What do companies like Apple, Harley Davidson, Lululemon, and even Kajabi have in common?
Our best “spokesperson” is a single loyal customer. No paid media or organic traffic could ever do more for our business (and yours!) as much as a single happy and loyal customer.
But what’s even more powerful than a single devoted spokesperson? That’s right. An entire loyal, supportive, engaged community. From tech darlings to the folks with “loud pipes save lives” stickered on their bumper, it’s been proven…creating a community around your brand has long-lasting, profitable benefits.
Customers not only purchase from these brands, but they make supporting these companies a part of their lifestyle – incorporating them into the very fabric of their personalities.
Knowledge Commerce Community Building
But how can Knowledge Commerce businesses replicate the success of these companies? And what’s required to create a brand community that’s truly enticing to your target market?
Firstly, it isn’t easy. And that’s a good thing.
It’s the difference between gold and silver. Like gold, building a brand centered around “true” customer service is hard to replicate. Whereas silver is far easier to knock off, and can instead be just a “face” of customer service. But soon enough if a company’s actions don’t match it’s promises…that fake silver is found out.
When you treat your customers like gold, they feel connected to your brand and there’s nothing more valuable. Both to you personally, and to your bottom line.
Customers aren’t easily persuaded to become a part of any community, especially if they feel like you’re trying too hard to capture their loyalty solely for your profit.
Instead, you want to help your audience make their own decision to support your brand by simply providing products, services, and customer experiences which go above and beyond anything else available.
It’s this art of subtle, yet strategic, marketing that many entrepreneurs struggle with.
When you’re so invested in your business, it can be tempting to want to shout about your brand from the rooftops and to engage in sales-y pitches every chance you get.
But what often comes as a surprise is that the most successful brand communities are created in an organic, genuine way, by companies who understand that people naturally support brands which enhance their lives in some way.
So, how can you get the ball rolling and begin growing a community of supporters around your business?
Here Are 5 Tips To Creating Your Own Loyal Community
1: Clearly Stand For Something
One thing almost every brand community has in common is a clear purpose or goal which everyone in the group can support. When trying to establish your community, ask yourself:
“What types of causes or initiatives are important to my target demographic?”
“What are they passionate about which my brand can stand alongside them in support?”
A great example of a business that has harnessed the power of giving its customers a purpose to stand behind is Toms Shoes. They stood up and said “for every pair of shoes you buy from us, we’ll give away a pair to someone in need”.
An initiative that both customers and companies have organically gravitated towards.
Now, you can find supporters wearing their shoes and declaring their allegiance for a brand that is doing something positive to change the world.
In order to develop your own loyal tribe of customers, you’ll have to think about what your business can do to inspire, engage, and motivate your prospects to join in on your vision.
2: Create A Space For Interaction
Whether it’s a branded Instagram hashtag, a membership site, a Facebook group, or even a Slack channel…creating a designated space for your community is essential to letting your customers lead and encouraging them to come together.
However, do your best to give your customers the chance to decide how they’d like to use their online space, or at least provide options for them to give feedback on. Some don’t like to talk and would rather just watch, while others are the complete opposite.
You want your customers to feel like they’re a part of the community building process, so allow them to contribute to the purpose of the community and the direction it will take.
Some Ideas To Do This:
- An online suggestion box where customers can pitch you their creative and innovative ideas.
- A tips and advice forum page on your website where your customers can educate one another on using your products or services. Similar to what Apple does with its Apple Support Communities.
- A branded hashtag where customers can share photos of themselves supporting your brand.
- A private or public Facebook Group dedicated to serving and providing value to anyone who’s a member.
- Another simple option is an online Q & A form where customers can quickly and conveniently have their questions answered by a member of your team.
3. It’s Better To Be Yourself
If you think about some of the brands you know, love, and connect deeply with, do they communicate with their tribe in a “business-y” kind of way, or in a more personal, friendly tone?
Most likely it’s the latter.
This is one area as digital entrepreneurs you can really thrive and have some fun with your brand. One of your biggest “secret weapons” in your online business is in your ability to be yourself.
If you say dry jokes, say dry jokes. If you love the Chicago Cubs, let your people know.
Everyone wants to do business with people they know, like, and trust. By letting go of the suit and tie talk for just a minute and embracing a bit more of a casual vibe, you can do a lot to create a community which feels surprisingly comfortable around you.
Obviously, you want to always take into consideration your audience.
For example, Taco Bell talks to its millennial community far different than someone who may be selling courses on budgeting family finances for single mothers.
The goal is to allow your personality to come through so that you can more fully connect with your community… Yet you also always want to maintain a level of professionalism where they know you take the solving of their problems very seriously.
4. Frequently Express Gratitude
When customers take the time to support your brand and show their loyalty, recognizing their efforts is a small gesture that has a big impact.
The more your business interacts with your customer base via your online community, the more involved and appreciated your patrons will feel. Which, of course, is always impactful when trying to strengthen brand loyalty.
A few simple ways you can do this are:
- By giving your community members shout outs or public thank you’s when they post or comment.
- Offering discounts or special deals available only to your tribe.
- Sharing new developments with your community members before making the news known to the public.
- Make official branded swag items available to your community members.
- Show your community members the specific difference they’re making by supporting your brand.
Remember: the majority of successful businesses are built on repeat business.
Acknowledging your community members and engaging with them in a helpful, grateful and responsive way is the surest way to turn occasional shoppers into loyal, lifetime, happy customers.
In fact, a staggering 65% of consumers say that the number one reason they support a brand is that the company makes them feel like “they care about people like me”. Show that you care, and you’re well on your way to a rock solid loyal customer base!
5: Keep It Consistent
Just like any other marketing strategy, consistency is key. If you begin engaging your online community members and then suddenly stop responding to them or sharing content, it will hurt your brand more than it helps.
Before launching your online community and implementing your strategy, take the time to ensure that you have a clear idea of how you’ll keep your community active, interesting and appealing to your customers.
Remember: The more your brand is consistently presented out in the marketplace, the easier it will bring in new customers, and continue to leverage all the hard work you’ve already done.
This is why it’s important to manage content schedules and ensure your community is always at the top of your priority list.
Recap To Create Your Own Branded Community
Creating a loyal community around your brand can be encapsulated in a single quote:
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”.
As you apply that mindset and some of the ideas in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating a community which helps support both your business and your dreams!
- Cleary stand for something.
- Create a space for interaction.
- It’s better to be yourself.
- Frequently express gratitude.
- Keep it consistent.