Building a Community
Building a community stems from helping your customers (a.k.a your evangelists/future evangelists) feel seen and heard. When you are part of a community you are part of more than just part of a group. When you are a part of a community, you often feel a sense of loyalty and kinship to something of meaningful and relevant.
So where do you start with building a community? Begin by being accessible. Work on your SEO and public facing digital identities so that your business is easy to find. Refer to the last section for setting up your social accounts and try to maintain similar handles across platforms that connect to your business name and URL. Another part of being accessible is being easy to reach on those different channels. Strive to respond quickly to questions and engage regularly with your people.
With all of the communication you have with your growing community, remember to not lose your human touch. While chat automations and nurture flows certainly have their places when you scale, try to continuously have meaningful conversations with your community both on- and off-line. User-generated content is the most powerful testimonial you can have. By talking with your community, you can get a pulse on experiences which can be shared down the line. These personal customer experiences are very effective in breaking down barriers and cultivating trust.
One of the most important parts of building a community is understanding your why. Take Apple for example—though Apple undoubtedly creates great products that are adopted globally, their cult-like community of Apple evangelists stems from Apple’s strategic distillment of brand and meaning through so many customer touchpoints and interactions. Apple’s content, social groups, PR, marketing, and other community-building initiatives have inspired a community that wholeheartedly adopts and associates with Apples “Think Differently,” mantra and reason for being.
There are countless other examples of businesses who understood their why and helped inspire brands that evolve into lifestyles and identities. Just to name a few, Lululemon, Disney, Starbucks, Lego, Xbox, and Harley Davidson are some other powerful brand communities worth understanding. By learning from some of these iconic communities, you can see some of the programs, language, and strategy that might inspire some ideas for what you can do for your own growing community.