A branded community has the potential to be a great sales tool, but probably won’t be if you fill it with sales messages and try to force members into a particular action or behaviour. A rewards system is a common characteristic of successful brand communities, and the gamification of the community membership with badges and symbols can be an effective strategy. 15th January, 2015 Join the discussion » 3 comments . These people are devotees. Who, the brand of course has a forum for already. Lego Ideas … If your community is more high-end, you could even send out a welcome pack with branded goodies - this is something B2C brands do with bloggers all the time. A household name all over the world, it’s spawned a global franchise consisting of movies, video games, and Legoland amusement parks. Don’t forget, the members of any brand community are not just consumers; they are people too. These individuals have to have a minimum Gamescore and an active Xbox Live … No matter how they’re are made, the purpose of these connections is to build the relationships that will form your brand community. Combining these two types of engagement is what separates ok brand communities from the great ones. There may well already be communities online discussing your product or service, and identifying the key drivers of conversations, any shared themes or topics, and any influential individuals could be incredibly helpful when defining your community strategy. Essentially, this comes down to delivering on what you have promised, offering value to the community, and rewarding members for their involvement. how social media listening tools can help you understand your audience. Putting all three community attributes to work can seem like a daunting task. In the age of social media, a successful brand community is the holy grail of customer engagement. When someone asks me to define a brand community, I say: If brand community comes from customers being invested in a brand, what does that even mean? Reddit is probably the best example of an online community where members have a direct influence on the success of the group. The important thing is showing members the value in sharing the community so they can’t help but advocate for the community and spread the word any chance they get. Whatever the format, recognising the contributions of members is essential, and can be as simple as tweeting them to say thanks for their participation. For instance, if I never talked to my friends about my work, they’d probably wonder whether it was a great place to work. To accomplish this, brands like inkbox give members something in return for telling others about them, like how they feature tagged social posts and use a referral program to give advocating a financial incentive. To develop this characteristic, listening to your audience is a great starting point. That’s why the strongest communities encourage their members to get engaged in ways that have benefits in the long and short term. Building a sense of belonging and identification can be as simple as welcoming new members to your community. Any brand can do this, and they don’t have to be a social enterprise like MudLOVE to create a desire to belong either. Building emotional connections within your community, Find out how to engage with your customers at every touchpoint and convert them into prospects. There are lots of great brands in the world. The Smile.io Blog © 2020. All Right Reserved. Empowering marketers with powerful resources from our team of creatives, partners, and influencers. hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(103687, '67e27ecf-c0ed-4d33-a9c7-99fa6399976b', {}); The reality is, however, that a brand community is incredibly difficult to get right, and deceptively easy to do badly. By motivating with long-term goals and rewarding for micro-actions along the way, great brand communities like oVertone make engagement with their brand just another part of members’ everyday lives. Customer Advocacy Download our e-guide: "CMO’s Guide: Building an Opt-in Community in the Technology Sector. Learn how value-add marketing and brand communities have the power to connect you to your customers in ways that have an incredible impact on your business. Smaller scale micro-actions, on the other hand, benefit you and your members in the short term to prompt regular and consistent interaction with your community. A successful brand community will feature all three of these relationships, and structuring your community to enable these interactions should be a key part of your engagement strategy. And in case you’re wondering, I talk about Smile, a lot! It’s all about setting the expectations for group members, both of how they should interact with the community, and of how the community will act towards them. The important thing is to establish and communicate clear value, like this example from MudLOVE. Members of the community can upvote or downvote any content shared on the site, allowing users to influence what is featured most prominently. 3 Great Examples Of Successful Online Communities - CMNTY Blog A dedicated community manager who can spend the time interacting with community members across channels is an invaluable asset. As with any modern marketing campaign, your brand community shouldn’t be siloed to one channel or platform - community happens wherever your customers come into contact with your brand, so these principles should extend to every touchpoint with your audience. That’s why oVertone and other strong communities keep the desire to engage high with small but frequent motivation bursts, rewarding not just for purchases but for actions like reviews and social media interaction too. It works for Xbox because this is a brand (and an industry) that tends to have customers that are much more than your average enthusiast. They’ve built their community around the vision of inspiring others and providing clean water to those in need. In this case, investing comes in the form of the emotional connections made when customers put their money, time, and interest in more than just a simple purchase. This gives members of the Reddit community a vested interest in coming back to the site and engaging on a regular basis. Membership is the first element in building a sense of community, and McMillan and Chavis break it down into five attributes: boundaries, emotional safety, a sense of belonging and identification, personal investment, and a common symbol system. There’s a great quote from McMillan and Chavis which summarises this: “People who acknowledge that others' needs, values, and opinions matter to them are often the most influential group members, while those who always push to influence, try to dominate others, and ignore the wishes and opinions of others are often the least powerful members”. An active, engaged brand com­mu­ni­ty can dri­ve inno­va­tion and increase rev­enues and cus­tomer loy­al­ty. At their pinnacle, customers, prospects and partners come together organically to share their knowledge of and passion for a brand or product, resulting in a band of advocates that can be far more powerful and influential than any corporate marketing activity. Not just anyone can be an Xbox Ambassador. It’s not that a brand’s success inspires these customers to rally around them though. All too often, a “brand community” is conceived as a marketing campaign, or a sales tool, centred around nothing more than a hashtag. In a world where the line between B2C and B2B is becoming increasingly blurred, marketers need to commit to personalisation and customer-centricity to compete in a noisy online environment. The best way to get members to invest in your community is simply to encourage them - ensure they are aware of all the different ways they can get involved, and remind them to engage on a regular basis. This characteristic is one of the most important for branded communities - Susan Fournier and Lara Lee explain that “A community-based brand builds loyalty not by driving sales transactions but by helping people meet their needs.”.

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