Many companies are mistaken in thinking that building a community is a one-off campaign, where the majority of efforts are pushed into a single consecutive period. In a real essence, a community is built overtime both consciously and organically with a clear focus and objective to make it a success.
Building a community takes time and effort – it’s certainly not a quick process. The process of building a community comprises of 3 P’s.
People – The first step in building a community is to identify where your audience is. People are the most important element of your community. It is important to identify who are engaging with your brand and at what levels.
A lot of brands are missing an opportunity by not joining existing conversation around their brands. “Fish where your fishes are” says Neil Hallmark, Head of Digital Kaizo a part of Social Media Week London.
Uniliver VIP was built within Facebook because over half of the UK population are on the site. And how did they build their community? It all started with an email mailing list of consumers who engaged heavily with Unilever.
Screenshot taken from Unilever VIP Facebook Page
Passion – Once you identify your audience, reach out to them and kick start a conversation. It’s always great to have different content on your brand Facebook Pages from your website. Keep it simple, make sure your content is engaging and entertaining. Try giving your users added benefits – like exclusive access to your brand, sneak peeks, coupons as a value exchange or simple rewards. These sorts of benefits are known to have a positive impact on communities as consumers are always looking for an incentive. Responding to people on a timely basis and listening to their feedback makes them more enthusiastic and passionate about your brand. Maintaining a community is about getting members to talk to eachother – the brand shouldn’t lead the conversation all the time.
Process – Once the community is built and the two-way conversation has begun, it’s vital to have a content plan of approximately 3 months, so that you have a clear direction of where you want your brand to head and what you want to achieve out of the community. Building a real community takes time and the first year especially is a lot of work. Therefore, it’s important to have clear and measurable objectives. By now, you should know what kind of tone of voice you have maintained so far and what suits your brand. Try out different techniques and learn from the results.
Building a successful community cannot be determined just by likes; it’s a long process that requires a lot of time and listening to your audience. And if it all seems like a complex process, we at Croud are confident that we can make it happen for you and your brand!