Customer relationships are valuable and vital for businesses to succeed – built on the connections and engagement between the brand and its customers. Consequently, brand communities are developed and comprised of like-minded customers who share similar values and interests with the brand and identify themselves with the brand.
Brand communities empower customers by setting the stage for customers to voice their opinions, provide feedback, generate content, exchange ideas, and share their experiences about the brand. Moreover, customers feel inspired and motivated to become brand advocates, loyal customers who love, support, and promote the brand, services, and products, share brand values, and influence and encourage others to do the same.
Brand advocates are a critical resource for businesses because they help maximize the brand’s potential to improve sales and increase growth, exposure, and reach to a grander scale of customers effectively through various social media channels. For instance, according to H. Tankovska’s Statista 2021 article about brands on social media, in the U.S., 36% of consumers on social media follow companies and brands using Instagram based on a recent survey; in 2020, Instagram’s shares increased 67%, positioning the social media channel as a powerful and significant source of brand advocacy.
Brand Community Benefits
Increases Brand Credibility and Exposure:
Brand communities enable the promotion of brands that develop brand credibility by exposing the brand on social media to the extent where customers can trust the brand because of its active presence in the community and social proof. According to Dominique Jackson’s Sprout Blog article about social proof and psychology to boost conversions, social proof reflects the belief that people tend to follow the majority’s actions because it is perceived as a correct behavior since many people are following suit and conform to the majority decision or viewpoint.
Increases Brand Loyalty:
Brand communities provide customers with an environment that creates a sense of belonging that inspires them to become a part of and invest in the brand, encouraging and increasing repeated purchases or sales and customer lifetime value.
Enhances Customer Relationships and Improves Customer Retention:
Businesses gain insights from customers and various touchpoints in their customer journey to improve their experiences, customer satisfaction, repeated purchases, and keep customers coming back. Brand communities enable businesses to nurture customer relationships by providing a platform where customers can have a voice, connect with the brand, and share ideas, feedback, experiences, and interactions with the brand throughout the customer journey and after making their purchases.
For instance, Apple, a multinational technology company that designs and develops electronics and software, provides its customers, in addition to innovative products, quality, and support, Apple Support Community, a platform, or place where customers connect, communicate, help each other, and share their interactions and experiences with the brand and its products. Furthermore, Apple Support Communities promotes customer engagement by enabling its customers to share generated content and feedback and find answers to questions or issues about their Apple product. Customers can feel confident and trust the information they obtain from the community because the user-generated content is genuine and authentic from Apple users such as themselves who have had a relatable experience.
Identify the brand’s values, vision, and archetype to describe the brand image and what it is all about and represents. Customers will acquire a better understanding and more profound meaning about the brand.
Establish a platform or place to build the brand community where customers can experience a sense of belonging, connect, interact, communicate, and engage with the brand.
Nurture customer relationships and create conversations by providing customers with reasons to engage with the brand community actively.
Leverage brand communities to achieve business goals and objectives through product research, customer feedback, and customer insights to increase sales, reinforce and remind customers about the brand, and provide them with benefits that satisfy their needs and want.
Brand communities help businesses provide an honest, authentic, and relatable experience that connects the brand with its customers. Fostering brand communities through social media keeps brands relevant and present in the minds, hearts, and voices of those it matters most – its valuable customers.
Social Media Advocacy: How to Build a Brand Advocate Program. Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard. (2020, July 17). https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-advocacy-brand-advocate/.
Social Proof: How to Use Marketing Psychology to Boost Conversions. Sprout Social. (2020, April 16). https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-proof/.
Tankovska, H. (n.d.). Topic: Brands on social media. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/2057/brands-on-social-media/.
User profile for user: Phil0124, et al. “Apple Support Communities.” Official Apple Support Community, discussions.apple.com/welcome.
By Natalie Simpson | NatYourOrdinary.com
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