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Social media and brand community marketing may sound like synonyms, but they are actually two different marketing strategies. They work in harmony and are most successful when implemented in tandem.
Social media marketing is using social media platforms to promote your brand or product in an effort to increase brand awareness and drive conversion. Social media marketing can help you build a brand community but is not in and of itself a brand community.
Brand community marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating forums where customers can engage with your brand and other people interested in your brand. Building a brand community increases brand awareness and brand loyalty by forging ongoing and meaningful connections with customers to build customer loyalty. It is so powerful because it mimics human nature to talk about and share experiences.
A brand community showcases brand loyalty at its best. People in your brand community are emotionally invested; they will buy from your company, digest your content and tell their friends and family about your company. According to Nielson, 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family more than any other type of advertisement.
Your brand community can open the door to user-generated content which acts as word-of-mouth advertising and costs you nothing to produce. You likely already have a community of loyal customers, identifying them and gathering them together is how you create a brand community. One way to do this is through a Facebook group.
A brand community is a powerful marketing tool. In a world of influencer-driven commerce, your brand community can expand your marketing reach as well as help you gather information to improve your product.
Existing customers hold more buying potential than new clients. By building a brand community you strengthen those existing relationships and encourage consumer loyalty. Humans by nature enjoy being part of communities and groups.
Your brand community becomes a forum for related conversation and rolls out the red carpet for glowing reviews. People want to talk about things they are passionate about and feel hold importance so provide them a space to have those conversations about your product.
Your brand community is also a powerful tool when it comes to market research. Where better to learn about what your customers want than from them directly. Product reviews and recommendations not only draw customers to your brand, but they provide you with a treasure trove of feedback to help you improve your product.
36 creative highlights the value of customer connection through brand communities, pointing out that it allows for public interactions between customer and company. This is not only an opportunity to showcase great customer service, it’s a PR opportunity. You have the chance to shape your brand through community-building interactions with community members already buying into your brand.
Brand community marketing is interactive, a give and take between you and your consumers. You talk, then they talk, then you talk. Social media marketing is a presentation. You build content and present it to them. Social media marketing can be influenced by your brand community and vice versa.
Social media platforms are great places to encourage your brand community to gather, after all, social networks are the virtual community gathering places. Once you’ve gathered your brand community members, you have the opportunity to transition to social media management versus content production. Since your community members are already engaging with your brand and talking about it, you can focus on supporting those interactions rather than initiating them.
Brand communities broaden the reach of your overall social media marketing by broadcasting your product across community members’ networks. When your products or services bring great value to your community members, your ability to better target and connect with your audience explodes. Customers want value and when they find value, they share that with other people they know.
Pro Tip or Did you know? If you want to build a community around your brand, you need to know what your brand is including your mission, company vision, brand voice and personality. The more you showcase what your brand is all about, the more you’ll attract the target audience you’re looking for.
In order to build a successful brand community you must first clearly define your brand, know what your goals are, and choose a gathering platform that best fits your community members.
Defining your brand means identifying your brand’s mission, vision, voice, and personality. Brand consistency builds trust and trust is the foundation of customer loyalty. When you have brand clarity, you can be confident that your community members will reflect your brand and draw in other consumers who are likely to align with your product and services.
Getting clear on your brand goals and metrics is essential for building a brand community that drives your marketing.
Think of this like heading out on a walk, if you leave your house with a specific destination in mind you can plan your route to take you to that destination quickly, predictably, and in whatever manner you deem most important whether that be the scenic route or the shortcut. If you head out on a walk with no destination, you’ll eventually arrive somewhere but it may not be where you wanted to go or if you do arrive at a coveted destination, you probably wasted a lot of time getting there.
If you set out to build your brand community without specific measurable goals you may build a community but it might not serve your brand in the way you want it to.
Choosing a community platform might seem arbitrary but this can be very important. What kind of content are your consumers creating? Where is the majority of the dialogue surrounding your brand happening? How many community members are you trying to gather?
Use the natural behavior of your community members to guide your choice of platform.
If most of your consumers are 18-24 years old, Instagram hashtags may be the platform for your community versus a brand that caters to 40 to 60-year-olds that might find more success gathering their community with a forum-style Facebook group. If you have thousands of shoppers, maybe a loyalty club is the way to support your brand community.
Whichever platform you choose to use, make sure you stay engaged with your community members. Respond to posts where your band is tagged, reply to reviews, keep your members up to date on exciting events.
Your brand community is already out there waiting for you to guide them toward a gathering place. Take some time to make sure you're clear on your brand and decide what platform you want to focus on. Use social media marketing to gather your community members and be ready to take advantage of all of the user-generated content your brand community is creating for you.
Archive App is a brand-building App that automatically detects when your brand gets tagged on Instagram and allows you to gather all of the content into one usable space. This powerful app opens the door to an immense amount of user-generated content and allows you to cheer on your community, interact with them, and encourage their continued engagement with your brand.
An example of a brand community would be REI’s #OptOutside hashtag. Every Instagram post with that hashtag highlights outdoor recreation, gear, products, and most importantly the company’s culture and values.
A brand community in social media is any social media-based gathering of people whose commonality is a brand. It can take the form of a forum of community members gathered into a Facebook or LinkedIn group or a hashtag or business account on Instagram.
Brand communities can be forums, social media groups, accounts or hashtags, third-party gathering sites, or rewards programs.
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