If you have been looking for ways to empower your brand’s presence and establish better communication with your audience, all you need to do is build a brand community.
A brand community is a place where your most loyal customers gather together to chat and exchange ideas. Imagine them as your brand advocates. And for that reason, we have designed this guide for a better understanding of the concept behind a brand community and its importance for your business.
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is a brand community?
A brand community is a group of people, who come together by their interest in a brand, its products, and the overall beliefs the brand represents.
Simply put, members of your brand community are emotionally invested; that means they choose to buy your brand’s products or services, absorb your content, recommend your company to their friends and family, generate conversation online, and more.
However, a brand community is not the equivalent of brand awareness.
Just because a person made a purchase or knows your brand doesn’t mean they are members of a committed brand community. And that is why community building can make a difference.
To be more specific, your brand community consists of people, who follow you on social media, engage with your content, share it with others, and in general enjoy keeping up with everything your brand accomplishes.
Many brands started building their communities through their social media accounts, but the important part of building a strong online community is bringing these members together, to provide them with the opportunity to discuss, interact and engage with each other.
So, an online platform, such as social media, websites, and forums, is an essential step for creating a brand community, especially in the digital world.
What are the benefits of building a brand community?
The main idea behind branding is that a brand represents an organisation and consequently a brand’s value is shaped by the company itself and the community that was built around it. That’s the reason why building a strong brand community is a valuable asset for a company in the digital world.
Additionally, it is necessary to understand that your community already exists in social media. What you need to do is to find this community, connect with it and start creating a marketing strategy that appeals to individuals within this community. In a few words, your brand community is quite powerful and you need to take advantage of it.
So, take a look at some of the benefits of building an online brand community:
#1 Better communication with your target audience
By building a brand community you can monitor the communication process with your audience and that means you get first-hand insights into your customers’ interests. A good brand community boosts your communication and enables you to receive feedback, and therefore understand what needs to be improved.
By showing that you’re open to constructive feedback you let everyone know that you are listening to them and you care about their opinion. This community helps your brand by making customer-driven decisions and it will also spread the word about your way of doing business. Some companies also prefer to develop a customer portal for creating a more engaged community. And shouldn’t forget that word of mouth is a useful tool for gaining popularity.
#2 Brainstorming your next big concept
Transparency and engagement with your audience are key elements that work conjointly, for you to create an unforgettable customer experience. By involving your target audience you provide them with the opportunity to get actively involved in the growth of their favourite brands.
Instead of pouring vast amounts of money into research, you can benefit from the outcome of a group effort to come up with your next great idea. If your digital community can support you in these efforts you can instantly turn customer expertise into profit, and on that same note build up customer retention.
#3 Establish your presence as an industry authority
Sharing helpful and productive content with your community can generate conversation and by doing so you build authority.
That means, the greater your authority is, the greater will be your reach, and so your audience will probably recommend your brand to others.
Establishing your brand as an authority in its domain is quite difficult, especially nowadays in a competitive market world, in which many startups don’t make it. So, even well-established brands need to work continuously to keep their name among the ones related to trust and quality.
#4 Brand loyalty
Having great products and quality sometimes is not enough, you need the element that will make your audience follow and support your brand until the end.
Don’t get me wrong, having an incredible product experience is vital, but a community and an amazing brand experience can be a powerful link between liking a brand and loving it.
Customer experience is more than beneficial as it is one of the leading factors, with a 57% percentage, in keeping consumers loyal to brands worldwide. Simply put, loyal customers support their favourite brands; they are a part of the brand’s development and they spread the word around its products/services.
Customers who stay in touch with brands and companies on social media are considered loyal consumers, with nine out of ten people confirming that they buy from brands they follow on social media platforms.
So, by connecting with your community and enhancing loyalty among your brand and your audience, you invest in increasing your brand awareness.
4 Brand Community Statistics to Know in 2022
2022 is going to be a quite competitive year marketing-wise, since brands will try to be ahead of their game, by improving their performance from the effects of the pandemic.
A brand community and branding, in general, will play a significant role in this readjustment.
So, if you are trying to keep up with what’s changing, you should have a look at this shortlist of statistics for 2022.
Why don’t we begin with some brand community statistics highlights?
