Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, building and nurturing a community around your brand cannot be overstated. When you create meaningful and lost-lasting relationships with your customers by successfully nurturing them, you’re also building a loyal customer community that will hopefully sustain your business long into the future.
Here are some more reasons why building a community around your brand is so beneficial:
Gain Valuable Feedback
No matter where your customer community hangs out – be it in your physical shop, in the comments of your Instagram posts or elsewhere – their first-hand insights are an invaluable source of first-hand feedback. Whether you have a suggestion box, send out a digital survey or simply ask them, knowing what your customers really think will help you to refine your products or services, making them truly useful and valued.
A recent study by SproutSocial revealed that 51% of consumers define feeling connected to a brand when they feel the brand understands them and their desires – so make sure you never miss an opportunity to understand your target audience more keenly! Ask questions, ask them often and be open to honest feedback.
When someone really loves your product or service, they’ll sing about it from the rooftops. Ever since I passed my driving test I’d say 90% of my Reddit comments are me recommending the book and podcast I used to help me calm my anxiety around driving. Why do I do it? Because I got so much value from these resources, I want to see other people benefit from them too!
Thanks to their authenticity, word-of-mouth recommendations (if they’re right for your line of business) can be far more lucrative than a paid ad campaign. Companies thrive off a community of dedicated customers – it’s how we have household names who’ve been around since the beginning of our collective memory.
To help build this community around your brand you can:
- Encourage customers to leave reviews on your website and third-party review websites
- Offer a reward for referrals or advocacy actions
- Use user-generated content in your social media posts and ads
- Openly engage your customers in your content – ask them questions, share their brand-related content, celebrate them!
Brands that listen to their communities and adapt their offering to suit their wants and needs better will always have the competitive edge over those that don’t. When you have an open dialogue with them, you’ll be able to spot trends in their consumer behaviour and brand sentiment that allow you to further tailor your products or services to them.
Take your customers on the journey with you too! When you’re implementing the services or tweaking a product for them, let them know! MyCarbonCoach, an eco shop in Taunton had lots of requests from his community to offer food refills. Instead of waiting for some time in the future when he could foot the upfront capital for the initial overheads, he crowdsourced it. The result? His community of customers got what they wanted faster, got some great rewards in the process and were kept up to date about when it would be available.
With lots of competition out there, it really is a case of adapting or fading into obscurity!
Increase Brand Loyalty, Retain Customers Better
Most of us want to feel part of something bigger than ourselves. When the brands we love love us back we engage with them more. When we can interact with other people that love the brands we love in real-time, we are contributing to being part of that brand’s community.
Being active in nurturing your community by replying to messages and notifications, publishing entertaining and educational content on socials and maintaining great products or services will help you to better retain your customers and increase brand loyalty.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, valued and cared for – ask yourself how you’re currently fulfilling those needs for your customers. Is there something else you could be doing?
It doesn’t necessarily have to be BIG. One of the cashiers at my local Tesco Express always packs my shopping bag for me and serves me with a smile. On days when I have lots of shopping she might say ‘go careful’ – in all of her actions she’s making me feel appreciated, valued and cared for. Even though I could jump in the car and save myself a few pounds going somewhere else (especially in this cost of living crisis!) she never fails to make me smile when she’s on shift!
Building a community around your brand isn’t something that can be done overnight – it takes time and dedication but it’s so worth it for all the reasons I’ve mentioned above and more!
Tell me something about the wonderful community around your brand below, or ask me question if you’re still working on it!