How to build a community around your brand

Mar 25, 2015 by
How to build a community around your brand

There are numerous benefits to having a community of people who are loyal to your brand. A sense of community amongst your customers is key to repeat business as well as positive personal recommendations, both of which help ensure the longevity of your brand.

Brand valuesA loyal community is also a tremendous asset from a marketing perspective?–?with people advocating your services and products all over the net, you can expand your outreach without having to do all the legwork yourself. As your reputation grows, more and more links will be created (some of which will hopefully be on sites with high authority), boosting your site’s SEO and helping you climb up the search engine rankings. Here are some of the ways you can help to build a community so that your brand can thrive.

Connect with your local community

In the information age where money can be made without ever having to personally interact with people, it’s easy to forget the importance of face-to-face communications. Even if your business is digital in nature, creating a buzz in your local area is not to be neglected. Local media is an excellent avenue for generating coverage about your business, particularly for startups which may struggle to get attention from larger news sources. Attending local conventions and exhibitions can be highly profitable for networking purposes, and you may even wish to consider offering your services for free for charitable causes (particularly if this results in vast amounts of exposure).

Cultivate engagement on social media

Earth FIt is now expected for businesses to use their social media accounts for customer service purposes. If people send you an enquiry on Twitter regarding your products or services, they expect to have it answered in a timely fashion and with an adequate response. While you should always strive to be professional and answer any questions, it also helps to post content which actively encourages people to contribute to discussions.

A simple way to start this off is to post the articles from your blog on your social media channels. Additionally, you can also post polls, exciting visual content and market research questions to understand more about your audience?–?basically anything that opens a two-way dialogue and gives you clues about the strengths and weaknesses in your business so that you serve your customers better. Social media can also be used to give specific benefits and special deals to followers, which helps to build brand loyalty.

Host a competition

Social media is also an excellent platform for promoting competitions, which are notoriously effective at generating brand exposure and making people feel invested in your brand. For competitions which require an entry in the form of a photograph, this adds another level of excitement (particularly if the competition is humorous in nature). People can surf through (and perhaps laugh at) other entries as well as view their own entry hosted on your site/social media account. Eliciting positive emotions is a great way to build brand loyalty!

Use your newsletter effectively

If people have already purchased from you, it is wise to keep them informed regarding new products and services which may be of interest to them. So long as they actually offer value, there’s no harm in informing previous customers about them?–?your is an excellent way of doing this since you already have their contact details.

However, it’s important that you inform rather than attempt to persuade them to make a purchase?–?no one likes to treated as if their only value is what’s in their wallet and they aren’t going to make a purchase from you if they feel that they are being coerced into doing so! Your newsletter should contain plenty of high quality content (not just an elaborate sales pitch) and it should be easy for people to click ‘unsubscribe’ at any time. And, of course, always ask people’s permission before sending them these messages.

ConclusionMoney

In order to build a loyal community who will spread the word about your business far and wide, it’s important to cultivate engagement, leverage the benefits of your network (both offline and online) and most importantly, treat people like people instead of walking bags of money! By going above and beyond the call of duty in order to make the lives of your customers easier and show them how appreciative you are, you’re sure to generate an abundance of positive peer recommendations for your business.

In the words of marketing consultant Gary Bembridge:

“Awareness alone is unlikely to drive to a sale. Recommendations by people that consumers know personally and trust, like their friends and family or their doctor or health professional, will drive the final purchase decision.”

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