’t cut it; you have to have a mixed bag of best practices to create a thriving community around brand.
5 tips to create a community around brand, product or business
#1 Start Listening: Know your audience
“You have to treat, care and perceive each social media like as a person, and your aim should be to satisfy that person through engagement and information.”
Your online following is not just a number. They are multitudes of people with each one having their reasons for initiating an action. Similar to mainstream advertising that segments and targets their audience with specific messaging, you also need to understand different groups of people in your community and develop standard that cater specifically to them. This ensures that their engagement becomes productive.
An excellent and straightforward way to create a stellar community of followers over social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is simply by genuine interaction with your fans and getting to know them.
Your communication with each follower should be genuine and based on having a fruitful result. That result can be a sale or just information delivery.
#2 Make your marketing strategies fan-centric
For any content marketing campaign, be it email, social media or other, being customer-centric has been never more important than now. Amateur marketers often make the mistake of going forward with generic keyword based campaign and don’t take into consideration factors like demography and targeted interests. Read my article about online marketing mistakes to learn more.
You have to exceedingly personal to make your community around brand a hustling vine of engagement. Occasionally liking and commenting on what they emote is not enough. You have to get creative like start reposting, retweeting and appreciating your fans. Start writing blog posts about customer reactions and your engagement will start to see substantial spikes.
Once your fans get the idea that you as a brand, as a business and as influencers are taking them into the loop, engagement will increase and you will see a major growth in site activity.
Some key insights include:
- Projecting your product story lines based on humor or life-efficiency based concepts
- Asking your consumers to share experiences rather than moments of sale.
- Reengaging customer responses and replies in the form of messages, tweets, mentions, follow-backs, etc.
#3 Get Authentic, Get Organic, Get Real
One can immediately connect to the story right!
The most intriguing stories are the ones that base their ideas in real life concepts. Take humor, curiosity, philosophy or satire, the best examples to triggering these emotions in your audience lies in organic, genuine and creative content.
You have to bring out content that entices your community around a brand and engages. One of the main reasons behind the importance of content marketing is the connection it established with your target audience. If this respect is not organic, then every other dependent variable like conversions and bounce rates will start to falter.
An excellent way to justify this thought is to connect your business backend to your information-hungry customers. One can see how companies like Google employ videos and blogs to showcase their employee culture, best practices and explain their products.
No doubt, these guys set the rules but their logic behind making markets information driven rather than product driven is existential and we should abide by it by manufacturing customer-centric, engaging, real and authentic content.
“Having a million followers doesn’t guarantee business, having to engage and talk about your brand certainly, does.”
#4 Get your community talking to each other
This is one of the primeval benchmarks of community outreach programs that many expert marketers can also overlook sometimes. It’s okay. We’re only human!
What we need to realize is that community outreach means many-to-many relationships and not one-to-many.
It should not always be you or your brand interacting with your fans and followers. Ideally, the major part of engagement and re-engagement should be between the communities itself.
People need to interact with each other to form more concrete perceptions about your brand. When this happens you get more interested and curious potential leads who are looking for your brand due to word-of-mouth marketing.
So in developing many-to-many relationship based communities, not only do you foster brand loyalty but also word of mouth outreach.
Start treating your fans as sales partners and engage them accordingly, you will be happy with the outcome.
#5 The Grassroots Approach: Get Local, Expand microscopically
Don’t be misguided by the wordplay above. I just convey that business expansion starts with identifying markets. Take your time, understand your markets, move cautiously and try converting one person at a time rather than launching aggressively and getting nowhere.
When McDonalds first entered India, they incurred losses initially; customers were reluctant given the overlooked demographic details and cultural traditions. McDonalds had to overhaul quickly and restructure their menu, ad campaigns, and sales technique to suit Indian demography.
The world of targeted business marketing has not changed much concerning this aspect. Never treat all your markets the same. Your community around brand should specifically take into consideration the customs, likes, interests and other demographic variables, which come hand in hand when you enter new markets.
As your community around brand grows, the diversity of the members will increase, and engagement patterns will start differentiating. It is then that you also need to start differentiating based on similar standards.
Understand what interests the members of your community. If you are an online marketer, then some tools like Analytics can help you analyze such data. To know more about such tools, click here.
The era of storytelling has evolved. You need to spin-a-yarn with your customers rather than be a tell-all!
That’s true. I am sure most of us would be following the Game of Thrones over the social media. Ever seen their memes and how they are directed to get people talking, discussing, rejoicing and even creating and sharing their posts about it?
Well, you can have your giggle and moment of inspiration looking at, liking and sharing it but they are seriously doing genius stuff when it comes to engagement.
Thus, ending this article, I would just restate that try building a community based on organic content and many-to-many engagement and benefit from the enhanced outreach your brand generates.