3 Must-Have Community Building Strategies for Your Brand
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. Building a brand community is something businesses do every day. All you need is a community building strategy. Luckily, we have some tips and tricks right here.
Table of Contents
- What Is Brand Community Building?
- 3 Effective Community Building Strategies
- 5 Tips for Building a Brand Community
- Examples of Brand Communities
- Types of Powerful Brand Communities
What Is Brand Community Building?
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 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.
Those that belong to your brand community create a buzz around your offerings. Your products become a no-brainer part of their routine and a purchase that they must make over and over again.
And that is where the magic happens.
One thing to note: A brand community (member) is different from a brand advocate. Often advocates exist when there's a mutual benefit between a person and a brand when it comes to promotion or engagement.
3 Effective Community Building Strategies
Community building is an essential part of leveling up any brand's online presence. Let's dive into three key community building strategies you can put into play right now.
#1. Leverage Social Media
Most social media comes with built-in community strategies. For example, Meta and Reddit offer their tips for building community. The ability to reach people who are self-selecting their interests is a marketer's dream.
More than that, it helps people feel connected to a common goal or interest. By engaging in social media communities, your ability to build interest and community around your product skyrockets.
Meet your audience where they're at and tap community members and influential engagers in the community to engage with your product. Micro-influencers are a critical tool in the community builder's arsenal.
Micro-influencers are found to be far more effective at driving return on investment. At the end of the day, real customers are having more authentic conversations in more places than your company's corporate account. It's time to start using these groups to engage at the micro level.
#2. Engage With Online Discussions
Along with activating your already willing audiences, there may be conversations that you're being mentioned in that you don't know about yet. Join communities that mention your name. Use the basic search functions in the tools to find your brand or invest in a tool that can track online engagement and conversations.
Tools like SparkToro and Audiense can uncover where your audience is and what they're interested in.
The next step is to actively engage in those pre-existing communities. There are a couple of ways to do that: AMAs and engaging in organic conversations.
Reddit popularized the "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) format on their platform, and now you can't seem to get away from it. AMAs are popular all over the web and are a great way to engage with your community conspicuously and with open arms. Just be ready to answer some tricky questions!
The second way to engage is to find a conversation and start conversing. Whether you're tagged or you're engaging organically, you can provide a lot of support to your community by just being there.
Your community wants to be involved in your brand. Co-creating content is a great community building strategy that enables your community to get more involved. Use a software platform like Cohley to help you work with your community to create effective user-generated content for your campaigns.
Another way to co-create with your community is to bring in their feedback on your products. Use tactics like review analysis, focus groups, surveys, and AMAs to invite product feedback. Then, actually make those changes. That's the key!
5 Tips for Building a Brand Community
How do you connect the supporters of your brand to create a community? Here are some of our favorite brand community building tips that'll help you take your first step.
#1. Define Your Brand
You need to know who and what your brand is. This means going 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 clearer you are on your brand’s identity, and the more you show it to the world, the easier it will be to attract your target audience.
#2. Define What You Want 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:
- What is the purpose of my brand's community?
- How will community members stay engaged?
- What metrics are we going to track?
- Will we encourage users to share content of our product or service?
#3. Pick a Platform for Your Online Community
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 are.
Some platforms to choose from include forums, social media platforms, content creator communities, or even third-party communication tools. No matter which platform you choose, make sure your audience knows where to find you and that your chosen "home" is accessible.
#4. Interact & Engage 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. After all, there’s 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 and 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 term.
#5. Listen to Your Brand Community
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 successful.
Listening isn't just a positive for customers who end up getting what they want. It's also a huge bonus for brands who can then pivot and create solutions for common problems and needs, elevating their product to meet demand.
A great example of this happening right under our noses is the addition of dog beds and accessories to the CordaRoy's product lineup. By reviewing the large set of data and tests CordaRoy's had done, a trend became apparent—people LOVE their dogs (shocker, we know).
This helped the marketing team develop a POV on why CordaRoy's should create dog beds. This led to the development of some of CordaRoys' most popular items and enabled the company to expand its reach.
Examples of Brand Communities
Brand communities are as different 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, while other brands will pursue a hub for which their supporters can chat and connect over a mutual love for a product or service.
Let's discuss some examples of popular brand communities across the web.
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 a double-whammy.
Peloton is another great example of brand community cultivation surrounding customer contentedness. Peloton has built a community in several ways, but the overarching thread is to harness humanity's competitive spirit.
This is accomplished through the leaderboard feature, hashtags, challenges, and gamifying their workouts. They encourage community groups to add hashtags to connect outside the content and include features specifically for those community groups.
Sephora Beauty Insider Community
The Sephora Beauty Insider Community is another forum-esque community where lovers of all things makeup and beauty can come together. Users can ask questions, join fun challenges, and more with just a few clicks.
Types of Powerful Brand Communities
There are many types of powerful brand communities that you can build. Some examples of these types include:
- Influencer groups
- Community resource guides
- Support groups for various topics/challenges/people
- Social media communities (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Discord, Reddit, TikTok, etc.)
- Fan clubs
And so many more!
Cohley: Create Content to Strengthen Your Brand Community
Content marketing is a powerful tool. Here at Cohley, we’re massive advocates of using compelling visual assets in your brand community building strategies.
We’re able to cut through the noise of social media and help connect you with the best content creators for you without you having to do any of the work upfront. We aim to help you create beautiful content for any platform, at a fraction of the cost of directly outsourcing it yourself.
Want to learn more? Reach out to us today to schedule a demo of Cohley!
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.