I was recently interviewed by Fast Company blogger Rich Brooks about building brand communities. It was a continuation of the discussion started at SXSWi. Here’s the resulting article “7 Things Brands Need to Know About Building Community” plus, three more tips here to round it out to a cool ten.
Community is not a campaign.
Brands will often throw together a community up (a Facebook page for example) for the sole purpose of a campaign. When the campaign is over they then wonder why the community is dead and no longer driving traffic all by itself. Community is a long-term commitment that requires ongoing nurturing and promotion.
Define goals that provide value to both the brand and the audience. Then, allow them to evolve with the community.
Do not go into it without a goal that meets both the audience’s needs and the company’s needs. What can you provide to meet your audience’s personal objectives? As a company what do you have to offer them outside of just selling them a product? Define these goals ahead of time. They will evolve as your community evolves, and that’s okay.
Be where your audience is.
Your customers might be Facebookers but they might not be Tweeters. Take an audit of where your customers are and identify where your brand needs to be based on customer behavior. Focus is important in community building.
You can find Rich on Twitter @therichbrooks for more great discussions about digital marketing.