Blog / Marketing tips / What’s a Brand Community and How to Build and Nurture It
This blog post is based on Lucas Helaouet’s (Spitche) presentation at our online conference, Printful Threads: How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business with Organic Marketing. Watch all presentations on our YouTube channel.
One of the mistakes I see companies of all sizes make is assuming that your brand community is the people buying your products.
Your customers are certainly a part of your brand community—and a very important one. After all, they’re the ones who keep the lights on for your business. But there are also many people you might not even consider to be invested in your content, yet they can still affect your business. If you don’t include them in your communication strategy, you’re missing out on growing a loyal following and making more sales.
When you’re marketing your business online, you’re inclined to think about your audiences because that’s how most of the social media platforms are built. When we go on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, we focus on sharing our message with people we want to share our message with. But I believe this approach is faulty.
Your brand community is not the group of people you’re trying to reach.
Your brand community is the people who are interested in what you’re saying.
Think of a teacher talking to a classroom. The brand community in this example is not the whole classroom—just because you’re talking to people doesn’t mean they’re interested. The brand community is those who are paying attention.
First and foremost, your brand community is a powerful business tool.
Imagine having a loyal group of people that you can regularly reach out to for advice, feedback, and inspiration. This group can help you make customer-driven decisions and spread the word about your business on social media and other online channels, all free of charge.
These people should in fact be your go-to source for information and feedback. Use their insights to test new product designs, share blog content, and collect ideas for improvement on your website.
To get access to this invaluable information, you need to build a strong and thriving online community where members get rewarded for everything they do for your brand.
For smaller brands, especially those who are a team of 1, your business will very often be linked to your personal life. Your brand community will be your existing customers, your family, friends, followers, newsletter subscribers, website visitors that you can track, and also website visitors you might not be able to identify.
The members of your brand community can participate in one or several of these activities:
Why do they do all of that? Because they want to. And the best part is, they don’t ask anything in return. That’s what makes it organic marketing—these people are promoting your brand of their own free will. They do it for free, and often without you even knowing it.
Learn more: Brand Story: A Definitive Guide to Brand Storytelling
There’s a big difference between being aware of a brand and being emotionally invested in it, and that difference is emotional connection.
Each individual has a community of their own. And that community can be reached through that one person. Make people feel welcome, and you’ll be able to expand your reach even further. Here are four things you can do to create a sense of belonging within your community.
Learn More: Guide to Using Instagram Hashtags
43% of US customers spend more on brands to which they’re loyal. So the more effort you’ll make to keep your brand community engaged, the more successful your brand will become. There are several ways you can use your brand community’s insights to improve your marketing and advertising strategy.
There are some great tools out there you can use to identify the most engaged consumers, understand their behavior, engagement, purchase triggers, and pain points. One of these tools is Spitche, a brand experience (BX) software that allows rewarding your online community members for everything they do for your brand: posting pictures with your products on Instagram, engagement on Facebook, and more.
Your brand community is the people who elevate your business into something more than just a website with products.
To build an online community that cares about the stuff you sell or post, show that you care about them too! Interact with members and make them feel welcome. Don’t praise and reward only your customers—they’re already buying from you. Reward your brand community because likes, shares, comments, and reviews are what keeps your brand alive and helps it evolve.
Learn more: How to Start a Clothing Brand: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide
The next step is involving your community in the decision-making process. The information you’ll gather from them will help you boost your brand authenticity, run more effective ads, and extend your reach.
What steps have you already taken to build a brand community? Let us know in the comments!
Madara is a content marketer for the Printful Blog. Her background in linguistics and belief in the power of SEO come in handy when she’s creating content that inspires ecommerce store owners and helps them grow their business.
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