Your business’s online presence is more than having an audience to bombard with marketing material as advertising used to be. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an audience should be passive, like in the days of TV advertising. These days it is so much more. People want to be engaged with, listened to and involved. The concept of communities is coming back, thanks to social media and for good people, with the right intentions this is a great thing.
Building a strong brand community has a number of benefits for your business. Here are four of them…
Perhaps the most obvious benefit is the marketing aspect. You have direct access to those who are your brand’s biggest fans, meaning that those who are most likely to buy new products or services that you may be launching will be automatically aware.
These people are also your best ambassadors. People are more likely to buy something new if it has been recommended to them by a friend than if they see random adverts. The idea of perpetual marketing is very real and perfectly possible with a engaged and involved brand community.
Social Content Inspiration
Are you blogging or podcasting every day or every week? Sometimes it can be tough finding inspiration for the next post. By engaging with and listening to your brand community, you can see what your fans are talking about, trying, or listening to. Since you are aiming your social content at firstly your community and secondly other people like them, by talking about subjects that interest them, you are sure to engage with the people that you want to.
Another benefit to this is that not only are you gaining inspiration, you are also edging yourself closer to them – people like other people who are similar to them.
Are you thinking about developing a new product or service? Not quite sure which direction to take it? Why don’t you ask directly the people who you are aiming at selling to? No-one knows better than them what they want!
You can engage in conversations or even ask them to fill out a short questionnaire which can help you to understand better which way you should be going. You can also ask them directly for ideas, such as what new flavour of ice cream they would like to try, or if they think that they would benefit from an online consultancy option for your doctors surgery.
They say that we learn more from mistakes than things that went right. Although it’s difficult to hear sometimes, we can benefit greatly from both good and bad feedback. You can use your most forgiving customers for ideas on how to improve your products or services. They’ll be sure to want to help you because they already love your brand.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to feedback is that you mustn’t ignore it – try to respond to any complaints or good feedback by saying thanks, and what you are doing to change things (or maintain things if the feedback was good!).
Having a strong brand community isn’t just about having a group of loyal consumers; it’s much more than that. If they are used in the right way, you not only build up their importance in their mind, you are also taking some of the strain away from some aspects of your business.
Head of Marketing
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)