Community Building Strategies for Your Brand
Online Community Building Strategies for Brands
Ever wish you had one place to turn, when you were looking for your brand’s biggest and most loyal supporters? A place where people that love your brand can connect with each other, maybe sharing some of their favorite products or services, or just creating a community of positive energy?
Sounds like a dream come true...right?
It doesn’t just have to be that “maybe one day” dream that you’re crossing your fingers for. Brands are building communities like this every day, and some community building strategies create thriving communities.
But are brand communities really all that important? Keep reading to find out.
What is brand community building and why is it important?
What does it mean to build a brand community?
A brand community is a group of people who not only love and advocate for your brand, but is a place where relationships are built and action can be taken in support of your brand/product/services. Think of these people as the most powerful advertising campaign you’ve ever created. They’ve welcomed your brand into their lives, and they’re eager to share your values and your offerings with the world.
Your brand community is so important - but don’t just take it from us. 70% of marketers agree that nurturing and building a brand community is more important than direct sales.
Scrollers become customers, and customers can become your most loyal support system. Those that belong to your community create a buzz around your offerings. They become a no-brainer part of their routine, a purchase that’s repurchased over and over again without having thought about it twice.
And that, indeed, is where the magic happens.
One thing to note: A brand community (member) is different from a brand advocate. Often advocates exist when there is mutual benefit between person and brand when it comes to promotion or engagement.
Tips to start building a brand community
As you read this, you know there’s people out there who love your brand and are already actively engaging with your brand at various touch points. But how do you connect the supporters of your brand with each other to create a community? Here are some of our favorite community-building strategies that’ll help you take your first step to building or strengthening an existing brand community.
Define your brand
You need to know who and what your brand is - beyond what you market and sell to your customers. Identify your brand’s personality, values, vision, mission statement and point of view. Who are you selling to? What do you want to be recognized for?
These key points are important to define before you put a massive effort (or expense) into building your community. Think about it this way: the more solid you are on your brand’s identity, and the more you show it to the world - you’ll attract more of your brand’s ideal customer and target audience.
Define what you’re hoping to achieve
What are your goals and key metrics? You can use a brand community to gather feedback, spread awareness or share about a new product or brand initiative that is soon to launch. But building a brand community is more than just sharing your news. You’ll have to needle through the noise, and define a set strategy that you’ll stick to when building your community. Answering some integral questions can help you better set your community up for success.
A few of these questions might include: What is the purpose of my brand’s community? How will community members stay engaged? What metrics are you tracking? Will you encourage users to share content of your product or service and how they interact with it?
Where will your community live? (Pick a platform!)
Where your community lives is almost as important as defining your community’s purpose. It’s important to consider what’s best for your brand and also what’s best for your audience, because you’ll want to meet them where they’re at - not make their user experience ultra-complicated when they’re trying to find you.
You could even utilize content creator communities to jumpstart your initial community-building efforts. If these creators begin to buy and engage with your product or service, following up with a recommendation to their followers to do the same - you’re able to make use of these creators as brand advocates, and their communities as the beginning (or extension) of yours.
Whether you choose a forum, a social media platform or a third-party communication tool - make sure your audience knows where you are and that your chosen ‘home’ for your community is accessible!
Interact and engage with your community regularly
No one likes the feeling of constantly being the one to reach out or trying to establish a connection without receiving anything in return. This is why you should always try to engage with your community when they @mention you, tag you in a photo they took or spread the love about your products/services. We understand that you can’t always engage with everyone - there’s sometimes just not enough time in the day! But doing your best to connect with your community will continue to enhance your brand-customer relationships going forward.
Set up an environment that’s fun, exciting and where friendships and connections can be made. It will encourage your audience to engage with your brand and each other, strengthening your community for the long-run.
Listen to your community and customers
Incorporate your customer feedback into your product or service. This shows that you’re not just pumping out content, but actively engaging with the people who make your brand run. We’ve seen this be not only a net positive for the customers, because they’re getting what they want, but a huge bonus for the brand, who can now pivot and create solutions for common problems or elevate their product offering to meet the demand. A great example of this happening right under our very noses is the addition of dog beds and accessories to the CordaRoys product lineup. By reviewing the large set of data and tests CordaRoys had done, a trend became apparent - people LOVE their dogs (shocker, we know). This helped the marketing team develop a POV on why CordaRoys should create dog beds, leading to some of the most popular items on their website, and expanding their reach and revenue in the process.
Types of brand communities
Brand communities can differ as frequently and as diversely as much as the brands that build them. They’re not a one-size-fits-all, and that can work to your brand’s benefit. Some choose to create a resource-based informational community, other brands will pursue a hub for which their supporters can chat and connect over a mutual love for a product or service. User-generated content is a massive benefit that comes from brand communities - and this content can come in all shapes and be tailored to a multitude of platforms.
Take Spotify for example. Their community is forum-based, which is perfectly suited for a widespread, global audience. Users can chat and connect over artists that they love, share their favorite playlists or create buzz about an up and coming new artist or podcast. No matter what the audio-based topic, Spotify has created a hub for communication between their community members with their streaming service (and music streaming in general) taking center stage.
Talk about your double-whammy.
My Starbucks Idea
My Starbucks Idea is another great example of brand community cultivation surrounding innovation and customer feedback. Out of this idea sprung the crowd-favorite, FREE WIFI (!!!), as well as the popular peach green-tea lemonade for the hotter days of summer. These are just two of the nearly 300+ innovations coming from the minds of customers all around the world, and showing that they listen to their customers strengthens not only their brand, but their progression moving forward.
Types of powerful brand communities:
Community resource guides
Support groups for various topics/challenges/people
Social media communities (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Discord, Reddit, TikTok, etc.)
And so many more!
Why Choose Cohley?
Content marketing is a powerful tool in your belt, especially if you use it well. Here at Cohley, we’re massive advocates of using compelling visual assets in your content marketing strategy - whether it’s for a new campaign or to build or strengthen your brand community.
We’re able to cut through the noise of social media and help connect you with the best, most-suited to your brand short-list of content creators without you having to do any of the brunt work up front. Our aim is to help you create beautiful content for any platform, at a fraction of the cost of directly outsourcing it yourself.
Eager to see more? Take a look at some of our customers’ success stories to learn all about what the Cohley Content Platform can do for your brand.
Written by Jenn Wang
Jenn is our Director of Brand Strategy and our first hire! Constantly in the pursuit of a vibrant life, Jenn leads our internal and external product marketing functions, supports sales and CSMs teams, product resources and training, and oversees all fully managed client services. This go-getter is all about challenging the status quo of content generation and creating a flawless system that works for Cohley's customers. Outside of work, Jenn can be found planning her next vacation, eating seafood, or patting every dog she sees.