Often the advantages of a brand community seem so clear it’s not even worth measuring. After all, which organisation wouldn’t want a group of customers who like and support them? Yet a brand community has the same opportunity cost as any other investment. Every precious rand invested in the community is a rand that can’t be invested in anything else. And a successful brand community doesn’t come cheap.
What Is The Definition Of Brand Community?
The brand community is frequently run by a for-profit company and their core business is not to run a brand community. They often sell some service or product, and the community directly or indirectly turns around that, however, isn’t often part of the core offering itself.
The brand community is managed by paid community managers who are a part of the marketing, branding, sales, customer service or – alternatively – customer relations department. The community mainly exists online.
Brand communities are different from tech platforms as these are built on the principles of network effects. These platforms are Quora, Product Hunt and Facebook. There the community is a key part of the DNA.
A Brand Community Isn’t The Same As Brand Awareness
Just as someone knows about or has bought from your brand doesn’t mean that they’re part of an engaged – or even an engageable – brand community.
Rather, your brand community consists of the people who follow all of your content that appears on social media, who share your products or services and content with others, and who appreciate seeing everything that your brand is doing.
More straightforward, a brand community is a place where individuals who have an emotional connection to your brand are able to connect with each other as well as with your brand.
Why Do You Need Build A Brand Community?
It’s very important to understand that your brand community already is on social media. It’s your job to seek out this community, connect with it immediately as well as put together a strategy for individuals within the community to work together.
And you want to do this as your brand community is a very powerful business tool.
Imagine having a group of people who frequently use your product or service which you can regularly reach out to. With this group of people, you are able to test new product mock-ups, ask about feature releases, share blog content as well as collect general feedback for improvement.
Becoming a Brand Community-First Business
There are a number of very different practical things that most brands can do in order to drive customers to the community:
- The obvious one is to give the brand community more prominence and visibility on the homepage.
- Make sure that community support is positioned above options in order to contact support channels. Before filing a ticket or picking up the phone, a customer can be guided to check the community for answers.
Brands can also implement a federated or cognitive search tool which will show results from the community alongside any other documentation listed on the site. This helps guide more people to the community.
Alternatively, brands can show related community discussions as a customer begins typing their support ticket. If the customer begins writing a ticket and sees answers from the community popping up in the sidebar, they don’t need to file the ticket.
As this community can help your brand to make customer-driven decisions and spread the word about your business, make sure you’re building a strong community which thrives and rewards your community members.
If you would like to become a brand manager then you need to do our Brand Management Course. Find out more by following this link.
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