There is a strategy behind everything.
This is the essence of community building.
Building a community takes time, effort, and thought.
I’ve learned that building an online community for your business is one of the most effective forms of marketing long-term.
To build a community, you must gain support from passionate people about what you do. This, in turn, will help you to grow your business.
But how do you go about doing this?
We are going to provide some ideas that have worked for us at https://meclabs.com/.
#1. Recruit from within
You can find brand ambassadors from within your company. I have found that the best ambassadors are the people who work for me. They demonstrate a sense of pride in their work and want to share it with everyone they know. They will approach you to champion their success. It could be a customer service rep, product manager, engineer, or anybody in the company who has a passion for what they do and wants to share it with others.
#2. Give them a reason
People don’t just want to rave about your brand—they want a reason for doing so. Does your product solve a problem? Is it fashionable? For example, if you give each person who follows you on Twitter a $10 coupon, they’ll be more than happy to tweet about how satisfied they were with your customer service.
#3 Use your brand voice to build trust
This is the most important principle of all. Identifying your company’s voice is the easiest way to build trust. Let’s say you run a small company that sells all-natural dog treats. You live next to a large industrial park, and business cards with your phone number and email address will be less effective than cards with your picture and website on them. By demonstrating your commitment to your mission, people will trust you and become brand ambassadors.
#4 Start Small
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Focus on building relationships with just a few influencers and work at building stronger connections over time. Don’t expect influencers to work for free or help out just because they like your product or brand.
Start by reaching out to blogs and publications you enjoy and would read if it weren’t your own. Then approach these sites about promoting your content and products. Once you get a few bites, start contacting larger blogs and websites to increase your reach and influence.
#5 Educate your customers about the mission of your brand
By demonstrating an earnest passion for your product or service, you’re going to be able to start a conversation about the mission of your business. There’s a fine line between being a cheerleader and a salesman, and you mustn’t cross it. If you’re selling, selling, selling, then people will get annoyed quickly. You want to be selling, sharing your message sincerely with them, and then selling.
#6 Make your customers feel safe – less risk, more trust.
Most consumers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to, but they want to feel safe and trust the businesses they buy from. No matter what you sell, as a brand ambassador, you should be able to spot the difference. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, there are a few things that consumers generally look for when deciding who to spend money with:
- We want products we can trust.
- We want tips and tricks that will make our lives easier.
- We want to feel like we’re part of a community.
The key is to put your customers’ needs first and make them feel like they’ve made the right choice. As you navigate the digital landscape of connecting with your target audience, make sure you’re not only providing top-notch information and education but also helping your clients feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves.
#7 Constantly look for ways to get your customers talking about you more
Your customers are your greatest marketing allies. If they love your brand, they’ll tell their friends and influence the people around them. Every day, for us, is customer appreciation day. But rather than doing things like giving them discounts or free products, we try to make every interaction memorable. For example, when our customers request information about our software or services by emailing us, we respond by handwriting them personalized thank you letters. We also try to get people talking about us on social media. We’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, and we’ll share photos that say “thank you” with our customers — like the one below with one of our new customers in Georgia. What’s important, though, is that no matter what you do for your customers, you have to be consistent. You have to do it every time. The only way you can do that is if you have systems in place.
#8 Pick Something in Line with Their Interests
Pick something that relates to their interests. For example, if they like to cook, maybe you can send them a premium knife? Or if they like to read, maybe you can send them bookmarks or a nice pen. If they have a cat, maybe get them a little treat for their pet?
Side note: Focus on Quality, Not Price. The point of giving your brand ambassadors gifts is to remember you and continue to spread the word about your business. You want to focus on quality, not price
#9 Give people a personal stake in your brand
So how do you go about getting people to care just as much about your brand as you do? You start by making them part of the team. The company has to be, at its core, a great place to work. Brands like Whole Foods Market, Timberland, Patagonia, and Method Products put employees first because they know that attracting and retaining talent is key to their success. You can think of the people who work for your brand as ambassadors who will help tell your story. They can’t do that if they aren’t inspired by the company they work for. The quality of the workplace is an outward expression of your company culture and brand personality.
Creating an Empowered Workforce
Great companies empower their employees to take ownership of the customer experience. Take online retailer Zappos, where walking into any call center feels like visiting a bustling neighborhood store rather than a sterile office cubicle farm.