- 86% of consumers claim that authenticity is essential when deciding which brands to like, follow and support
- 69% of consumers need to trust brands based on their impact on society
- Consumers who have an emotional connection with brands have a 306% higher lifetime value
- 93% of Twitter’s community members are open to brands, who participate in a conversation, for example by helping and providing support.
These statistics indicate that consumers need the brand to be engaged and in contact with them; in a few words creates a strong relationship. This clearly shows that people will approve and follow brands that reflect their principles.
In general, building a strong brand community based on loyalty and communication is vital for growing your brand awareness. Let’s find out how to build such a community.
How To Build A Brand Community In 6 Steps
People who love and support your brand are out there, all you need to do is bring them together and create a space specifically for them.
Building a strong brand community doesn’t mean you need to follow a specific business strategy, because creating a community can take different forms. Instead, you can adjust to your own needs. The most important thing to remember is that a brand community represents a place that invests in relationships. It’s about people and creating a sense of belonging and exclusivity.
Below you will find some basic steps that can help you build a successful brand community.
#1 Establish your brand
For you to build a community around your brand, you need to be aware of what your brand is.
This includes the philosophy behind your brand, its mission, vision, and in general the set of values it represents. What is your brand trying to achieve? Who is your target audience? What is the characteristic you want to be known for?
These are some questions you need to define before starting to build your community. The more you demonstrate what your brand is about, the more you will captivate the target audience you’re aiming at.
#2 Define your goals and metrics
Asking yourself a lot of questions before building your community is essential, so you can make customer-based choices and broadcast about your company’s actions.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself while designing a brand strategy:
- What’s the objective of this community?
- How are you going to help your audience stay engaged?
- How are you going to measure the success of the community?
- What kind of metrics do you want to track down?
- How do you think this community will help you achieve your company goals?
After defining these goals and metrics, the next steps will be easier.
#3 Find your community
Have a look at your existing consumers, social media platforms, email lists, and real-life connections to find a sample of who is going to be a part of your future community. A great start will be approaching customers who have already shown some interest in your brand and would probably recommend it to others.
As soon as you have a solid amount of community members you can start introducing them to one another and find the means of communication for you and the community.
#4 Choose a platform for your community
There are quite a few options when it comes to finding a suitable space for a community. Let’s discover them.
A forum could be a handful for a larger community to discuss a variety of topics and interests, no matter if they are connected to the brand.
- Social media platforms
Regarding social media, there are two ways of managing your community. The first one is interacting through your social media account/platform and the second is by creating a group in social media.
- Awards/Affiliate programs
Another way of connecting with your audience is by creating a program that offers back to your most devoted members. You can use affiliate marketing software in this case to track results.
- Mediator community platforms
Numerous times, brands prefer to use mediator platforms to assist them in community engagement. Some options from which you can choose are Slack and Mobilize, which allow you to create a variety of channels and topics for your community so they can discuss with each other.
#5 Engage regularly with your community members
First things first, create a plan to initiate and maintain community engagement. You can start with some community guidelines, rules regarding moderation, a content calendar, and interacting activities.
You should provide your community members with a reason to stay active. And that means, you should respond to all of their queries and questions and you should encourage them to generate and participate in conversations.
Simply put, you should always give them a reason to return to the community; by tracking down the kind of content that generates the maximum amount of engagement and consequently plan activities with them.
Metionlytics’s engagement tools regarding social media can help you reassure you won’t miss a thing posted by someone in your community so that you continue creating relationships based on loyalty.
#6 Inspire the community on an emotional level
Brand loyalty is the main reason behind emotional attachment with a brand. Let’s take for example iPhones; people are spending large amounts of money or they wait in line for several hours or even days, not because they consider the products better than every other company’s, but because they feel that the product is part of who they are, part of their identity.
They have bonded emotionally with the brand and its products and they can’t betray this sense of belonging to a greater community.
Every person wants to be part of a group because, within a group you share, you discuss, and exchange opinions. You are building emotional relationships and that way you enhance customer loyalty and therefore increase brand awareness.
9 Brand Community Examples to Inspire You
As we’ve seen so far, a brand community is vital for a company. It adds value to the brand and enables you to interact directly with your audience. It’s the home base of your followers and it could spread across the entire digital environment.
There are many different kinds of communities on different platforms. So, we’ve gathered some community examples for you to check and get inspired.
