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Why brand communities matter for growth

Why brand communities matter for growth
Therese Kelly-Dodds
Therese Kelly-DoddsSocial Strategy NI

Posted: Mon 10th Jun 2024

I'm still buzzing from a recent event with Social Media Savvy and it has got me thinking about the importance of community.

Each speaker emphasised that engaging with your community goes beyond merely responding to comments. It’s about fostering genuine connections and creating value for your audience.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to engage with your community both online and offline:

Online engagement strategies

1. Create engaging content

Share informative blog posts, articles, videos, or infographics that address your community’s interests. High-quality content that resonates with your audience can significantly boost engagement.

By tailoring content to their preferences, you not only provide value but also encourage them to share and interact with your posts, thereby increasing your reach.

2. Host Q&A sessions

Allow your community members to directly ask you or experts questions. This can be done live on social media platforms or through text-based forums, providing a direct line of communication and building trust.

Q&A sessions can be themed around specific topics, allowing for deep dives into subjects that matter most to your audience.

3. Run contests and giveaways

Generate excitement and encourage participation by running contests and giveaways. This fun approach can also increase your reach as participants share your content with their networks. Ensure that the prizes are relevant to your audience to maximise interest and participation.

4. Utilise social media effectively

Respond to comments and messages promptly. Running polls, asking questions and hosting live streams can create interactive experiences that keep your audience engaged.

Social media platforms offer various tools to help you stay connected with your community, from Instagram Stories and Facebook Groups to Twitter Spaces and LinkedIn Articles.

5. Start online discussion groups

Create forums or chats where members can connect and share ideas. These groups can become valuable spaces for networking and knowledge exchange.

Platforms like Discord, Slack or even Facebook Groups can serve as excellent hubs for your community to gather and discuss topics of interest.

6. Conduct surveys and polls

Get feedback from your community to understand their needs and preferences. This information can guide your content and engagement strategies. Regularly soliciting feedback shows your community that their opinions matter and that you are committed to continuous improvement.

Offline engagement strategies

1. Organise events

Host workshops, meet-ups or conferences related to your field. These events provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions, strengthening community bonds. In-person events can range from small, informal gatherings to large-scale conferences, depending on your audience size and resources.

Watch this webinar to discover how framing sustainability in a positive light can increase community participation:

2. Social responsibility

Give back to your community through volunteering or charity events that align with your brand’s values. Demonstrating social responsibility can enhance your brand’s reputation and build a loyal following.

Partnering with local charities or organising community service projects can showcase your commitment to making a positive impact.

3. Offer local discounts or perks

Partner with local businesses to offer exclusive deals to your community members. This not only supports local enterprises but also rewards your community. Such initiatives can create a sense of belonging and appreciation among your audience.

Integrating both online and offline strategies

1. Host hybrid events

Combine online and offline elements in your events. For example, live stream your in-person workshops or conferences, allowing remote community members to participate. This approach ensures inclusivity and expands your event's reach.

2. Build a community hub

Create a centralised platform where your community can access both online content and information about offline events. This could be a dedicated section on your website or a standalone community app. A well-organised hub can enhance user experience and keep your community engaged.

Additional ideas

1. Feature community members

Highlight the achievements or stories of your community members. This recognition can motivate others to engage more actively. Spotlighting community members can be done through blog posts, social media shoutouts or even during live events.

2. Offer exclusive content

Provide members with early access to new content or special resources. Exclusive perks can make your community feel valued and appreciated. This can include behind-the-scenes looks, beta testing opportunities or member-only webinars.

3. Create a loyalty programme

Develop a rewards system for active community members. Points can be earned for participation, sharing content or attending events, which can be redeemed for discounts, merchandise or other benefits.

4. Personalise interactions

Use data to personalise your interactions with community members. Whether it's addressing them by name, referencing their past engagement, or offering content tailored to their interests, personalisation can significantly enhance the community experience.

5. Facilitate peer-to-peer connections

Encourage your community members to connect with each other. This can be through mentor programmes, buddy systems or collaborative projects. Strong peer-to-peer connections can create a more cohesive and supportive community.

Engaging with your community is an ongoing process that requires creativity and dedication. By implementing these strategies, you can build a vibrant, loyal community that supports and grows with your brand.

Relevant resources

Therese Kelly-Dodds
Therese Kelly-DoddsSocial Strategy NI

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