“We have made it our goal to not only nurture our relationships with our current brand advocates but to also cultivate new ones, turning the infrequent guest into the loyal guest, and ultimately an advocate for the brand.” – Rob Palleschi
If you've read the NbliK community blog for any period of time, you'll be aware that our focus is on creating a brand-specific and start-up community. But if you're wondering why you should think about creating an online community, I've got some good news: a brand community is crucial to your long-term success.
Virtual brand community- An Overview
Online brand communities, also known as virtual brand communities, are online communities comprised of consumers who have a shared interest in a particular brand. These communities are not limited by geography and are built around social relationships and connections among brand enthusiasts. Virtual communities have undergone significant evolution over time, transitioning from simple chat rooms and news groups to communities that have strong bonds and a diverse range of methods for maintaining contact and wielding influence in their areas of interest. Online brand communities help their members combat feelings of isolation and enable them to engage in social activities. This article provides a guide on how to build an online brand community, along with a list of the top five benefits of doing so.
Steps to create a virtual brand community
1. Sync up community and business requirements
A community must be planned as a component of a high-level strategy supporting corporate objectives in order to yield the greatest benefits. You must emphasize how a community could support your organization's strategic goals in order to win over your senior team.
2. Make a mission statement for your community
You can write your community's mission statement after deciding on its objective.
A formal explanation of your community's objectives and the reasons it exists is called a mission statement. The mission statement serves to establish future objectives as well as operational strategies, making it a crucial component of your community's strategy.
You can better comprehend the objectives your community is dedicated to pursuing by defining its purpose. Once those objectives are determined, you can develop a plan to reach them.
3. Ensure proper community onboarding
The onboarding procedure in your community is crucial to member engagement and retention. Your chance to integrate and engage new members, motivate them to get involved in your community, and establish a lasting relationship with them comes during onboarding.
New member is extremely attentive to your message when they sign up (and even pay) to join your group. Use this to your advantage and provide new hires the greatest onboarding experience you can.
4. Successful community managers are essential
Your community needs to be passionately nourished and organized with intentional, strategic efforts if you want it to succeed.
A community cannot adequately welcome a visit by itself. Additionally, it is unable to control material, effectively handle criticism, empathetically respond to inquiries, or promote fruitful dialogue. Even though AI and communities have seen some fairly interesting breakthroughs, your community still needs a human or humans to run it.
Benefits of building a virtual brand community
1. Eliminates reliance on advertising and promotions for traffic
Consider your recent purchases from your preferred brands. Did you hold off until they offered a sale or until you saw an advertisement? Most likely, you didn't do either of those. That's because we choose to shop with brands that evoke positive emotions in us, not because they constantly provide discounts or advertisements. An established online community can attract people to your brand by appealing to their emotional motivations. This can be achieved by linking your brand to social causes, crafting a brand purpose, and implementing a rewards program.
2. Increases customer retention
Examine the brand communities of high-end brands like Rolex, Porsche, and Montblanc. It's likely that you know someone who is a loyal fan and wouldn't think of switching to a competitor, even if they have the financial means to do so. A strong connection between your brand and its community creates a barrier to switching. This loyalty and investment in the community often result in less price sensitivity and a reduced likelihood of shopping around.
3. Creates valuable brand advocates
Your community cannot expand if it remains unknown. Fortunately, if you can excite your community members, you can change them from customers into advocates for your brand. These advocates have a deep affection for your brand and become a valuable marketing tool, amplifying your brand message and bringing others into your community experience. Additionally, they tend to spend twice as much as regular customers while promoting your business.
4. Creates value adds for your shoppers
Before turning visitors to your online community into customers, you need to demonstrate the benefits your brand offers. By utilizing value-driven marketing strategies, you can provide value to both your community members and potential customers.
Building a brand community online is a worthwhile investment
Brands today understand that it is challenging, if not impossible, to compete solely on factors such as price, variety of products, or advertising strength, as it was in the past. They realize that there will always be another brand that is willing to offer lower prices or invest more in advertising. This is why they prioritize building an online brand community, which is unique and cannot be easily duplicated by competitors.