Customers aren’t enough for business success today. The brands with the highest amounts of loyal customers have tribes. But in order to build a brand community, you first need customers who are deeply invested in your business.
They’ll fight for you, sing your praises to their networks, and go back to your brand for news, updates, and the latest products and services.
One way to strengthen the community around your brand is to use content marketing. In content like blogs, podcasts, infographics, social media posts, videos, and more, you can deepen the emotional connection customers feel with your brand.
Here’s why you should build a brand community and how content marketing can help.
Why brand community matters
In today’s hyper-competitive consumer industry, customers are more selective than ever about who they spend their dollars on. For example, a sustainability-minded customer may research a company’s green initiatives before they decide to purchase from them.
Driving this trend of research-before-purchase are millennials and younger generations like Gen Z. They demand that businesses have values that are in agreement with theirs before they’ll purchase their products or services.
A 2021 Forrester study found 51 percent of Gen Z respondents ages 18 to 23 years old will always research a company to ensure it aligns with their view on corporate social responsibility before they shop from them.
Further, consider what 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture Report revealed.
- 83% of 18-34-year-olds and 73% of 35-54-year-olds agreed with the statement: “It’s important to me that companies I buy from align with my values.”
- 71% of 18-34-year-olds and 61% of 35-54-year-olds agreed with the statement: “I’ll pay more for a product if I know some of the proceeds go to charity.”
- 65% of 18-34-year-olds and 59% of 35-54-year-olds agreed with the statement: “I’ve boycotted a company I’ve previously purchased from because of their stance on an issue.”
- 62% of 18-34-year-olds and 50% of 35-54-year-olds agreed with the statement: “I enjoy buying products that show off my social or political ideology or beliefs.”
These statements directly tie into a sense of community around a brand. They reflect like-mindedness and a sense of relatability. They indicate how inclusive brands are in relation to customers. Shared company values help customers relate to each other.
A strong brand community can also strengthen a business internally. Employees are part of a brand’s community. They can connect with customers and deepen their loyalty to a brand, which increases retention and benefits an employer’s recruiting and hiring efforts.
An engaged brand community can also lead to better innovation and improved products and services. When customers and employees become brand advocates, businesses can more easily grow their customer base. That’s why a content marketing strategy focused on helping you build a brand community is essential.
How to build a brand community with content marketing
It’s easy to see brand community play out in the sports world. Fans of a team engage with other fans (or opponents) on sites like Twitter and Reddit. They advertise their support by wearing team jerseys and hats. The most loyal fans purchase season tickets, so they never miss a game.
Other types of brands can cultivate loyal fan bases, too. A sense of community is great for business. According to a 2020 report by Forbes, companies are 14x more likely to sell to an existing customer than to a new customer. Plus, existing customers are 50 percent more likely to try new products and, on average, spend 31 percent more than new customers.
A business can both use content marketing to generate a stronger sense of community and use their existing community to modify a content marketing plan. When your goal is to build community around your brand, consider using these tips.
1. Feature your community
First thing’s first when it comes to building a community around your brand: Show your community you’re paying attention to them by featuring them in your content.
Like we explained in our post 9 Examples of Effective Content Marketing Campaigns, personal finance company SoFi had a major win by sharing stories of their customers and how they paid off their loans. The campaign centered around customers making that final loan payment, which signaled to current and prospective customers:
- Paying off your SoFi loan is doable.
- There’s a whole community that has your back since they’ve been in the same boat.
- SoFi is in your corner to encourage you and celebrate you along the way.
Make customer spotlights a regular feature in your content marketing plan. Whether it’s a get-to-know-you blog interviewing a customer, or creating graphics featuring customer testimonials to share on social media, there are lots of diverse ways to add some customer-focused content into your plan.
2. Integrate user-generated content into your own
Another way to build a brand community is to enlist your customers as content creators themselves. Think:
- Embedding customer YouTube video reviews into your product pages
- Adding Instagram photos of your customers using your product or service to relevant blogs
- Screenshotting customer tweets and adding them to articles
When you share a piece of content that features a customer’s content, tag the user on social media. They may be more likely to check out the content and share it with their own networks, which can help grow your community.
3. Use your community to inspire your content
If you’ve ever scratched your head and wondered how you’re going to fill up next month’s content calendar, look no further than your very own community. Your current customers are a gold mine for content ideas. Some examples include:
- Address frequently asked questions in blog posts.
- Look at user comments and reviews on product pages. Provide product update content based on what you’re hearing.
- Identify causes your customers are chatting about and create posts about the topic that relates to your company. For example, if your customers are all about #PrideMonth, share a blog that explains why diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts are important for your company.
Peruse your social media followings to find trending topics and hashtags that could inspire content. Pay attention to user reviews and note them when they’re content-worthy.
Ask your customer service team what users talk to them most often about. Use that info to create more relevant content your users will engage with and share.
4. Show off your company culture in content
What makes customers emotionally connected to a brand?
Being able to relate to it. Seeing people who represent it who look like them. Watching a company contribute to causes and nonprofits they care about, too.
This is why humanizing your brand is important. Your employees represent your brand as much as your products or services do.
Showing off the human side of your company starts with leadership on down. According to the 5WPR’s 2020 Consumer Culture Report, 76% of 18-34-year-olds and 66% of 35-54-year-olds agreed with the statement: “I like it when CEOs of companies speak out on issues I care about.”
The following are some ways to humanize your business and build a brand community:
- Feature your executive leadership and other employees in company videos.
- Empower any employee to become a guest blogger or content creator for your company if they want to share their expertise.
- Shoot photos and videos when your team has volunteered, made a donation, or had a wholesome outing together. Share them on social media.
Highlighting your company culture helps you build community and serves as a recruiting tool for top talent. It shows customers your employees are just like them, which makes your brand more relatable.
Build community through content
Like any marketing strategy, your business should know your customers inside and out and address their needs, wants, desires, and pain points through content. In content, you should use a tone and personality that captures user attention and makes leads and customers feel like you know them and care about them.
Content marketing is a fantastic way to serve your customers through education, expertise, and shareable information. The more you pay attention to what makes customers tick, the easier it will be to foster a sense of community about your brand in content marketing.
If your business would like more information on how ClearVoice can build a sense of community for your brand through content, request a consultation today.