Brand values, purpose, messaging… at the end of the day, everything you do in terms of branding is done so that you can make connections with people. The whole point of developing the brand for your business is to communicate what you stand and allow your ideal audience to find you, join your “tribe” and engage. This is what it means to build a community around your brand.
In the world today, choosing one brand over another is a way for people to say something about who they are. More than ever before, it has become important for consumers to have common values or a common vision as the brands they choose to follow.
So with that in mind, here are some ways to build a community around your brand.
Stay true to your brand
While it’s important to have the ability to respond to changes in the marketplace, generally speaking, your brand’s purpose, values and personality — the core foundation of your brand — should not be chopping and changing every season. Once you’ve established what your brand stands for, it’s important to stay true to that.
It can be tempting to follow the newest trend and see it as a way to quickly gain some exposure or popularity. However, always measure new tactics against your brand strategy and make sure you’re not heading in a direction that goes against what you’ve stated in the past. Acting in a way that feels “off-brand” is an easy way to alienate and even upset your long-time followers.
Instead, being dependable and steadfast to your brand’s beliefs and vision will attract loyalty from your community who will be able to trust your brand and feel comfortable about making it a part of their lives.
Focus on your niche
Naturally, if you’re trying to build an audience, you need to know who they are and how to attract them. This means doing research — find out how they like to engage, what kind of social media they hang out on, what they find interesting. And to work these things out, start by asking the community you’ve been able to build up so far. Ask them directly what they’re looking for and how you can give them value that they’ll really appreciate.
Be specific about the kind of people you attract to your community and focus on a targeted group. Nurture your audience from the start, without being concerned about size. Even if your following or email list is small, that doesn’t make them insignificant. You don’t need a big audience to have big engagement.
Focus on them and make it about them. In other words, don’t be vain. It may be your business and your brand, but don’t make it all about you. Your audience is going to be far more interested in what you can offer them.
Open up channels of communication
This sounds obvious, but you do need to give your audience a way to connect and BE part of a community if you’re trying to build one. This means opening up channels of communication and giving them ways to share.
Social media is, of course, perfect for this. You can start a Facebook group or own a hashtag on Instagram. What’s great about this is that your community has a way of talking and sharing with one another, too. But don’t just be an observer! Be a part of the conversation and be prepared to push for engagement, especially in the early stages until it starts to happen more naturally. Acknowledge that it may feel forced or awkward at first, but don’t let this deter you, and be warm and welcoming to those initial responders.
Be generous with the value you give
I really believe in being generous with your knowledge and expertise. I mean, don’t give it all away for free but sharing what you know is a powerful way to establish your prowess and build trust with your audience. The opportunity to learn something is a great incentive for people to engage.
If you want to build a community around your brand, you have to make it valuable for the people who would join you, so don’t be stingy! And remember that shared values are an important way to build connections, so share content based on those values and the things you and your audience find important.
Give your audience a reason to engage
As essential as it is to give value to your community, you also want to encourage them to reciprocate. Give them opportunities to share their own stories. Ask questions and let them tell you what they want to see and learn. Give them a voice and a say in the kind of content they receive or the direction of the brand.
Building a community around your brand means your brand is going to be far bigger than just you. Your brand belongs to your community, and when your community genuinely feels that, that’s when you know you’ve been successful.
So, those are my points on how to build a community around your brand! In the hyper-connected world we’re living in, this is fast becoming a standard part of creating a business so I hope these tips were useful.
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