The concept of a brand community is not something new: for quite a long time, consumers communicate with each other via different means: forums, social networks, thematic websites – for instance, these ones – related to particular areas, etc. Naturally, with the development of the Internet, communities have moved into the online environment. But is it that easy to create and support the online community of your brand? I’m going to share with your some essential advice.
Fans of this or that brand often create communication groups by themselves, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of products, problems, and solutions. The only thing missing is a direct connection with the brand, that is, the possibility of communication with the company. As a result, the majority of questions remain unheard and unfulfilled. Therefore, by creating a brand community on social networks, you can interact with the target audience in the most efficient and profitable way. Such groups are inexpensive but very useful for establishing feedback with the audience.
A Brand Group in Social Networks: Work for the Future
Many famous brands have long appreciated the value of creating a community network. It gives you such opportunities as:
- Respond to consumers’ questions and satisfy their desires.
- Increase loyalty to the products and the brand.
- Strengthen the positive image of the brand.
- Increase profit and occupy a desired niche in the market.
And all of these results are can be achieved only by engaging in an open dialogue with the audience.
A brand community greatly simplifies work in many directions. You can do the following things:
- Quickly spread important information.
- Organize customers by announcing special events, promotions, and releases of new products and services.
- Conduct market research.
- Identify preferences and interests of the target audience.
When the community is adjusted, it allows you to save resources for other advertising campaigns due to the constant contact with the audience.
Brand Community vs. Product Promotion
The promotion of any brand community is very similar to the promotion of a product in the market. The only thing different is that in the first case, you expect registration while in the second – increase of the conversion rate. Personally, I don’t see any fundamental differences in the promotion of communities and goods: the same grocery ads with the only differences of “Join” instead of “Buy” and reasons to join the community instead of reasons to purchase the product.
If you sell goods, think twice about the creation of a community since in addition to solving problems with sales you will have to meet the needs of communication.
If you’re going to launch a new brand on the Internet, please decide whether it is a power brand or community. The first is a leader in the niche; it attracts visitors by its high-quality goods and advanced technologies. The last is a brand that sells goods and promotes them via social network or any other communicative environment. That is, with the increase of advertising budget you have to show the customer that you’re not just a seller but also an interesting and very informative interlocutor.
Groups in Social Networks
Social networks are free. Yes, but not in the case if you’re an owner of the brand. In fact, employees spend their working time on promotion, and you have to pay them. The effectiveness of time spent depends on the content of the community.
So, how online brand communities can solve classic marketing problems?
It’s not a big difference where to build a community – on your own domain or in a social network: the principles remain the same. For example, you can create the community on your domain plus announce events in social networks since they are best suited for information spread (share, likes, etc.).
The community can make a profit if you have a well-thought brand attitude strategy.
Many business owners mistakenly believe that the key to successful promotion is a presence in all networks. The correct solution is to create communities at those websites which are likely to concentrate your target audience. Otherwise, you risk losing time, effort and money trying to show the advantages of a product that is not in demand. So, before you start, please study the socio-demographic profile of the audience of a particular social network.
Strategy and Tactics
A correctly chosen strategy is the key to success. Think about the concept of the community. Study your competitors’ groups, mark suitable techniques and mistakes.
You have to think about of what you will post in the group in advance. What materials are interesting for to your audience? Make a list of those – it will facilitate the task of scheduling posts. Make a list of categories and topics which fit into the overall concept of the community. Don’t overdo with advertising posts: your prior task is to provide the audience with helpful information.
Once you have decided on the choice of platform for promotion, you can proceed to the building of a community. Although this is a topic for a separate article, let’s list the three main stages:
- Development of navigation system.
- Filling a community with the content.
You’ve created a community and stocked up the solid budget on advertising? Well, now you have to build and support high-quality communications in the community, whether it’s local or global. Good luck!
Brian Jens works at DesignContest – one of the best crowd sourcing platforms for designers. He’s a researcher and a blogger. Brian’s design background allows him to conduct well-thought authoritative investigations.