Building a community around your brand is one of the best things you can do to create a positive experience and improve customer loyalty. Let's look at a few ways to foster communities around your business and the benefits of using this strategy.
Everyone wants to feel like they're a part of something. When people feel like they belong to a community, they tend to be happier, more receptive, and more optimistic about the future.
We all flock to groups that share similar interests and goals; it's in our nature. Small communities break up everything from sports to online forums, so it makes sense that this trend would carry over into the relationships between consumers and businesses.
We all have our favorite brands and are often loyal to these companies unless it's changed or discontinued. Have you ever asked a Folger's loyalist to switch to Maxwell House coffee? If not, try it sometime, and you'll see what I mean.
The explosion of digital marketing has made it easy for companies to build communities around their brands. Consumers are happy to engage in this activity for many reasons, which we will discuss soon enough.
Today, we will share some benefits of building a community around your brand and show you how to get started.
Put plainly, a brand community is a group of people with similar interests, goals, ideas, or values. They often discuss the industry or product in great detail with others. If you're wondering how many people enjoy this activity, consider this statistic; over 65% of people claim they've formed an emotional connection with a business.
It's safe to say that communities play a significant part in this trend. Without a community, an online store is just a place to shop. People want interactive experiences when they engage with a company, so it's no surprise that business owners and marketers answered this call.
What are the benefits of building brand communities?
First, you should know that these communities can help improve engagement across the board. If your business has a strong community, people are more likely to open emails, respond to social media posts, and engage with your on-site content.
As a result, this practice can improve your customer retention rate. In other words, People are more likely to place a second, third, and fourth order if they still interact with the community you've built around your company.
It's also worth mentioning that groups of people who discuss your company or products in a positive light create social proof for your business. For example, when new users discover your brand, they are more likely to take action if they see happy customers discussing you on social media and in blog comments.
In this sense, communities help improve brand awareness too!
Communities also allow you to listen to the needs of your users. You can show that you value your audience by considering their feedback and making practical changes to your product, service, or website.
If you want to build a community around your brand, you should first establish a clear mission and values. People love to rally behind causes. For instance, some go out of their way to engage with eco-friendly brands.
While having a worthy social cause behind your brand can't hurt, having values connected directly to what you sell is also important.
A SaaS specializing in email marketing tools for small businesses might include in their values that they want to help new business owners compete with big-time competitors with bottomless wallets. This sentiment should resonate with every customer who purchases their software.
The key to establishing clear values is to put yourself in your customers' shoes. What would you want and expect from a company that sells your product? If you need more help, don't hesitate to send a survey to existing customers and subscribers so you can learn more about their thoughts, vision, goals, and pain points.
Publish high-quality content
The content on your website will have a dramatic impact on the community around your brand. Of course, users are not going to buy something from your site every day. However, they may visit your blog and read your latest articles.
Building a loyal community means giving people something to do that doesn't require them to spend money. If users have engaging, relevant content to read, they have a reason to visit your website. According to recent surveys, 60% of marketers say publishing high-quality blog posts improves brand loyalty and increases engagement.
If you understand your target audience, you can create a wide range of content that matches their needs and piques their interest. I recommend using more than just text-based content too. Video marketing is more significant now than ever before. On YouTube alone, it's estimated that people watch 1 billion hours of content daily. Shocking, right?
Spend time on social media
Without mentioning social media, I can't talk about building a fantastic community around your brand. Across the world, over 4.75 billion people use social sites to talk to friends and engage with businesses. If you're not on at least a few social media sites, you're missing countless chances to build rapport with customers and connect with new prospects.
Trust me when I say some people want what you're selling but don't know your company exists. Nearly 60% of people turn to social media to buy something online. The number one rule for building a community on social media is to be responsive.
Hire a social media support team to help users through direct messages or comments if possible. After you help someone, there's a good chance they will continue interacting with your posts. You should also use social listening to discover when others talk about your company or products.
Track relevant keywords and hashtags to stay connected with your audience. Then, comment on these posts and show the customer that you're there and want to ensure they have the best experience possible. This seemingly small gesture is fundamental for getting people to see you as more than a faceless brand.
Using sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, you can create a community page where people discuss your products or the industry. It takes time to build something like this from the ground up, but the benefits far outweigh the effort once it gets rolling.
Events are excellent for building rapport with customers and subscribers on your website and social media. You can do many things to get users to interact with your brand. In my experience, contests are perhaps one of the best events you can host.
But first, you'll want to choose a prize, like something from your online store or something more widely used, like an Amazon gift card. Encourage customers to interact with your community for chances to enter. For example, you could give your audience three ways to enter:
Subscribe to your email list
Comment on your post
Visit your social media community
If a ton of people participate, these entry methods will work in tandem to build a well-rounded community. Of course, not everyone who signs up will continue engaging with your business. But if you can get a few people to continue interacting with your brand after the event, you'll begin to see consistent growth.
You can also use live streaming as the portal for your event. Sometimes, we host webinars where we teach users how to use our product and encourage them to "ask the experts" their burning questions about the industry.
These events will help you build an audience that genuinely wants to engage with your brand and experience the benefits of what you're selling.
Reward users for participating
One reason people join communities is they want to receive benefits. These benefits usually include access to gated content and exclusive promotions. Let's say you add a hidden community page to your website. Once users join your email list, they can see the page that was previously locked.
In addition, users can download infographics, cheat sheets, checklists, and PDFs of your blog posts on this page. This is a great incentive for someone who wants to understand your industry and product but needs extra help.
When it comes to promotions, your strategy will vary significantly based on what you sell, the size of your business, and your industry. For example, software companies can reward users for joining a community by giving them 30% off an annual subscription.
If you sell physical goods, you can offer similar promotions or include gifts with each order. For example, a company that sells candles may send people who join their community a package of sample candles so they can find one that's right for them.
Ask for feedback
Finally, you'll have a good chance of building a solid community if you consistently ask people for feedback. It's easy to get lost in the big picture, so we may miss smaller opportunities to strengthen the community around our business.
Listening to your target audience allows you to get inside their minds and understand what they expect from your company. The more you know, the better. Use social media polls, on-site feedback forms, and email surveys to figure out how to create the best experience possible for your readers.
We use a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended questions on most of our surveys. Use an analytics tool to track the responses so you can quickly and easily access the data when needed.
As you can see, building a community is a detailed process with many routes to success. The tips and insights presented here today will help you on your journey and allow you to connect with your customers in new and exciting ways.
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.