That’s What Friends Are For: The Benefits of Building Brand Community

By perksconsulting |

In our last post, we learned that it takes more than a social media account to build a devoted community that will go to bat for your brand. But why go through all the trouble? Because focusing on brand community won’t just give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. It will generate significant, measurable revenue benefits. In this installment, we’ll identify three common marketing goals, explain why community is essential to achieving them, and provide tips on how to get there.

AWARENESS

The WHAT

As we discussed previously, you can’t expect a huge turnout at your party if your invited guests don’t know who you are, what you do, and what’s important to you. Establishing awareness means standing out amidst the noise and clutter of your customers’ regular online activities with original content that speaks to your brand values. It also opens up the possibility for engagement (more on that later).

The WHY

Whether or not you’re a believer in the age-oldRule of 7, it’s undeniable that repeat exposure generates purchases—and exposing your community to your brand’s mission through social content offers the opportunity to do that in a more organic way. Furthermore, generating awareness will increase those “Like” and “Follower” counts. While this shouldn’t be your main focus in community building, it will extend your reach and ensure that more potential stakeholders will pick up what you’re putting out.

The HOW

Share blog posts, podcasts, webinars, forum submissions, social media posts, and any other content that is interesting and relevant to your audience. It can be original content or something created by someone else. Just be sure it aligns with your values and mission. A great way to establish your brand as a provider of quality content is to enlist the help of trusted 3rd parties; engage guest bloggers, journalists, and other experts in your field to garner credibility and thereby increase awareness.

ENGAGEMENT

The WHAT

You can think of engagement as the overall decibel level of your party—how much noise your guests are making. It’s the sum total of likes, mentions, click-throughs, replies, and all other interactions on your community-facing channels. And like any good host, you’ve got to assume an active role to keep things interesting.

The WHY

Community members spend 2x more and have a 33% higher adoption rate than non-community members. And the more engagement you generate, the bigger the payoff. Increased engagement on community sites can result in a 25% increase in revenue. Becoming an active participant in your own brand’s community shows your stakeholders that you give a hoot, and that your org is run by actual people like them. This builds trust in your product and makes it easier for community members to become paying customers.

The HOW

In order to establish trust and set the tone for your community’s conversations, you’ve got to get to know your stakeholders. Start by monitoring your feeds and pages closely. Get a broad view of your audience. What are their goals and interests? Tailor your content accordingly. And when they comment on your social posts, blogs, and announcements, make sure you respond, give thanks, and answer any questions. It sounds like a lot of work but it really just boils down to being a good listener and being human.

LOYALTY

The WHAT

With the vast wealth of choices out there, customer loyalty for your brand is a rare and precious commodity, as well as an essential business metric. If you give your community a reason to choose your service over competitors time and time again, you’ll be amazed by the results.

The WHY

Brand devotees will repurchase your product without restarting the customer journey each time, creating a significant CLV (customer lifetime value) increase. In fact, loyal customers are worth 10x as much as their first purchases. Your average repeat customer spends 67% more than a newcomer!Even small feats of loyalty can have a huge impact—increasing your retention rate by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95% over the long term. And since 80% of customer buying decisions rely upon word-of-mouth recommendations, loyal customers can actually create more loyal customers.

The HOW

Many potential customers will rely on feedback, reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations from members of your community. After all, your guests aren’t just coming to your party solely to enjoy your company—they want to mingle with other like-minded people to chat, gossip, and gab. Facilitate and foster these interactions. Listen to requests and think about how you can quickly implement the changes your community wants to see. If you’re open, honest, and flexible, you will have the edge over most competitors, and your customers will stick by you.

So now you have an idea of how brand community can lead to success. But how will we quantify this success?  In part three of this four-part series, we’ll be talking metrics. Don’t miss it!

Sources:

The Fetch.”How Threadless, The Huffington Post, and Fitocracy Understand the Business Value of Community”, HBS

Marketo.Looking for Higher Marketing ROI? Engage Your Customers

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