Beyoncé has The Beyhive. Lady Gaga has Little Monsters. What does your brand have? Online communities are crucial to an ecommerce business’ success but fostering that community takes strategy.
You can’t ask someone to follow your brand and become a loyal customer, you must build trust. Content marketing is one of the best ways to foster your online community and build a brand voice that pulls customers in. Here are our top four ways to build your own online community.
Leverage Loyal Customers
Use your core group of customers to help build your online community. These are the fans that engage with you on social media, receive your newsletters, and review your products. They know your brand and the voice. Launch a campaign that engages these customers to invite them to be a part of your community. Use incentives to gain traction, like discounts or early product release information.
- The goals of your campaign should be to:
- Increase brand awareness
- Have fans share your social content
- Boost engagement with fans on social media
- Increase comments on your blog
- Increase positive product reviews
The customers who are familiar with and trust your brand will be more likely to help you complete these tasks.
Create Valuable (and Shareable) Content
To keep loyal customers engaged and to grab the attention of prospects, your content must be valuable. Follow the 80 / 20 rule: 80 percent of your content is information your customers can use but doesn’t include a brand promotion. The other 20 percent is your brand promotion through contests, product launches, how to videos and more.
When you aim to create content that adds value to your customer’s lives, follow a few basic content rules:
When your content is interesting and engaging, your community will continue to return. Check out a few tips to keep your content fresh.
Keep The Community Tight-Knit
One element online communities share – despite differences or distance – is a closeness and natural protectiveness. Your community members won’t to feel like they belong. Create welcoming content that will keep user engaged through:
- Colorful imagery
- Consistent brand voice
- Relevant message
If you need an example, check out Zappos: Beyond The Box blog. The uber-popular ecommerce business is known for its superb customer service and hassle-free return policy, and the blog falls right in line with that laid back tone. You won’t find many blogs at all about shoes, but what you will find are easy-to-read pieces that uplift and inspire.
Find Your People
Where are your target customers hanging out online? Find Facebook groups and other pages where you can engage with future customers in a helpful, not a hard-sell, kind of way. When you find groups of interest:
- Answer their questions
- Comment on their content
- Like, share, or retweet their updates
- Leave links to your website (rarely and when appropriate)
If you want customers to engage with you and fall into your online community, you must show you’re willing to engage not just push out info.
Once you have your community in place, listen to their feedback. Your online community will continue to grow if you value their input and reward their loyalty