#1 lemlist family
This is a community focused on everything related to lemlist, cold emails, sales automation, and growth marketing. It’s a Facebook group community, in which, before sending a request to join there is a short description explaining what you can do within the group.
Main Platform: Facebook
Number of Users: 18.400 users
Why do we Like it: The admin of the group posts appealing content, generates conversation, and encourages the other members to do so. Users frequently post questions, or suggestions and try to engage with others, which means they strongly believe in the power of the group and want to exchange their knowledge.
#2 Beauty Insider Community
This is Sephora’s digital community, which consists of smaller groups mainly regarding beauty, but there is also one group that covers all non-beauty topics. “Ask questions, join challenges, and get recommendations from people like you” is the description that invites people to join the community. You can find a three-step video explaining how to get started and you can choose to join from a variety of groups, for example, Fragrance Fans, Skincare Aware, Age Defiers, and many more.
The Beauty Insider Community consists of five components:
- Community Home
- Ratings and Reviews
- Questions and Answers
Users can participate in fun challenges, share photos of their looks, try new products, and many more. You don’t have to be an expert, anyone is welcome to join and connect over their love for cosmetics and learn from others.
Main Platform: Sephora’s website
Number of Users: 5.147.998 members
Why do we Like it: A great brand, which provides its community members with a variety of tailored content depending on their interests and what they want to discuss. Also, there is assistance on how to get started; besides the three-step video, there is a FAQs section and the possibility to chat live with someone from customer support. As users move through the community they add value both for themselves and other members, along with the brand. The community grants access to user-generated content and testimonials from customers, as well as instant feedback.
Starbucks is one of the examples of brands that have been synonymous with community building for a while, even offline, as the brand provides a great customer experience the minute you enter a Starbucks cafe.
The company uses integrations with a number of social initiatives, such as the volunteering matching service, which was created to help community members engage with each other and help those outside of the community. Additionally, the coffee company introduced a loyalty program, the Starbucks Rewards. As a Starbucks Rewards program member, the consumers can earn stars when making purchases, play games, and attend bonus point events. Another great initiative is the creation of a Facebook group called Leaf Rakers Society, for those obsessed with autumn and their pumpkin spiced latte. The Starbucks community is so special, because the company relies on customer feedback, to keep the audience engaged and create custom content. My Starbucks Idea was a website on which anyone could submit an idea to Starbucks. This platform encouraged fans to share their ideas and suggestions for how to improve the company’s beloved products.
Main Platform: Facebook group
Number of Users: 43.000 members
Why do we Like it: Starbucks is one of the examples of brand communities that have successfully analysed consumer behaviour and as a result, they have achieved brand equity. The company has defined their brand voice and the ability to listen to their community members, which is a key component of their content marketing strategy, and what makes new members come back. Shared consciousness and shared values are key factors that allow Starbucks to keep its community-engaged, gain valuable insights, and build social relationships with them.
There is a website made specifically for Spotify’s community, which it’s like a forum. “Find solutions, share ideas, and discuss music” is the concept behind this community. The members can discuss music and podcasts, share and vote for ideas. Likewise, anyone can search for content based on whether they are searching for something regarding the whole community, FAQs, or users.
P.S There is a blog page! And that means users can explore and learn more about music, playlists, podcasts, and their favourite artists.
Main platform: Forum. Spotify is an enormous music streaming platform with a huge audience using a forum as its main platform works altogether.
Number of Users: N/A
Why do we Like it: A member can choose between “Featured Topics”, “Popular Topics” and “Latest Topics” to navigate through a list of conversations. Also, Spotify created the Spotify Stars Programme; “Stars are Community users who have proven themselves Spotify experts. They’ve helped countless users, posted great ideas, and shared their favourite music. We’re always looking for new Stars, so follow the link below to find out more”. This program aims to unite the most engaged and passionate community users. Simply put, Spotify offers a variety of features to engage its members.
#5 Ring Concierge
This brand uses its presence on social media to enhance community building. The Instagram profile is run by the owner of the company where she tries to be transparent with her followers. She uploads Instagram stories to communicate frequently with her followers, she often holds Q&As and asks her audience to vote on potential new products she wants to launch.
Also, this demonstrates that communities can also be built by a simple hashtag, which adds credibility to their feed page.
