Does your brand have the potential to achieve the fanatic following of Harley-Davidson? All you have to do is walk into a Harley-Davidson store or visit one of its websites to be reminded that it’s about so much more than motorcycles. As their marketing reminds you, “It’s not just a look. It’s a lifestyle.”
Your business doesn’t have to be iconic to emulate the Harley-Davidson community of loyalists. You can also build a community by fostering authentic, deep relationships with your customers, vendors and partners. The organic community that grows around your business is your best audience and most likely to recommend your company.
You can also purposefully build a community around your brand – even in times of social distancing – which means you can create a marketing machine. While there are several platforms you can purchase to help you build and manage a brand community, you can also take a few simple, low-cost steps to get the ball rolling.
1. Start social
Begin with a Facebook group, Twitter account or Instagram page for users of your products or services. This isn’t a place to sell, but rather a forum for discussion. For example, if you own a bookstore, your group could be an online book club. Your internal team may be your first group members.
For larger B2B organizations, start with a vertical in which your brand is prominent and add more groups as your community grows. Even engineers or those who work in skilled trades have questions and opinions they’d like to share with like-minded users.
2. Create and post content
We’ve talked in other posts about the importance of thought leadership and content strategy. Here’s a place to shine. Support your community with content geared specifically for them. Answer questions, create new guides, make a how-to video.
3. Share a closer look
To know your brand is to love it. Give your community members special access to content that pulls back the curtain: videos showing how products are made, Q-and-A pieces with company leaders, photos of team members at home or having fun.
4. Engage, engage, engage
The biggest difference between community-building and advertising is interaction. As your community grows and members interact with each other, offer them opportunities to engage directly with representatives of your brand. Host a webinar or an online happy hour. Create a contest to collect user-generated content, then share the winners across other platforms, like your website.
Make your customers feel like they’re part of something bigger, and they will keep coming back, and spread the word. Need help getting started? Give us a call.
Photo credit: Andrey Armyagov – stock.adobe.com