How to Build a Community Around Your Brand

online communities

Have you ever wondered why some brands seem able to enjoy perpetual growth while others have trouble even gaining momentum at all? Sometimes there’s no easy answer to this question, but in many cases, successful brands get to where they are with the help of loyal supporters. Keep reading to learn how to kick start and continually grow a community spirit for your brand. Doing so might mean you can cut back on marketing expenses while still getting great results.

Learn From What You Already Know

During the early phases of community building, people often either get overwhelmed or over-eager by the prospect, so they end up trying to make something from scratch. Instead, do some research to find out more about the kinds of people who are already talking about news within your industry, and where they’re doing it. Once you’ve identified a few channels, it’ll be much easier to determine where to focus your investigational efforts.

If you find people are buzzing about associated topics via Instagram and are creating dozens of pinboards, that might be a good clue to start appealing to users of the site and seeing if you can segment them into a community of your own. There’s a possibility you may find interested user groups in several places. To avoid exhausting yourself, focus on just one or two at a time so you don’t try to become too big too fast.

Engage With People

Eventually, you’ll probably find individuals who aren’t just talking about general things in your industry, but know about your specific products, too. Those Internet users may end up being the first users of your community, and it could work to your advantage if those people are extremely enthusiastic. Reach out to them by finding out how they use your products, but do so in a natural way that feels like how you’d speak to a friend. Make it clear how the feedback could be valuable for the future, too.

That may cause your earliest community members to feel like they are playing important roles in helping a brand they love to succeed. If you’re able to inspire that impression, you’re already doing a great job to give your community a sturdy foundation that will hold up even as the user base grows.

Get Social

Social media is an excellent way to rapidly grow a sense of community around your brand. To get things off to a good start, think about letting people earn points or rewards for agreeing to help you share things about your brand on widely used social media channels like Facebook. If people are already strongly behind your brand, doing that should feel like second nature and something they’re glad to take part in. For those who aren’t quite on board, the incentive you offer for spreading the word on social media should seal the deal.

Inform Others

brand community

Ideally, an online community should be so worthwhile to your customers that it’s not even something they see as a marketing effort. The Havahart community pages associated with the animal control brand offer great examples. They offer advice about how to get rid of smelly skunks, give a few interesting facts about different types of common animals and more. Most of the content is presented through a blog, but readers have the chance to make comments on each post.

Trying something like that could be a great way to get your community going, especially if you don’t have enough time to moderate an entire message board of users, but could handle sorting through a few dozen comments before they go public.

Keep an Eye on Things

Finally, whether your community is comprised of 50 people or 5,000, it’s important to monitor things carefully. The insight you get will make it easier to determine whether a conversation is waning and needs to be revived, or if someone is going out of his or her way to be offensive. If matters get too out of hand, you may need to make a set of community guidelines to encourage everyone to be happy and civil.

Building a community that’s focused on your brand is not a quick process, but it’s often an extremely rewarding one. If you’re feeling daunted by the thought of getting started, the tips above could ease your concerns.

Images by Bill Johnston and Havahart [box type="note"]

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Saturday, 20 July 2019
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