Online Communities 101: why brands need to have one and how to start yours

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Posted on July 5, 2020

Consumers want products and experiences that live up to their promises. Thus, brands need to have online communities more than ever before.

45% of consumers said that a brand would never be able to regain their trust after confidence has been broken. In addition, these consumers are also seeking human connection too, not just escapism and unbridled consumption.

Folks connected to one another by shared interests, visions and values in an online community can enhance the image of your brand, encourage loyalty and increase sales.

Why does every brand need a community?

One of the definitions of community, according to the Oxford Dictionary is: the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common (cultural, economical, political, spiritual, etc.)”.

An online community is equivalent to your business neighborhood, beginning from its workers and reaching the customers of your products and solutions.
To have the question answered, we invited Sangram Vajre (Author and Founder @ Terminus; Clara Flaherty, Community Manager @ G2; and Taylor Ryan, Founder @ Klint Marketing and Serial Entepreneur

Think about a famous brand, such as Nike. Their image is connected with a notion of freedom, empowerment, of having the ability to live life based on its molds.

Whenever someone buys a product of their brand, they purchase way more than a piece of clothing.

And you can go further as Nike itself does: organize events, sponsor high performers, position the brand about contemporary issues and so on.

In other words, the brand is not only successful in having the ability to feature its image into the idea of attitude and determination (Just do it), but also in assembling a community of defenders of their values, behaving the same way both online and offline.

In the medium and long term, these actions deliver significant results for businesses, raising sales and turning satisfied customers into brand advocates.

Far beyond product offering and sales talk

To develop online communities, you have to have the ability to gather clients to keep up a connection which goes beyond buying and selling products.

People have interests in common and they want to connect without needing to have a moderator at the center, exchanging information and experiences.

Whether that’d be a business offering leisure or athletics experiences – like the example above – or perhaps businesses focused on more specialized segments – , creating articles, information and entertainment for a community have the power to unite people around the same challenges and discussions.

To be successful, it’s crucial to bet on a platform that enables people to live their passions and difficulties together and exchange ideas, in addition to opening the chance for your company to stimulate debates and the exchange of ideas.

The way to start and grow an online community

1. Strategy

Firstly, just like any advertising and marketing strategy, it’s very important to understand what an online community is.

Are you currently going to make a Facebook group to discuss hot topics of the day? Are you going to create forums on Reddit? Which kind of content is going to likely be shared and / or? disseminated on these channels?

All these are things should be taken into consideration when beginning the execution of your online community.

2. Pick the ideal audience

It’s futile for the brand to make an online community if it doesn’t have the target market.

For the online community to work as intended, it ought to get the ideal people. Therefore, it’s very important to pick the people that is considering your brand and the activities it has to offer.

For workers, being a part of their corporation’s online community may mean being together with applicable small business activities, engaging with all the causes of the institution, indicating fresh ideas and solutions, among others;

For clients, suppliers, investors and members of the general public, engaging in an online community means strengthening the bond involvement.

3. Decentralize

It is important manage to track and maintain an eye on what’s stated on your community. But bear in mind that the way to ruin a neighborhood would be to discourage talks. Therefore, avoid this activity.

Don’t delete the articles except thinks like offenses, in extreme situations, for instance.

Thus, for your community to be a marketing tool, you need to remember that it is, most importantly, a place for opinions and relationships.

4. Choose a platform

The more resources you dedicate to online communities, the more participants will have the possibility to enjoy the experience provided by it.

Therefore, for the team to operate properly, you want a staff that is skilled. Also, it is necessary to get a platform that won’t limit the experience.

5. Quantify and qualify the impact

The outcomes of a well-functioning online communities must be quantified with accurate data. As KPI’s, it is possible to see whether is a higher interaction between the participants or if the group is getting larger, for instance.

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