Main platform: Instagram
Number of Users: 461.000 followers
Why do we Like it: The content is creative and up to date. It uses one of the most influential platforms to keep the audience informed and engaged.
#6 Harley Davidson
Harley Davidson’s community is another great example of online brand communities. Harley Davidson owners around the world can gather together to celebrate their passion to ride. The company offers a lifestyle membership experience and access to benefits so the members can get the most out of their ownership.
Main platform: Forum
Number of Users: N/A
Why do we Like it: What makes this community stand out is its simplicity and how it communicates its message. The key element that plays the most important role is that Harley owners see their motorbikes as a lifestyle, and so the company brought them together by creating this community.
Apple has invested in building a strong online brand community. Apple’s goal was to sell a lifestyle, not just products. So, the company fully comprehended its target audience and created a team of brand enthusiasts. The lifestyle the community provides isn’t just focused on technology; it is about the opportunities offered and the connections that could be formed through the company’s products. As a result, Apple is considered a synonym of lifestyle, customer loyalty, and brand advocates.
Main platform: Forum
Number of Users: N/A
Why do we Like it: Apple’s community members serve as referrals; by engaging and representing the brand values and brand voice of the company. The community-driven lifestyle it offers is part of the brand’s identity and accordingly part of its customers’ identity, enhancing the sense of belonging.
#8 LEGO Ideas
LEGO Ideas is one of the most successful examples of a brand community. The group is open to people of all ages; the only requirement is to love LEGO, and of course parental permission if someone is under 14. Besides the creation of a space where people feel a sense of belonging and they can share, this community is a centre for innovation, collaboration, and co-creation.
The LEGO Ideas has three sections:
- Product Ideas
Main Platform: Website
Numbers of Users: N/A
Why we Like it: Community members can create and share their ideas for product creation and vote over submissions of others. With this system of collaboration with their users and fan club, LEGO was given the chance to launch fan-created products regularly. So, members are active participants in content creation and they help the brand to make better product decisions.
#9 Red Bull
Red Bull’s community is a combination of social networking, sponsorships, and WOM (word of mouth) advertising. The brand is dominant in a huge number of events, from parkour to motocross, and through the community, the members can stay informed about upcoming events, such as festivals, or eSports.
Main Platform: Website
Numbers of Users: N/A
Why we Like it: The brand’s business strategy adjusts to building stronger relationships with consumers and enables members to connect with the world of Red Bull; read blog articles, learn about events, products and athletes. So, it offers a complete community experience.
Bonus: Do You Need to Hire a Brand Community Manager?
A brand community manager is the equivalent of a brand ambassador. They work on establishing a stronger community by participating in conversations, discovering new customers, and paying attention to the existing ones. In general, they manage a significant part of the company’s digital marketing strategy, as they represent your brand’s voice.
Imagine them as the face of your brand; ensuring your brand seems more approachable, by finding new ways to engage the community. Likewise, they manage numerous communities, such as blogs, websites, and forums.
A brand community manager serves as the main pillar for creating content, enhancing brand recognition, and in general promoting positive business surroundings.
No matter how small your business is, if your business goal is to reach the final consumer (B2C), you probably need a brand community manager to guide you.
But, why exactly do you need to hire one?
Well, a brand community manager can help you improve your brand’s image while providing better customer support. By hiring one, you will provide your community with high-quality content and therefore you will increase your connection with your audience. Additionally, you will have a qualified person to manage your metrics and by doing so your company could achieve multiplying its reach and applicability as a brand.
Here you can find some qualification criteria for this role:
- Excellent verbal communication skills
- Excellent writing skills
- Exceptional interpersonal and presentation skills
- Planning and implementing community initiatives
- Tracking down and identifying community KPIs
- Interpreting website traffic
- Critical-thinker and problem-solver
Brand community managers are a vital part of a company’s corporate team, as they empower the brand’s voice and awareness.
Now Over to You
A brand community is an essential aspect of your brand’s image. It’s the core that holds your followers together and enables them to interact and co-exist.
So, creating a space for the ones who love and support your brand is the key element for your company to keep evolving. In other words, paying attention to what your audience needs will help you gain awareness and will make you stand out from your competitors.
You should also benefit from social media monitoring, as most brands use social networking platforms to build their digital communities.
If you want to learn more about monitoring and how to analyse your brand’s image have a look at Mentionlytics and benefit from the useful insights.