Launching a brand is hard. Once you’ve come up with your great idea, you’re ready to spend a ton of wide-eyed nights and office-bound weekends to get it launched.
Building a solid brand takes a combination of several key elements: finding your target audience, visual branding, brand voice, social media strategy, influencer strategy, product placement, customer experience, and more. But what you should not fail to take into account is the brand’s community.
A brand and its community are not mutually exclusive elements: even if your product is the crème de la crème, your community is what will take it to places you could never imagine.
Brand communities provide first-hand feedback: 66% of companies say that they turn to brand communities for product development. According to the Harvard Business Review, “a community-based brand builds loyalty not by driving sales transactions but by helping people meet their needs.” And genuinely wanting to help your customers is the strongest way to build loyalty.
Your customers, your brand’s community, are what will bring not only loyalty, pride and (hopefully) fame to your brand, but they will also provide the feedback you need to make your brand work best for them.
So what tools can a brand use to build and engaged community? We’ve reviewed our favorite 6 below:
Spitche — Customer Loyalty Programs
Here at Spitche, we design our loyalty programs to help brands build loyal communities and reward their communities for engaging with their content. Spitche has an intuitive platform which tracks ambassadors, allocating points (chosen by the brand) for shares, likes, and comments on their content. The user that gets the most engagement on the content wins a reward!
Slack — Creating a Chat Community
Slack is a startup that offers one of the world’s most popular chat products. And it’s not only for managing teams — brands can manage their customer communities on Slack, a modern, real-time messaging tool. With over 2.3 million daily users, Slack is a perfect, user-friendly platform to get a community chattin’ about their product.
Brands can share content on their Slack channels, and their customers can easily configure their slack to receive information the way they want. Sending messages and content directly to customers is a great way to make customers feel like a “part of the club”.
Intercom — Customer Messaging
Intercom is also a customer messenger platform, but isn’t used exactly in the same way as Slack. Intercom helps businesses interact with customers in real time rather than via email, which can be slow.
On Intercom, brands can track from which source people come to their service; they can track and tag customers to make it easy to react to certain behaviors. According to Upscope, “Intercom for most customers really is a chat box. For companies, it’s an entire communication, marketing and sales system where all team members can participate.”
Buffer — Social Media
Social media is where you will find your customers in everyday life. With 2 billion users on Facebook, 260 million users on Twitter, 1 billion users on Instagram and 250 million users on Pinterest, brands need to be present and engaging with their customers on social media.
Today, social media is the modern face of customer service. It’s the number one place where the brand’s loyal customers and community expect to communicate and interact with their brand. It’s where they expect to find instructional content, exciting news and announcements and where they will talk about the brand.
Buffer is a social media management tool that lets brands see all the different social media channels in one place, letting brands schedule posts, analyze performance and manage accounts from one platform.
Mention — Finding Your Audience
Mention is a tool that lets you set up alerts based on key words and phrases that are related to your brand. You don’t even need people to tag your brand directly — you’ll be able to see any post that has to do with your niche.
It’s not only useful if you want to know if people are talking about your brand; it’s also a great way to find new audiences and people who are (or could be) interested in the product you have to offer.
Then, when you find potential members of your community, you can find out what other interests they have, which can help you build a buyer persona.
Eventbrite — Building Your Offline Community
Organizing offline events is not only an awesome way to market your product, it’s the perfect venue for forming real-life, in-person bonds with your customers. Organizing an event is a sure-fire avenue for your brand to increase visibility, gain prestige, increase revenues and have fun. But on top of it all, it’s one of the best ways to consolidate your brand’s community.
Genuine, face-to-face interaction beats all social media, blogging or paid advertisement. Sure, people like the online world, but we’re still hard-wired to best respond to people IRL.
Sometimes referred to as ‘experiential marketing’, events are brand’s channels for gaining authority and creating noise and PR opportunities about your brand.
Eventbrite is an excellent platform for creating events. Brands can easily create events that can be searched by their local community based on their interests. Here at Spitche, we understand the power of live events for our community, and we hold monthly workshops and a bi-annual summit meeting in the heart of Barcelona.
If you’re based in Barcelona, come see us at our summit event on April 4, MeltinLab.
Authentic Engagement Is Key
Brands should care deeply about building and maintaining their communities. It isn’t only about profit: it’s your brand’s livelihood, your source of feedback and driver of improvement, and ultimately, your community are your fans. Be adamant about maintaining them.
Hopefully, some of these tools are useful for you. Want to learn more about building a loyal community? Read our Definitive Guide to Customer Loyalty here!