Strong brand loyalty is that elusive business situation which translates into customers continually supporting the company, choosing it over competitors and evangelizing it to their own network. It can be seen as the true test of a company’s success.
Building brand loyalty is ambiguous and measuring it is difficult. Only one thing is certain: you must begin by establishing a real connection with your customers. They should see your company as an engaging persona they identify with.
One way businesses are establishing strong communication channels with customers is by creating brand communities. In today’s digital world, B2C as well as B2B firms are carving out online spaces where audiences stay updated and exchange ideas regarding the company.
Let's start with the basics:
**Walk in their shoes... watch a 'Day In the Life' of a Community Member
The digital community manager is responsible for inviting users to the community as well as coordinating any in-person interactions to complement the digital sphere. It is up to the manager to grow membership within the ecosystem until critical mass is achieved, at which point the community will drive itself.
Even after critical mass is achieved, it’s hard to demonstrate ROI. In order to create measurable results, managers need the right tools to effectively influence and gauge community engagement.
Some of the best solutions are mobile platforms that provide on-the-go access to content, news and trends that make up a community's objectives.
To see an example, watch this video:
From CMX: Checking the Health of Your Community
As any community manager worth their salt knows, brand communities can take many different forms, but they all center around customer communication and relationship management. That is why the core communication functionality must be seamless.
Community software needs to serve a digital hub across several community needs: product or brand awareness, invitations to live events, educational resources, exclusive insights, extensive informational content, and much more.
When it comes to community engagement the #1 way to pull users back in is via timely, relevant communications, and depending on the platform, even personalized notifications.
Community software has outgrown it's former self and is evolving beyond wikis, intranets and even forums. These are all stagnant views of online community management.
The future of community software is here:
When it comes to online communities, what does "engagement" mean and why does it matter?
Engagement is a broad term that refers to genuine, transparent communication with customers and employees. It means responding to questions in a human way, which elicits further dialogue.
Social engagement is at the heart of your online brand community. Community managers who succeed in this realm incorporate real-time streaming social feeds, enable additional channels for social interaction, and have a well-defined system in place for "listening" to audience feedback and responding quickly. Yes, you've guessed it; that system must include the right tech solutions.
Read more here:
We've noted that social engagement is at the heart of all brand communities. But did you know user-generated content produces the highest customer engagement rates?
This is because customer (and employee) voices are genuine and relatable. This applies to both the B2C and B2B industries, where often, the best stories or use cases come from the users and community members themselves.
Here are some insights for incorporating UGC into your online community:
We recommend this article for some great examples of UGC campaigns in action:
Companies of all types, including big players in the online social space like LinkedIn and Quora, are beginning to focus on online communities. We've prepared a resource illustrating different niche digital communities and why established platforms such as Facebook have reason to fear:
"I've always said that a great community is about technology, content and strategy. Right now we're seeing online brand communities flourish."
Leon Papkoff CEO, The CXApp