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Monday, May 30, 2011

Tips for Nurturing a Brand Community

The idea of a brand community existed even before the internet was invented but it has only gained importance and prominence with the continuing development of the internet most specifically the growth of social media sites like blogs, social bookmarking sites, social networking sites, and online forums and chat rooms. Today, building and managing brand communities has become a very important segment in the marketing industry.  In this age where millions of people are logging in online every single day to meet and converse with other people who share their ideas, the products they use, the hobbies they like, etc., communities grow out of these meetings and conversations. This is where you as a business owner comes in and try to take advantage of these communities not only for the benefit of your business but for the community as well.

Here are some tips on how you can build, maintain, and effectively nurture a brand community:

  1. Pay utmost attention to the needs and wants of your customers. A lot of companies and businesses make the mistake of focusing their attention on how they can get more people to join their communities instead of focusing on providing for the needs and wants of those who already joined. Give to your existing customers what they need and they'll do the recruiting for your brand community.
  2. Allow peer to peer communication. A brand community isn't just about you conversing with your customers. Most importantly, it should be about the customers conversing with the other customers. Relationships should exist between customers and between you and the customers. The keyword here is open interaction. A customer should be able to interact with another customer as much as he can interact with the brand.
  3. A brand community can be built on any type of business, no matter how small the business. Don't think that brand communities are only for huge and major companies. Do you own a small town diner? No problem. An effective brand community can still be built around it. Who knows, because of your brand community, your small diner could grow into a network of diners. Never underestimate the power of these communities.
  4. Make it easy for people to create content about your brand and make it even easier for them to share such content. Take advantage of the popularity of social media sites like blogs, social bookmarking sites and online forums. And don't forget to create platforms in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter where your community can connect and converse with each other.
  5. Nurture open exchanges and conversations. Don't try to over-moderate your community. The main purpose of people in joining communities is to communicate and interact. So the act of overly moderating a community is contrary to what brand communities are about. Moderate only when it's necessary.
  6. Participate in the community. Don't just be a bystander looking into the conversations. Be active and show your customers that you care about what they think and what they're saying about your brand.
Always keep in mind these tips when building and nurturing your brand community.

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