With 2.23 billion users logging in to their Facebook accounts every month to nearly over 13% of people on the planet using Instagram, there are more people on social media than anywhere else on the internet today.
Social media is an incredibly powerful platform to reach and influence more people than you could ever imagine. But it's not easy when every brand is trying to do the same thing. What is easy, though, is to get lost in the crowd and your voice drowned amidst the noise. Building a strong community of brand loyalists and followers can be a great way to get your brand seen and heard.
Why Develop a Brand Community?
Using digital channels and social networks to connect and communicate directly with a target audience, brands can build more authentic customer experiences and create better engagement. While most brands take to social media hoping to attract more attention to their products and services, it’s nothing compared to the impact and influence that a brand can achieve through successful community development.
Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, explains it brilliantly:
“Instead of projecting need for your product/service and value-driven content onto the customer and perpetuating the ‘us-them’ relationship, you’re dissolving boundaries and forming a ‘we’ experience – a community. You’re opening the door, welcoming them in for coffee, inviting feedback and providing a space for interacting with like-minded individuals.”
Now you can see why building an active and engaged brand community in 2019 could help you stand out from your competitors. Here are some tips to get started.
Maintaining strong relationships with viewers, readers and listeners is key to social media success — whether you’re building an online community or simply trying to promote your brand. But if you’re planning to create a huge following of brand advocates, it takes a lot of effort and a great deal of commitment to stay on top of customer interactions. Remember, every interaction counts!
It may not be practically possible to reply to everyone who interacts with the content you share, but paying close attention to conversations that your customers and followers engage in is absolutely critical whether it's on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.!
Many experts advocate consistently posting content that is 100% original. The biggest problem with this advice is that coming up with original posts on a regular basis can be difficult and time-consuming, unless you have a huge team behind the effort.
Instead, the strategy of combining original content with curated ones is much more manageable and sustainable, and it allows you to deliver valuable content consistently. This could also open up your opportunities to collaborate with other trustworthy brands — a surefire way to boost customer engagement and trust in your own brand.
An important facet of building and nurturing online communities is to keep your members and followers active and engaged — be it through interactive activities like contests, polls, and quizzes, or by offering incentives like coupons or giveaways.
Another way to spark participation is by sharing user-generated content. Analyze your social media data to identify your top contributors and bring them into the spotlight.
It’s a well-established fact that content that elicits an emotional response is a hit with people. Studies have shown that content with a higher emotional quotient typically gets shared 2X more than that which contains little emotional value.
The best social media pages use emotional hooks to draw their audiences in and connect with them on a deeper level. Therefore, it’s a great thing if you’re able to inject the right dose of emotions in your content. Plus, it can go a long way in humanizing your brand.
Trust in a brand is what drives people to associate with them. It’s also the cornerstone of a community, be it online or offline. An obvious way to build trust in your business is to be honest, which also includes owning up to your mistakes when you make them.
No company is 100% perfect but taking responsibility and being open in the face of criticism immediately differentiates you from the rest. It contributes further to reveal your human side. Needless to say, transparency is a big winner among followers and will boost their confidence in your brand.
Lastly, it’s important to approach community building with the goal of providing value. If you’re only focused on increasing your number of followers, chances are you won’t get much value in return — and it certainly won't help build a community. After all, the give and take of value is what a community is all about!
With these tips under your belt, we’re hoping you’ll be on your way to build an awesome community and grow your following organically.