As a brand with a strong social media following, you have a unique opportunity to convert your audience into a community. While having a large following may look good for vanity metrics, it doesn’t translate into the engaged, supportive, and loyal foundation that every brand seeks. Finding your “thousand true fans” can take your brand to the next level by increasing customer engagement, retention and repeat monetization. Beyond the qualitative support, quantitative studies show a 5% retention rate of loyal customers can increase profitability in the range of 25%-95%(!). That’s well worth the effort of translating your audience into a brand community.
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Listen and Respond: One of the best ways to build a community is by listening to your audience and responding to their needs. Take the time to read comments, respond to direct messages, and engage with your followers. Showing that you care about their opinions and feedback not only helps to build a stronger relationship with your audience, but also helps to create a sense of community.
- Offer Exclusive Content: Creating exclusive content to deliver to your most enthusiastic fans is a great (and inexpensive) way to create a sense of community. This might include behind-the-scenes content, early access to new products, or special promotions. By offering something that is only available to your followers, you are showing them that you value their support and are willing to reward them for it.
- Encourage User-Generated Content: Encouraging your followers to create and share their own content related to your brand is a great way to build a community. This not only creates a sense of ownership and pride in your brand, but also helps to showcase your followers and their creativity. Reposting user-generated content is a great way to show your appreciation, and at the same time, motivates others to get involved.
- Host Events and Meetups: Hosting events and meetups is a great way to bring your followers together in real life. Possibilities are endless, including anything from product launch parties, to hackathons, to networking events. By creating opportunities for your followers to meet and connect with each other, you are fostering a sense of community and creating lasting relationships.
- MERCH: That’s it, that’s the proverbial tweet. People who love your brand LOVE your merch. Reward them with unique line extensions, branded accessories, or special collaborative or limited edition runs of your product. You can also leverage this base as a testing ground for new features, flavors, or formulas - a dedicated consumer insights group is right at your fingertips! This is your most enthusiastic cohort for gaining honest feedback, and offering them these first cuts makes them feel both special and valued.
- Reduce Friction: Although items 1-5 are “dos,” let us offer you one “don’t.” Don’t make your audience go from app to app or site to site in order to reap their rewards. Engagement falls off with every added ounce of friction, so streamline the process to keep them with you in one easy-to-use community “home.”
Above all, in trying out any or all of the above, it’s important through it all to be authentic and transparent with your audience. Be honest about your brand's values, mission, and goals – and showcase how you are translating that to action. This not only helps to build trust with your audience, but also creates a sense of authenticity and transparency that is important for building a community.
Turning your audience into a community requires effort, time, and dedication. By listening to your audience, providing valuable benefits for participation, and being authentic (with a little bit of merch thrown in for good measure!), you can create a strong and engaged community that will support your brand for years to come.
Looking for solutions that help you galvanize your brand community and give it a proper home? MAGNETIQ helps companies engage, retain, and monetize their brand communities. Contact us at email@example.com and check out our website to learn more.