How to develop a successful online community for every brand

How to develop a successful online community for every brand

What is an online community?

An online community is a group of people that interact with each other on an online platform. Developing an online community for your brand can be very important.

The most popular platforms for online communities are the social media platforms. They usually provide free space to develop an online community.

This can be a 10 people group on WhatsApp, a private Facebook group, or the 1+ billion-people Instagram community.

There’s a huge range in how an online community can scale. The first step to a successful one is finding the best type for your brand.

Applying social psychology

Developing an online community for a brand

In the article, I Am Not Alone in My Struggle, Kristin M. Schramer, and Kathryn D. Lafreniere, explore the effect of online communities on health-related issues.

“There is evidence that members of online communities develop a Sense of Virtual Community (SOVC) similarly to face-to-face (FTF) communities in line with the four dimensions of Sense of Community proposed by McMillan and Chavis (1986), which include: membership, influence, integration, and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection.”

According to research, members of online communities tend to feel more informed and supported.

Online communities can help change people’s behaviors. Simply, by addressing their psychological needs. Like the need to fit in or the need to impress others.

Most people are willing to change their attitudes to fit in the community standards and expectations. Belonging to certain communities can also make individuals feel more confident. An important factor in decision making and behavioral change.

Aligning Community with brand

Developing an online community for a brand

Your community is an extension of your brand and it should feel that way to the members.

In a branded online community it’s like inviting your customers into your ecosystem. If your community disappoints this will reflect back to your brand, and vice versa.

This is why it’s essential to provide the product or the services as promised. Customer loyalty depends on the value delivered.

An online community is an excellent opportunity to learn. Listening to your members can help you improve and adjust accordingly.

Online communities go beyond the Marketing department. They affect decision making in other departments such as the Technical team and Customer Service. Both very valuable departments for every brand.

Creating brand royalty

In this Harvard Business Review article on Getting Brand Communities Right, they talk about building brand loyalty. Not by driving sales transactions, but by helping people meet their needs.

Not only by providing good value products or services but also by offering access to information and support.

Through online communities, a brand can increase member satisfaction by developing different engagement systems.

This can be achieved when you give your members a voice, reward them, or simply recognize their contribution.

Customers that are loyal to your brand produce organic growth. Simply by advocating for it.

How online communities help brands grow?

Developing an online community will help:

Increase brand awareness

Build trust between the brand and the customer

Develop personal connection with current customers

Make prospective customers

Innovate products

Collect feedback

Improve performance

Reduce support costs

Get more sales

Overall, level up the customer value journey. 

How to measure success?

Developing an online community for a brand

You can test your community’s performance by measuring the following:

  1. Sign up rate
  2. Engagement rate
  3. Click-through rate
  4. Conversion rate

This will help you evaluate its growth. Once you’ve developed your community, you can start asking other metric questions.

Click here to see The Most Successful Online Communities.

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