Brand loyalty plays a crucial role in customer retention, and so creating a community of like-minded people who are loyal to your business shouldn’t be an afterthought. In this day and age, it’s crucial to appreciate the people who make up your business, whether it is your employees or your customers. When you have just launched a new business, it can be difficult to think about investing in things other than your product and expansion, but your customers are the ones who can make or break your business.
So why should you build a community for your business? Doing this can benefit you in many ways, including greater sense of brand loyalty, customer retention, word-of-mouth marketing, product ideas and genuine feedback and more! Plus, with an existing customer base who already knows your brand and products, you have easier access to market research. Networking is not limited to corporate settings.
When you first start to build your community, you’ll need to think of some strategies that work with your brand and audience. Here are 10 ideas that you can implement!
How to Build a Community
1. Align Your Mission, Vision and Values
Your brand is the core of your community. So your mission, vision and values need to be strongly established as a foundation. When building up your business, you need to assess your target audience and their own values. What do they believe in? How can you align your values with theirs? Thereafter, people whose values align with yours and your cause will come together to follow you naturally. After all, birds of a feather flock together.
2. Create a Strong Visual Brand Identity
How can you make your brand stick in people’s minds? With strong visual branding, of course! Your stylistic choices, colours, voice and any symbols or characters must all align to create a brand identity that is memorable and easily recognised. And at the forefront stands your logo.
Your brand identity ties your business together and if you are able to build a strong one up from the start, it can be easier to promote your business. Additionally, you create an identity that your audience feels good about being associated with.
3. Focus Your Scope & Brand Message
You can’t be everything for everyone, so in order to build a strong community, you’ll need to focus on what fits your vision and values. Avoid diluting your core messaging by advocating for causes that are outside of the scope of your mission.
4. Drive People to Community Pages
Digital marketing is essential for any business nowadays, and the power of social media is nothing to sniff at. Increase your reach and engagement by driving your target audience to shared community spaces like your social media accounts. This allows people to connect with each other regarding your business and bond over their shared interests. With this, you have the potential to build a tighter knit community that shares similar values.
After you drive people to your social media, website or any forums, you’ll need to engage with them.
5. Engage with Your Community
People typically don’t like businesses that don’t listen to or interact with them. And engaging with your audience is a great way to build a community and bring people together.
So how can you do that? Well, you can take advantage of your social media platforms to speak to them. Create high quality content that they would like, share and drive traffic to your pages. Stuck for ideas on what to create? Try out these digital marketing strategies that’ll help you build your community online.
Remember to be responsive and like, share, and comment on both your posts and the community’s posts. That way, your audience feels like you are acknowledging them and value their presence in your community.
6. Encourage User-Generated Content
Encourage user-generated content (UGC) to further establish trust between your customers and your brand. Because UGC is the real and honest experience of the customer, there is greater trust and weight put on the opinion than a sponsored post or advertisement, nearly 10 times more, in fact. And studies have shown that 79% of consumers consider UGC as a high influence over their purchasing decisions. All in all, people trust other people’s opinions.
7. Host Events to Interact Face-to-Face
Networking is a great way to expand your community and make connections with your audience in real life. Reaching out to people and meeting face-to-face creates better bonds through personable interactions, allowing your audience to see you as trustworthy and real. Knowing the people behind a brand allows your community to build better relationships with your brand.
If circumstances prevent you from physical meetings, hold virtual events, webinars or meet-ups. You can also livestream on various platforms to further build a sense of community among your audience and connect with them on a deeper level. Again, as mentioned previously, engaging with your community is the best way to strengthen bonds and ensure customer loyalty.
8. Offer Value
When you build a community of people, you need to offer them value, a reason to be a part of the community. Give them something that persuades them that your cause, community and business is worth investing their time in. Otherwise, it’s unlikely they will stick around. Try offering reward programs, discounts or useful resources that they would find appealing. Or provide them with opportunities to contribute to a worthy cause or charity. Investing your own resources and time into your audience can result in sales, customer loyalty and more followers.
9. Partner With Influencers
Influencers nowadays are aplenty, but these prominent individuals can help you sway people’s buying decisions towards your business. Because their opinions are trusted, you can capitalise on influencers to promote and market your products to your target audience. However, depending on the influencer, it can get a bit pricey.
Therefore, another way to use opinions to your advantage is to choose to elevate your own important members. Pick people who are relatable to your audience or have performed well to promote your values. Bonus, it shows that you appreciate and celebrate your employees and your customers, putting your business in a good spotlight.
10. Support Social Causes
As mentioned before, your business’s values and message have some role to play in the greater community. So use your resources to give back. People like being a part of something and supporting businesses that have greater causes than their own profits. It empowers the people, improves your positive brand awareness and motivates your community to also give back.
Is your business ready to engage with your audience and build a sense of community? It can be difficult and requires hard work, research and a willingness to listen to your audience, but the benefits outweigh the time and resources you invest.
From increased sales and brand awareness to boosted customer loyalty and overall growth, your community can help you build and grow a business that stands out from your competitors. Thus, allowing you to better serve your customers and your community.
• Written by Adrija Chakravarti