Having communities for your business is not a new thing. And we are all pretty familiar with the added benefits that such communities have on businesses.
That being said, having communities for your business is a two-pronged approach. First, you have to identify the community and build it. Last week we got to understand the benefits of having communities for your business and specifically, how you can build one.
In this week’s article, we will take you through the second part: what you can do to grow and maintain your community.
1. Create a community hub
When you have built a community, you need to think of creating a space catered exclusively for your community so they can feel a sense of belonging.
Create a central hub where you can share resources and information which can add value to your community. Many companies have successfully maintained and grown their communities by creating blog sites where they share their content marketing resources based on the conversations which their communities have.
You will be surprised as to how helpful blog sites can be in reaching out to your community and potential new members as well.
Blog sites serve as a platform where your community can access information and resources related to values and common interests they have. Your community would keep coming back to this hub because they know this is the place where they can receive takeaways, and add-value to. And it is also a way for you to reach out to more like-minded individuals when they chance upon your content.
In order to celebrate their community of empowered women as well, they started their Boss Babes Interview series which features interviews and insights shared by female entrepreneurs. So not only does their content cater to the needs of their community, they also show true dedication to the values of motivation, empowerment and confidence which are important values their community members have.
Posting relevant articles on such blog sites also drives conversation within the community. How so?
When you publish an article which provides a valuable takeaway or perspective towards your community, you can take an extra step to add a comments section for each article.
GymShark has a community of active men and women who are advocates of healthy and active lifestyles. They have been sharing articles on common topics of having a healthy lifestyle like tips, tutorials and exercises in their blog site.
And in each article, there is a comments section where their community has opportunities to converse with one another.
By using their blog as a central hub, Gymshark makes it a lot easier for new and returning customers to be part of their community by simply providing them with a platform of not only resources, but also conversations.
Simple, yet effective.
2. Explore using cross-channel platforms
In our previous article, we shared about the importance of selecting the right community platforms in order to engage your community. This is an add-on that allows you to explore the idea of cross-channel platforms.
Cross-channel platforms simply means using more than one platform to reach out to your target audience, or for this case, your community.
We are starting to see the creation of more social media apps and platforms in this digital landscape like Tik Tok and Clubhouse. And with that, we start to see many people using different platforms to keep themselves engaged.
So besides sticking to one platform like your community website or forum, you can go the extra mile to keep up with the trends that your community members are following. Think about how other platforms can further reach out and engage your community. Maybe you can create a phone app so that your community can be reached with just a tap on their phones.
If you have a community of young adults who love watching Tik Tok videos, create a Tik Tok account and start posting there. If you have a community of working adults who are avid readers, create an app where they can access and read books easily.
Okay, let’s take a look at Tupperware.
During our Potato Connect session, Kartik Khare from Tupperware shared that their company has always maintained a strong community of consultants who primarily reach out to Tupperware’s customers using Word-Of-Mouth (WOM) Marketing methods . Their community consists of predominantly females who are not as tech conservant as many.
Tupperware figured that it would be helpful if there was an app of resources which their community of consultants can access.
Hence, they explored the concept of cross-channel platforms by introducing the TuppSocial app to grow their customer base. The app is a platform where their community of consultants can easily access marketing collateral to reach out to more customers when hosting their Tupperware parties. It makes it more convenient and effortless for their community to use their resources to help expand their customer base.
3. Start ambassadorial programs
Having ambassador programs can empower members to take a more active role in the community, by giving them the chance to step up.
Let’s dive in straight by taking a look at how Lululemon has successfully created an ambassador program for their community.
Lululemon's brand community is built around empowering people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. And to further empower their customers, they started their ambassadorial programme. People can join the community by reaching out to an ambassador for help and advice, or they can be ambassadors themselves.
This aids in growing the community of like-minded individuals who all have the same goal of empowering people to have an active lifestyle. It also allows the community to work hand in hand with the company employees in organising events and workshops to attract more customers.
Such activities not only uphold the community’s value of having an active and healthy lifestyle, but it also gives the community the chance to gather, but it also keeps them engaged and ensures brand loyalty.
On the side note, it also helps with Lululemon’s business of selling their products and sportswear.
4. Converse frequently with your community
If you have a website or social media platform where you can reach out to your community, make full use of it. You can start by being responsive and participate in conversations your community members have.
How do you get yourself involved? If you notice that within the community there are unanswered questions, you can respond to their questions online. You can also interact with them by liking and sharing their posts about the company if possible too. This will make your community and customers feel seen and heard.
5. Keep up with the trends
Keeping up with your community (not the Kardashians) is vital in maintaining and growing your community. To continuously share relevant content with your community, you can get your community involved in the process.
Reach out to your community and ask them questions like “What are some up and coming trends which you have been following?” or “What are some features that you want to see more in our products?”.
This is a good tactic as you are getting feedback directly from the people whom you are targeting. And since these people are individuals who are most passionate and engaged in your community, their responses would certainly be honest and authentic.
You can create conversations on social media and get the community to share their thoughts about it too. Gymshark leverages social media affordances like the poll features to understand their community better and get their community to converse amongst themselves more.
Besides asking, you can also observe the conversations which your members are having in their platforms to know what are some trending topics which they are interested in.
It takes time and effort
They say it takes a village to raise a kid.
Well, it doesn’t take a village to build and maintain a community, but it does take time and effort.
Different businesses have their own unique communities. In order to engage, maintain and grow your community, some active steps need to be taken. You need to interact with your community and keep them updated with value-adding content. You can also explore using other outreach platforms so that you can continue to create new and exciting content to engage your community.