How to Build a Brand Community for Sustainable Long-Term Growth
How much time do you spend online each day?
North Americans spend over two hours a day browsing social media platforms on average – but what about online in total?
That figure is a little harder to find these days.
With so many people working remotely full-time, then spending leisure time streaming content, reading online news stories, talking to their voice assistants, and scrolling social media, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume most people are online most waking hours.
Spending so much time online can feel isolating and lead to mental health issues.
However, people who use their time online to foster authentic communities seem to reap the biggest benefit from the way the internet can bring people together.
You can offer a sense of belonging, too, by building your own brand community. Plus, the right brand community sets you up for long-term growth.
Why is Building a Brand Community Worth the Effort?
Marketing leaders understand the long-term value of building a sustainable community.
60% of high-performing B2B brands said building a subscribed audience is one of their top priorities for creating content. Meanwhile, only 25% of poor-performing B2B brands said the same.
A brand community gives you instant word-of-mouth advertising. People feel emotionally invested in the community because they derive value from it themselves.
Some extra benefits include:
- Potential brand ambassadors and influencers
- Possibilities for partnerships
- People ready to submit content and guest-blog
- People ready to share your content with their friends
- Instant feedback for improvements or new products
- Ongoing content marketing ideas from group discussions
- And many more depending on your unique brand and products/services
How to Build a Brand Community for Long-Term Success
It’s not easy to build a brand community – at least not an authentic one.
A community doesn’t form overnight. You must spend time planning, strategizing, organizing, and building. Setbacks and conflicts are normal – it’s all part of the growth.
Use the strategy below to stay focused yet flexible and lay the foundation for a long-term community around your brand.
Figure Out What Value Your Brand Community Will Provide
What do you have to offer a community? Why should people join and stay?
Start the search by analyzing your brand’s expertise and the value you provide to customers or clients. How can you share the knowledge in an interesting way while bringing a group together?
Likewise, consider what values your community will represent. What emotions should people feel when they participate in community events?
Decide What Aspects Will be Private Vs. Public
You have three choices for building your community:
- Fully public where anyone can join and participate under the guidelines.
- Completely private and exclusive VIP community.
- A mix of both private and public.
The most successful communities for long-term growth involve a mix of both private and public aspects. A public Slack channel or Facebook group lets people see what you’re all about. Later, if they decide your community is valuable, they can opt to join the VIP version.
Choose the Right Platforms to Build Your Brand Community
Ideally, you want to choose platforms your target audience already uses. It’s not easy to encourage people to download and familiarize themselves with a new app just for you.
Now, this doesn’t mean your platforms must be typical business platforms. If your audience segments use Discord or Reddit, by all means, use those platforms to build a brand community.
Get Your Team Involved
Your team already reflects your brand’s culture. That’s why they’re the perfect base for building your broader community.
Encourage friendly team members to participate in or start discussions in your community for a few minutes each day while they’re on the clock and any other time they’re comfortable.
Rally Around a Social Cause to Build Your Brand Community
At Televerde, we’re proud to provide education, training, and jobs to incarcerated women and support their success post-release. It’s just who we are.
What cause does your brand represent and live up to? Don’t choose something just because you think your audience will like it. Keep your cause authentic and in line with your brand values.
Plan Virtual and In-Person Events
Virtual, in-person, and hybrid events are all vital for creating a genuine sense of community. You just can’t achieve the same feeling from text conversations and threads.
Set up a consistent schedule of webinars and events centered around a specific topic – something general enough to keep a long-term discussion going yet niche enough to stay interesting.
Discord and Clubhouse are both great places to host discussion events too.
Create Relevant Content Marketing for Your Community
It’s worthwhile to create some niche content specifically for your community’s eyes only. Infographics, video Q&As, and comprehensive guides are all excellent choices.
Develop your community’s content marketing based on discussions and feedback from members. They’ll be more likely to read and share it. Plus, it shows you are listening and value their participation.
Promote Your Brand Community in the Right Places
Start by inviting select members from your email list or customer list. Choose people who embody your brand’s values and ideals who you think will blend well with your team members.
From there, run targeted ads for audiences that mirror your community members. You can also share your community in niche threads and discussions where the topic comes up.
Find Interesting Ways to Encourage Conversation
Groups can feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. Create a list of some conversation starters and prompts that don’t feel too forced. Try to keep the conversation natural and based on prior conversations you’ve had with members.
Build a Brand Community Slowly and Stay Flexible
You’re playing the long game when you set out to build a brand community. The best communities develop over months and years – not days and weeks. Expect people to filter in and out as you grow and adapt to the changing landscape in your industry.
Your community shouldn’t be the right place for everyone – it should be the right place for the right people. Generic communities with mass appeal are boring. As they say, growth never happens in comfort zones.
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