We read a lot about the importance of joining online communities to network, learn new things, and keep updated on the latest trends in the industries we work in. However, this time we wanted to talk about why it’s important for brands to build communities too. Brand communities are great both for those who are part of them (consumers or potential customers) and for the organization that owns the brand.
Why are communities good for both organizations and consumers? What are the best strategies for building a community around your brand? Which are the best examples of online brand communities? Read on to find out! 👇
What Are Brand Communities?
A brand community consists of a group of users, consumers, or potential customers of a specific brand who have a connection with each other based on their commitment to the culture and values of that brand.
Thanks to the evolution of technology, people can connect with each other through digital media. It’s through that connection that online communities are built. And these groups will help formalize their commitment to the brand.
The question is: How can we -as creators, members of an organization, or freelance professionals- build a loyal and participative community around our brand? 👇
1. Know Your Brand
In order for others to want to be part of a community that supports your brand’s culture and values, you must be the first one to be clear about them. Therefore, you should do the necessary research.
What’s the differential value of your brand? What makes it unique and what differentiates it from the competition? Why do consumers choose it and why people would recommend it? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself to get started.
2. Define Your Goals
💪 It’s also important to define your goals. That is, what do you want to achieve with the community. In Sprout Social’s blog, they give some ideas of questions you can ask yourself when defining your objectives and metrics to measure them:
What’s the purpose behind the community?
What are you doing for your community members to stay engaged?
How and with which metrics are you measuring the success of your brand community?
3. Choose the Platform That Most Suits You
There are a lot of digital platforms where you can build your community. These include social media (Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), rewards or affiliate programs (Starbucks is a great example of a successful brand community), forums, or third-party community platforms, such as Slack or Discord.
The platform you choose has to be the one where your target audience is, the people you want to talk to.Javier Mirande, CEO at Regrow Academy
It’s important to dedicate time exclusively to those platforms where you think you will stand out. And, fundamentally, be where your target users, consumers, and potential consumers are.
4. Sustainable Brand Community Engagement Strategies
The first step to building an engaged community is to listen to your audience. Facilitate channels for them to express their thoughts, and read their reviews, comments, and experiences. Clients’ comments on our work are probably the best way to understand what we’re doing right and what aspects could be improved.
It’s important to know that creating or managing a group is not enough to build an engaged community. Instead, you also have to show active participation and interaction with other community members. It’s essential that people who are behind the scenes in a brand community lead the conversation to promote real interest in other users.
Last but not least, a great way to encourage interaction and participation from members of your community is to host regular activities, both online and offline. However, it’s definitely not good to overcharge your community members with plenty of gatherings each month.
💡 The key is to host regular meetings, events, and other plans that naturally fit your community’s interests and add value to their daily lives.
D23 is a great example of a successful brand community. It’s Disney’s official fan club, and members can join both for free or with a paid subscription to access the Gold Member membership.
When joining this community, you’ll have access to a weekly newsletter, exclusive discounts and offers, and access to special Disney events. D23’s present on various platforms. It has an official web page, various social media accounts, such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, and an all-new app.
The Gold Member subscription costs $99.99 per year with the Individual Plan or $129.99 per year with the Duo Plan.
5. Show Consumers Your Brand Is Trustworthy
The best brand communities are the ones that provide its members a safe and trustworthy environment. Somewhere they can connect with like-minded people and with whom they share similar values and principles.
Therefore, one of the main added values of brands and brand communities is their credibility.
According to a 2019 study carried out by the media agency UM, only 4% of respondents said they trusted what influencers said online.
In this context, trustworthiness is installed as an even scarcer value. Therefore, it’s more important if you want to generate a deep and sincere bond with the users of your brand.
So if you want to build a great community, be sure to appear trustworthy to your consumers. Their loyalty will be transformed into both opportunities to purchase your products and recommendations to potential customers.
In Unita, we believe that the most successful brand communities are built thanks to people who are truly enjoying the space they’ve created. If you can create and transmit that through an online group, then other users will want to join as well! If you want to become a part of a community, explore our full list of online groups to find the place you belong to.