Have you ever felt close to a stranger? Or has it ever happened that you have changed your decision to buy a particular product just because the review was bad! Well, that sense of security and trust arises from the commonality and shared interest that you might have with that person and when many such people come together for a shared agenda, they become a part of a community.
During the “Pre-Digital Age” few of the major businesses that managed to capitalize on a community were small enterprises like shops and local markets, but with the onset of the digital age, need for physical proximity for building a community has vastly reduced. The aspect of digital communities has managed to connect people of different cultures and thought processes to one another through their shared interests, which has become an excessively important way of indirect marketing for various companies.
Importance of creating trust in consumers
Building a community has become increasingly important and the reason is that today’s consumer has come in the front foot and has an understanding and a particular requirement of what exactly he or she might need or want. In such a situation creating a need in the market for your product becomes difficult and therefore companies have started relying more on the power of word of mouth or referrals as a powerful marketing method. Many companies today have a strong community of people using their product as a part of their daily routine without even realising it.
Building a safe space for users
Various startups these days have started to build their own community platforms wherein the members who have shared interests can get together and talk about common topics.
The two biggest examples of such platforms are Nykaa and BabyChakra – both are women-centric communities. Nykaa is a cosmetic and beauty product marketplace built their community after their consumer base was strongly established, to make sure that the retention of a particular customer remains even after the sale is done. On the other hand, BabyChakra is a parenting portal that first managed to build a strong user base of mothers who regularly came to use the product for parenting advice and other services and then the company launched its product marketplace which became a big hit amongst the regular users and managed to bring in new customers as well.
Neha Aggarwal who is working as a Community Manager for Quora India said that talking about companies like Slack, Fitbit, Udemy, Quora, Etsy and many more, their common factor for success is that they have been able to build a “Genuine Community” around their brand.
Being a community builder herself the biggest advantage of creating a community according to her is that it’s a huge opportunity to build your brand’s “Advocates/Evangelists” which leads to high rate of retention, build an immense amount of trust and helps differentiate you from your competitors. Your brand ends up getting a “personality” of its “own”!
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Creating Brand Advocates
Building a community means creating an ecosystem with the relevant stakeholders, following that ideology myHQ is building a community of entrepreneurs, freelancing digital marketers, designers and bloggers etc. who believe in breaking the barriers of 9-5 cubicle life and doing things in an unconventional way. The behavioural shift that we are trying to bring has been sprouted with the fact that we have let our customers be our brand advocates and have let them make their own opinions because of a simple fact that each and every consumer these days are leaders of their market.
Building a user base is easy but making sure that the user base becomes your loyal consumers and sticks with only your product is the main ordeal.
Building a community is like growing a plant, it needs a lot of care and constant attention:
Planting the seed
This is the main foundation phase of your community wherein you give your users a platform where they can thrive. It is essential to bring in key influencers that can help your customers connect and gives them a solid reason to join the community.
Nurturing the plant
You have to provide your users with some value prop every time to maintain the engagement. This can either be achieved by rewarding or acknowledging your users through a simple post. Rewarding those who regularly engage with your brand is a great way to show your customers how much you value their loyalty and membership in your community.
Taking constant care
To ensure retention in your community you have to make sure that you maintain a physical presence. Incorporate offline events and gatherings so that your online community can meet each other in real life. It makes people excited, gives them something to look forward to and helps your community build bonds.
Another aspect that a community builder needs to be extremely careful about is the type of audience that is being targeted, it needs to be exceedingly curated, appropriate and in accordance with the brand or product. Hence we can sufficiently say that in today’s consumer-centric economy building a community of people who are loyal to your product has become extremely important to maintain the upkeep of your sales.
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