Great brands foster great communities around their brands. Traditionally those communities were built through good ol’ word-of-mouth advertising. But there are exciting new ways to build brand communities these days.

We are in a 5-part blog series covering the 5 C’s of creating your personal brand: clarity, content, connection, creativity, and community. Check out our blogs on clarity, content, and connection, and creativity if you missed them.

For our last blog of this series, we are taking a look at how to build a brand community. In today’s multimedia world, it’s all about using creative methods to take your word-of-mouth marketing to the next level through online reviews, discussion threads, value-focused interactions, and social media shares.

Online Reviews

In their research of consumer online reviews, BrightLocal found that 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. And that number jumps to 95% of consumers who are aged 18-34. That means potential customers are extremely interested in what your current customers have to say. Online reviews are the closest thing to harnessing the tried and true power of word-of-mouth advertising.

President and Co-Founder of inkbox tattoos, Braden Handley, says, “Reviews can be super powerful, especially when you show them in a fun and creative way.” Handley uses Instagram stories to feature reviews. Such as this one.

Discussion/Help Threads

Often, your brand will appeal to people who have similar interests. If you can get them talking to each other and providing support for each other, you can build a community around your brand. This allows you to leverage the wisdom and experience of your customers.

To get the discussion going, create a group on Facebook or a thread on Instagram and ask a question that pertains to your brand. Or issue a challenge (such as asking them to post a picture which includes your product or brand). Watch as your customers begin to interact with each other. You will want to make sure to maintain administrative control and be ready to diffuse or delete any communication which doesn’t honor the reputation of your brand. But beside some gentle guiding, your community will likely take shape naturally. After all, today’s consumers are used to conversing via discussion threads.

Value-Focused Interactions

The only way to keep people coming back to your brand is to have something of value that they want or need. This can come in the form of blogs or podcasts that educate. It might be products that the customer purchases. But as you work to build your brand, keep focusing on what you have of value to offer your community members. As digital marketing expert Sujan Patel puts it, “Why would your users remain part of your community if they aren’t getting any value out of it?”

Here is an example of a value-focused interaction from @enneagramenthusiast on Instagram.

Look at all the ways they are creating community with this one post. They offer both education and an affirmation of each Enneagram type which users will find valuable. And they’ve done so via a beautiful graphic that people will want to share. They’ve also asked for followers to “tag someone and tell them what you love about them” which invites new users to the brand while also starting a discussion thread. Whew! That’s a lot of branding in just one little post.

Social Media Shares

Great marketers know that the best access to new customers is through the solid customers with whom you’ve already built relationships. Put the power of social media to work for your brand by having your current customers share their experiences on their personal social media sites.

Here are a few fun ways to get “shares.”

  • Create a creative hashtag and have customers use and share it for a chance to win a prize.
  • Set up photo ops with your branding that will inspire people to take and then post pictures of themselves (and of your brand) to their social media sites.
  • Design beautiful images with great quotes that will resonate with your customers. Then share them via your Instagram page. Make sure to include your branding in the image.
  • Create a random prize drawing. Ask current customers to tag a friend for a chance to win a prize for both themselves and a tagged friend.

 

As you seek to build a strong community around your brand, keep in mind the many channels available to you. Building a personal brand can be hard work, but it’s rewarding when you begin to see others catch your vision, advocate for your brand, and share it’s value with others.

Ready to learn more about creating your brand through stunning visuals and powerful narratives? Contact our award-winning team at Ethos3 today.

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