How To Build Brand Community Online

Wondering how to build a successful online community for your brand? We'll explain why it's an important part of building brand awareness and share some ideas to get you started.

On This Page
  1. What is community?
  2. Why building brand community online is important
  3. How to build a community for your brand
  4. How to build community on social media
  5. Some of the basics
  6. Some ideas to get you started
  7. Post at the right times for optimal reach

Building a community online can be an important, some would consider integral, part of building their brand or profile. 

What is community?

A community is about shared common interests. It could be any interest - fashion, cosmetics, music, travel, film, nature… the list goes on. 

Feeling part of a community builds brand loyalty and trust, and for a brand or business, this is really important to foster. The more customers ‘buy into’ your brand and community, the more chance it will lead to sales.

There are key things you can do, as a social media manager, to foster and grow community. 

Why building brand community online is important

  1. Engagement - regular contact with your brand keeps you top of mind.
  2. Feedback & Market Research - think of social media as a live-barometer for what your customers are thinking about your brand, and wanting more (or less!) of from you. This is powerful when planning strategically and means you can move quickly if you see a shift in consumer demands and requirements.
  3. Trust - you are not a faceless corporation and there are real people behind the brand. It's an opportunity to show your customers you care and that you value your customers. It's also an opportunity to show your followers what's important to you and your brand.
  4. Content Creation - it's a great way to track user generated content, discover new influencers and brand ambassadors, and find inspiration.
  5. Crisis Management - it allows you to talk directly to your customers and address concerns in real time before it escalates.
  6. Competitive Advantage - you can provide a user experience and brand connection that puts you ahead of the rest.
  7. SEO and Traffic - the more active community discussions and content sharing, the better.
  8. Customer Retention - fostering long term relationships with customers improves retention.
  9. Emotional Connection - the more someone feels a part of a brand, the more loyal they will be.

How to build a community for your brand

Building a community doesn’t happen overnight, it takes ongoing effort and commitment. 

It’s about regularly engaging with your followers, making them feel heard, and taking opportunities to celebrate them.

There are plenty of ways to build community on social media, especially with all the fun and engaging features that each app offers. 

Ideally you’ll want to get familiar with each app, then pick and choose those features that are most ‘on-brand’, to then put your own spin on. 

Lastly, allowing your customers to interact with you or your brand, makes them feel included - which is really important for building community. 

How to build community on social media

There are different ways you can build community on social media, and it can be good to experiment with the features in each app.

You’ll learn what your followers enjoy most through experimentation. Have fun with it and see what resonates most. 

You might want to try out every new feature as soon as it comes out, especially if your brand is trend-driven. 

Or you can pick and choose those features that feel most authentic. 

It really depends on what you are trying to achieve, as a brand or business. 

It’s also important to consider your brand values. Do you value creativity, self-expression and inclusivity? That should always be at the backbone of everything you do in marketing, including what you do in online. 

Some of the basics

These are 101’s, and the value of doing this is not be underestimated if you are trying to build a brand community online. 

  1. First and foremost, it’s about interacting with your customers. This means liking and replying to DM's and comments. Ideally in real-time to keep the conversation going, because that’s what it is - a conversation. You can also go through your tagged posts, and like and add a comment.
  2. Regularly share user content (UGC), eg. sharing Posts and Stories to Instagram Stories. Or share a response to your content and adding something to it - turn it into a standalone Story or Post. This is not only important social-proofing, it not only makes your customers feel heard, but a part of your business. 
  3. Don’t forget that you can share content across multiple platforms too, perhaps you find a fun video on TikTok that you've been tagged in, you could reach out and ask permission to repost on multiple platforms that support video.

Note: this isn’t a blanket rule, perhaps using UGC doesn't align with your social media strategy. Or perhaps you reply on paid influencer content instead of UGC, or stick to your campaign imagery only. 

Some ideas to get you started

If you're not sure where to start, we've got you! Here are a few ideas to get you started. As we said - pick and choose ones that feel most relevant for your customers.

  1. Repost UGC (User Generated Content). People love seeing ‘real people’ being reposted. You can do this on the feed, in Stories, or get creative and make a collage showing multiple customers - just make sure to get permission and always give credit. 
  2. Want to get your customers’ feedback on a new product or idea? Do a ‘Poll’ post (this can be done in multiple apps). It’s really valuable getting direct feedback from customers.
  3. You could also do a ‘question’ post. Maybe you want your customer to feel involved by asking their input - customers love feeling heard. 
  4. Or ask questions in captions to encourage conversation in the comments, make sure to reply in real time to encourage conversations. (Note: it might take time out of your day, but it will pay off).
  5. Going ‘Live’ - you could do this to make an announcement, or cover an event in real-time, or offer a tutorial. You could invite key experts to join you in the Live. Don’t forget to promote the Live well ahead so people can set an alert and don’t miss out. 
  6. Start a hashtag and encourage users to use it to be featured. Maybe you could promote that using the hashtag could get you reposted. This can be useful when you’re in the early days while you’re still brand-building, and is way to show your customers what sort of people are buying your products. 
  7. Giveaways - reward your customers when you hit milestones, or to celebrate a new release. Make entry easy, perhaps tag a friend in the comments (bonus - your post will get seen by more people). 
  8. Keep it real - followers like getting insights into what happens behind the scenes. Share your wins and milestones, share content behind the scenes that shows what happens day to day. You could showcase your employees in fun ways that are authentic to the brand. 
  9. Share tutorials and how-to’s. Become the go-to, educate your customers on how to best use your products, and show them how be their best selves. 
  10. Start an online group where customers can meet new people and get additional content. 
  11. Create a rewards program to give back to your most loyal customers - it could be as simple as a online discount code for their birthday, or once they spend a certain dollar figure.
  12. Give further insight into your business by using things like the ‘Add Yours Music' sticker in Instagram Stories, to share your mood or a song you're currently listening to.

There are so many more ways to engage with your customers, this is just to get you started if you’re stuck for ideas. Once you learn what your customers like and respond best to, you’ll know what to do more of and what to lean in to. And try keep it fresh and exciting, don’t be scared to try new things. Some may not work, but others will. 

Post at the right times for optimal reach

And make sure you’re posting at the right times to reach more of your followers. Learn more about the best times to post on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and more on our blog. 

For more social media tips, check out the Pallyy blog.

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