With so much STUFF online, it can seem almost impossible to cut through the noise. And, even though it feels like a select few organisations dictate our online experiences, it really is up to the consumer to decide how, when, and if they’ll interact with your brand.
When it comes to building a digital community that will support your brand, helping you get reach, engagements, and, ideally sales, one of the best things you can do is take inspiration from people who are known for their community building skills – influencers. In a way, influencers are their own brand and many of them have developed ways of engaging with their audience to help ensure they continue to get reach and engagement.
So, what are the actual tactics you can use for building a genuine community? Well, if you only take one thing away from this article, let it be to listen to your customers. Your customers will dictate where they’d like to engage with you, what level of communication and openness they expect from you, and what they’re looking for from brands in general.
Do some research to understand where your customers are and where they like to interact with brands. It’s not just about which digital channels they use, but how they use them – do they check their emails regularly and fill out surveys? Do they prefer phone calls or website chat boxes? Do they want to respond to your Instagram Story or tag you in a TikTok video?
If you’re trying to start conversations and build relationships with your customers on platforms they don’t utilise or engage with, you will find it very difficult.
We’re all humans and we all care about different things. It’s easier for consumers to relate to your brand when they know the people behind the brand name care about the same things they do.
As part of learning about and understanding your customers, identify what your shared purpose and values are with your audience. You’ll likely find that your reasons behind starting your brand and what your brand is striving to do, will align nicely with the right audience.
The crux of it is – if your audience feels like they’re part of your brand, they’re more likely to care about your successes. A really great example of a brand doing this well is Luxey Cup. Luxey is an Australian-owned company that started out as a simple Kickstarter campaign a few years ago and is now worth millions. Sandra-Lea, their Co-Founder, uses Luxey’s social media channels, primarily Instagram, as a two-way communication tool with her audience.
By including your audience, getting their feedback and opinion throughout your brand’s journey, it will encourage them to feel as though they’re growing alongside your brand.
A key element of building your brand community is showing the human element behind it. We all make mistakes, it’s part of life, and as long as you own up to your mistakes and work to fix them, it’s ok.
Your audience understands that not everything will run smoothly all the time, but you need to show them that they can trust you. By showing them you’ll take action when it’s needed and that you don’t only talk about the good things, you will become more relatable to your audience, which will help build brand trust and loyalty.