We’re in the business of building relationships. No matter your industry, product or service, rapport and a sense of community foster growth and development. Here’s why we believe that an engaged community is one of the most precious assets, and how to build one.
What is a brand community and why does it matter?
Think of the individuals within your specific community as your brand cheerleaders, advocates and ambassadors. They are the individuals who actively share your business, spread the word, purchase from you, engage with content and build awareness – even without you actively taking part. They’re emotionally invested.
Often, these customers will follow you closely on social media and interact with the brand in various ways. You may notice the same few users commenting on and liking every Instagram post, for example.
This select audience is a powerful tool for your business. Not only do they offer priceless word of mouth, but they also offer opportunities for market research, whether it’s testing new products and ideas or collecting general feedback.
This back and forth and honing of tone helps to humanise a brand. According to a 2018 study, this human connection also builds brand loyalty (57% of consumers responded in favour). 58% also said that human connection would increase their spending on a particular brand and the likelihood of recommending to others.
How to build a community
Some businesses choose to start a specific forum or discussion group, however these models require a lot of additional maintenance and, often, a full-time moderator. Instead, the easiest way to build a community of engaged customers is via your existing platforms – in particular, social media.
Use Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or any other platforms relevant to your line of business to communicate with them. The content you post is a gateway for conversation; ask questions and interact in the comments and direct messages.
You may choose to launch a business-specific hashtag to encourage user-generated content. Customers may post images of themselves with your products, tagging the brand and using relevant hashtags. This builds a bank of valuable content – like, repost and reshare while generating further rapport. After all, each of us loves to feel noticed, important and worthy.
Think of ways that you can give back to your community, as well. Giveaways, loyalty programs and discounts help them to feel rewarded and valued.
Why value is so important
Remember that this is a relationship – it must be mutually beneficial. Treat your community with respect and reap the benefits. Always consider their needs and interests: how can you keep them engaged and provide added value to them?
This is particularly relevant regarding social media content. Make sure that your posting strategy is purposeful – engaging, entertaining, useful and meaningful. Don’t stick to product-based content alone – anything that reads as too “salesy” doesn’t make for a valued, two-way relationship. Mix up these posts with others that offer your audience something, whether it is genuinely helpful, interesting or funny. Infographics are a great tool here, adding digestible information in a visually-pleasing way. As a general rule of thumb, 80% of content posted should fit in the useful bracket with the remaining 20% directly promoting the business.
With a dedicated Social Media team, we are here to help you strategise, develop content and build your community. Chat to RealClicks today and start nurturing these relationships for better business.