Building Brand Community

Selling to your customers solely through push marketing tactics just doesn’t cut it anymore. Every day, customers are inundated with thousands of advertisements across digital, print, radio, television, and real-world channels, and they often tune them out. So, how do you market effectively and efficiently?

To complement ads and outbound communications, brands must innovate their marketing tactics to cut through the noise and develop lasting relationships with their current customers and prospects. Building a community is the answer.

First, what does it mean to build a brand community?

Community is about conversation and communication. Encouraging organic sharing and communication between audience members about the content you create, about your products, and, ultimately, about your brand is the key to a thriving community.

Communication is fueled by non-promotional content that lives on your website, blog, email, and social media accounts that serves a purpose greater than solely driving revenue.

The content you create needs to be useful, educational, and helpful, but most importantly, it needs to start conversations. It takes investment – both cash and time – to develop a community, but if done right, you can radically transform your business. Here’s how…

Reduce your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Creating well-written content that is of genuine interest to your target audience and starting conversations around it will boost your website’s SEO ranking, driving organic traffic to your site. Your readers will naturally want to share high-quality, interesting information with their peers and followers, boosting the reach of your content. This is in line with Jonah Berger’s theory that content that is seen as having practical value is more likely to be shared, as pointed out in his book, Contagious. And, recommendations from peers is a more trusted source than paid advertising from a brand, helping to convert prospects once they enter your sales funnel.

Uncover Valuable Customer Insights

Tapping into your community will help you learn exactly what problems they have and what role you can play in solving them. With a healthy community you can gather insights on how you can better serve your customer, which they may not tell you outright.

Sure you can scrape comments, social media, reviews, and other customer generated content, but the things the community share amongst themselves are often far more valuable than what you hear directly. Ever heard that people are most honest when speaking behind your back? Exactly.

The resulting insights can help inform new product development, improvements to your current offerings, guide customer service, and drive your content strategy. It’s a low-cost way to take the pulse of your target customer and can help you identify opportunities for expansion while minimizing waste.

Create and Foster Advocacy

A tight-knit community of supporters is likely to support your brand and introduce it to their peers. They will see you as more than a company they purchase from; your brand will be positioned as a thought leader, important resource, or even a support system, in their lives.

SWEAT, a workout app by Australian personal trainer, Kayla Itsines, doesn’t just sell subscriptions to its digital workouts, it has successfully built a community. Members have access to a community bulletin board where they can ask questions, post their fitness progress, and support one another.

SWEAT also has communities by city

Not only does this build a community of advocates to champion how SWEAT has changed their lives, but it keeps them going back to the app throughout the day, sharing content all the time, not just when they’re ready to work out.

Brands with Great Communities

Looking for inspiration? Here are five brands we think have strong communities.

Wrapping It Up

Community-driven content carries a type of social currency that makes the sharer of it be seen as a thought leader or being intelligent, boosting their self-esteem which would develop an even stronger affinity for your brand, leading to more advocacy on their end.

It may not happen overnight, but a thoughtful and intentional community-building strategy will reduce your cost per acquisition and turn one-time customers into devoted advocates for your brand. And with so many other brands competing for your customers’ time and attention, this can make or break your business.

Ready to build a community for your brand? Stay tuned for our next post, which will tell you how to do exactly that…