How to Build a More Connected Social Community
Want to know the real secret to grow sales and boost customer retention?
Many like to complicate the answer by saying that it is a mix of many factors, including a great product, excellent customer service, and a data-driven targeted marketing strategy, amongst other things.
While all of these factors certainly play an important role in gaining conversions, there is one thing that can ultimately determine whether or not your audience converts into loyal customers.
The real secret here is meaningful engagement based on human connection.
When customers feel an emotional connection to a brand, they tend to spend more and provide a higher and longer customer lifetime value to the business. These customers are also more loyal to the brand and are more likely to recommend it to others.
One of the best ways for businesses to build these emotional connections is through brand communities, particularly on social media. Brand communities show customers that other people love the business or product just as much as they do. It can also be a resource for them to connect with like-minded people or with the brand itself. Plus, one report found that up to 58% of consumers stated that they would spend more if they were part of a brand community.
So, how can you cultivate these kinds of groups in order to engage with your audience and build these profitable social communities?
Let’s dive in.
1. Be Active on Niche Facebook Groups
Although sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter are quickly gaining popularity, Facebook is still the most commonly used social platform worldwide.
Facebook Groups allow followers to talk about a certain topic/industry with each other and build online connections with a community united by a shared interest. It is extremely important here that your brand is active on these pages. According to Sprout Social’s report, 90% of social media users have reached out to a brand through these platforms, but 89% of those messages go unanswered.
Make sure that your marketing team stays on top of any questions, comments, or complaints that are issued on these pages.
If you are seeing a lot of questions or you have a wide variety of audience segments, it may be useful to join niche Facebook Groups for different areas of focus. For instance, say that your company sells health-based products like vitamin supplements and protein powders. Some people may use these products for the health aspects while others are more interested in using them for fitness, weight loss, or muscle gain. You could join or create separate niche Facebook groups for people to hold discussions or ask specific questions, such as recipe ideas or questions about the ingredients in a product.
For instance, the fitness bike brand Peloton has several FB pages that are dedicated to various aspects of fitness and healthy living.
The Peloton Nutrition group discusses diet plans and shares recipes, the Power Zone Pack encourages each other to reach new fitness levels, and there is even a group for Peloton Moms to connect.
2. Share What the Community is Doing
Social proof is an interesting psychological phenomenon that can actually be a powerful marketing tool. According to psychologists, we as humans look to other people to determine how to act or what is acceptable behavior. So, when we see other consumers that are similar to us using a product, then we are more likely to consider buying it as well.
In order to establish social proof, make sure that the majority of your social pages are filled with UGC (user-generated content). Share what your brand community is up to and show their experiences with your product or services. For example, the skin care company Boscia frequently shares UGC posts of customers wearing their facemasks or sharing their skincare routines via Instagram stories.
This really shows consumers what other customers think about the products and establishes social proof.
3. Host Live Q&As
Going live on social channels has been popular for quite some time now – and for good reason. Many brands see high engagement rates from these sessions, as it allows them to share information in real time with their audience.
In order to make the most of these engaging live streams, use them to foster a community by hosting Q&A sessions in which you have real discussions and conversations with your customers. You can collect these questions beforehand using Instagram polls or Facebook and Twitter comments.
With Instagram for instance, you can collect customer submissions with the “Questions” feature and then select which ones you want to discuss during the live video. Some live stream platforms allow customers to submit posts and questions during the stream, too.
4. Ask for Feedback and Suggestions
In order to make a customer feel emotionally connected to your brand, they need to feel like they are important and that your business truly cares about them. Customers want to feel seen and heard, and one of the best ways to do this is by gathering, discussing, and applying feedback directly from your audience.
When customers see that a business is actively reaching out to their customers for suggestions and feedback, it shows that the company truly cares about that community. It also provides your business with great benefits – such as new ideas, suggestions or constructive criticism that can lead to improvements.
You can even use it to guide content marketing strategies or get feedback on any changes like Thinkific did when they asked for honest feedback on their rebrand.
Feeling connected to other people is an important part of the human experience and it is critical that businesses do what they can to create engaged communities.
The key here is authenticity.
Show consumers that they matter to your brand by listening to what they say and engage in conversations. Encourage people to share their opinions and experiences openly and connect with other people who are just like them. Not only will this create a great brand reputation and a group of engaged customers, but it can also have a positive impact on your bottom line, too!