28 May Building a Strong Community for Your Brand
Community engagement, both virtually and in-person, can help your brand immensely. The more people feel a personal connection to the brand, the products, the mission, or the owners, the more loyal they are bound to be. Building up your community is an effective and cost-efficient way to turn first-time purchasers into repeat customers. Below are a few easy ways you can work to build a community for your brand.
Foster In-Person Connections
Almost nothing will make a customer rave about a business more than if they have a positive, personal experience with the owner themselves. Hearing straight from the creator about a product or service, how it came to be, and more, can help make a tremendous amount of sales.
As your business grows, you will of course have less time available to dedicate to face-to-face interactions with individual customers. But it will benefit you greatly if you find a way to work at least a little bit of customer facetime into your week. This allows you to share directly with potential customers the reasons you created your offering in the first place, and why you believe in it so deeply. Plus, if these customers enjoy their interaction with you, and feel a connection, they’ll have even more motivation to make a purchase!
Start Facebook groups
This particular solution won’t be relevant for every single business in every situation. But when it is relevant, it can be very powerful. Few things build a sense of community more than the feeling of being included in a group. You want to build relationships between your brand and your customers, of course. But it can also be very valuable to build relationships amongst your customers as well.
Facebook groups are a great platform to give your community of customers a chance to interact with each other and share ideas. For instance, if you own a grocery store or market, you can create a group for people to share recipes using ingredients from your shop. If you own a hobby shop or craft store, you can create a group where people share their creations. Not only will these types of groups provide customers with a chance to connect, but will also inspire them to try the recipes, crafts, etc. that they’ve seen. And they’ll come to you to purchase those supplies!
Host Events, Not Just Sales
Limited-time, in-store sales are fun. They draw people in to your location, offer them products and services at a discount, and hopefully will keep them coming back for more down the line. They don’t necessarily do much to build community and connections though. Events that go beyond just a clearance sale provide a much better opportunity to build community.
This concept may sound intimidating, expensive, or out-of-reach at first. But it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of events you can put on that do not require huge investments of time and money. Something as simple as a Q-and-A session with the owner, a panel discussion of topics related to your offerings with experts, employees, and customers, or a giveaway of some of your top-selling products can work wonders.
Special Offers for Loyal Customers
Another way to forge connections is to make your most loyal customers feel special. And what could make them feel more special than special offers, just for them? Offering your highest-value customers exclusive discounts is a great way to let them know you value them, and further build the relationships you have established with them.
The more personalized you can make these offers feel, the better. Choose a small number of your most loyal customers, and create individualized discounts for each of them based on their past purchase history. Not only will this help your relationship, but it will bring in a good deal of immediate sales for your business.
Express Your Values to Find Like-Minded Customers
People feel connected to those they feel similar to. If you can show potential customers that your brand shares some of the same morals, values, or ideals as they do, you can quickly bring in new customers to your community. No matter what it is that your brand stands for, make that very clear however you can. Include your mission statement, causes, and more on your website, in your social media posts, and in as many marketing materials as possible.
For instance, one cause that is front-of-mind for many right now is environmental protection, from climate change to water pollution to saving endangered species. If your brand has any sustainable practices, uses recyclable materials, is locally sourced, donates money to environmental causes, or is certified vegan or cruelty-free, make sure people know about it! Consumers will feel proud to buy your products, and feel an emotional connection with your brand if you can identify a shared value.
Nourish Your Social Media Community
Finally, a very simple and tangible way to build a community for your brand is to be an active player in your online community! Not only should you be active on social media, sharing posts and stories consistently, but this should be a place where you start conversations and make connections as well. Anytime someone engages with your brand, be it through a comment, share, or message, take the opportunity to chat with them and build a relationship. They clearly have some sort of interest in your brand, so that is a great jumping off point to build a connection!
You can also seek out new connections on social media by searching for people who you think would be interested in your offerings. You can search relevant geotags, hashtags, and more to find potential new customers, and engage with them there.
Building a community for your brand definitely takes some work, but it is almost always well worth it. Go beyond being a salesman, and make genuine connections with your customers. Not only will it feel good to you and to them, but it will ultimately benefit your brand as well. Using the methods and channels above, you should be able to start building a strong community in no time!