Your business starts with your brand, but the other major part of the equation is your audience. You need to be able to connect with them in a meaningful way on a regular basis. While there are a number of different ways to do this – experiential events, direct marketing campaigns, loyalty programs, etc – we’re going to look at building an online community for your brand.
What is an online community? Well, it can be defined in many different ways, but loosely it is defined as a group of people who interact with each other over the internet (email, websites, messaging, social media, etc.). This group of people will have shared values and a common interest that brings them together – they will come together for a purpose. That purpose can vary depending on the online community. In your case, you want them to come together to interact with and celebrate your brand and what you stand for.
There are two different types of online community:
Shared social communities: You are working on a public platform where you have limited control over the narrative and the data that you can collect. For the most part, social communities are public, however, you can create private groups on Facebook, for example, if you are looking for a more closed community.
Owned/branded communities: This is a dedicated community built by you, housed usually on your website and generally secured by membership. You have more control over the data that you can collect as well as the management of the day to day on the platform.