Building a Community Around Brands

At Digital Industry Females earlier this month, run by Sam Noble,  there was a great presentation by Lisa Share  about how to build a community around brands.

In today’s marketing and social media world, it is important to have a community for your brand or product.  A community means bringing together individuals around a common interest and it is how people relate to you and your brand. Lisa shared a few tips on how to build a community around brands:

Building a Community Around Brands

1. Find a Community and Take Part

Look at the top referring sites to your site in Google analytics.  Then search any of the social networking sites to find out which ones are talking about your brand.  If your business is not on Facebook but is getting a lot of referrals from Facebook, then it may be time to set up your own business page. Also check out the hastags that are floating around.  But remember, a community is not just about setting up Twitter account and a Facebook page.

Another way to find out what is happening in the social media landscape, is to use social alerts.  It will give you clues and pointers here and how to set up your community.  Use Topsy to find out what is being said and when.  You can also use the Google Keyword tool.

2. A lot of brand, no community

Identify the common interest for the community.  See what your competitors are doing, would you want to compete with them? It is important to be in the place you want to be in and not just be there because of your competitors.

3. Where your brand hangs out

Find out where those who talk about your brand spend their time online.  Make a note of these sites and refer to them when necessary.  When you do engage with those who talk about your brand, make sure you add value to the conversations within the group.  Do not try and always talk about your brand or try and control the community.  The others in this group will not appreciate it and it can have a detrimental effect on your brand.

Attendees of Digital Industry Females

4. Wait – before you dive in

Write a bucket list of all the content you want to create for your brand.  At the same time, decide on around one to three different KPIs for “success” for when you have built the community.

You must be flexible with the different types of content, and it is important not to be focused on infographics for example.  Try something new each week, but make sure the key stakeholders are involved.  It is important to get buy in from them. Be confident with your ideas, no one is going to trust the marketing manager if they are not confident in the content strategy. Before you go to the board, get your colleagues to join in, but remember to stick to the 90:10 rule when you have a community.  Spend 90% of your time talking about the community and getting involved, and 10% talking about your brand.

5. What if you have limited resources?

Many companies have limited resources, not everyone has the amount of staff they want due to budget constraints.  In this situation, you need to nominate a community manager.  Select one community as a main focus and keep track of the time spent on this project.  Investigate shared workload, but do not use office interns.  You may think it is something easy the intern can work on but it is important to have someone on board who really knows the brand and will be there for the long term.

6. Update Regularly

Update your community at least once a day.  Respond to any queries from the community members. It is important to have conversations from the brand, otherwise it may show that the brand does not have an interest in the community.

It is also possible to use scheduled updates, this can work well as it means the brand can be present in different time zones at the right time. Do not always push out your own content, you can share others.  Community members will have more respect for brands if they are willing to share the limelight.

7. Quality, not Quantity

In terms of building a community it is important to have members who are really into your brand or product.  You do not want to have a lot of members where only 10% actively engage with your brand.  Review your members regularly and monitor quality of referrals. A way to ensure you have quality members in your group is to set a minimum requirement, for example if setting up an online SEO community, everyone should either work in the field or have an interest in it.

8. Vary the content

It is important to have different content across the Google+, Facebook and Twitter profiles for your brand.  Each platform should have a fresh spin of content on it.  Make sure you create a voice that is memorable.  If there is the same content on all social platforms, then people will only check out the Facebook page for example as there is no reason to look at other social platforms.

9. Partnership

When building the community, think about the potential partnerships.  Approach existing networks and formulate barter deal proposals.  It is important to be tactical around major events.  For example Jack Daniels and Movember teamed up for the cancer fund raising month. You can also ask your own community for suggestions on who to partner with.Parnerships

10. Going global

If you are a multinational company, you may want to have subcommunities in the different countries.  Provide a starter kit so that other members can start their own community. Cancer research is a great example of how they have built many communities around the UK.

Once you have a community, do not stop there.  Continually seek feedback and ideas.  Explore other interests within your brand.  For example if you are a retailer and sell dresses, you can also start talking about a particular designer or accessory group in your community.

The presentation by Lisa Share was very insightful, especially as I have been running Search London for two years.  I am currently looking at opportunities to work abroad and may want to build a new community in my new city.  Dubai is a growing market and I know many people who have moved to the Middle East looking for that new challenge.  There is SEO,PPC and Social media agency called Sekari in Dubai as well as multinational media agencies.  There are also a couple of jobs in Barcelona (yes even though there is a financial crisis) and there are other opportunities in Australia. I shall have an update soon on where my next new challenge will be, watch this space.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *