Building a Brand Community? Cast a Wide Net.
This guest post comes from Sarah Robinson, author of the Amazon bestseller, “Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities.”
I get the panic calls. They usually go something like this:
“Can you help me? My boss has charged me with building some kind of community around our brand that increases engagement with our customers and our prospective customers. I have NO idea where to start and he expects to see my plan on Monday.”
I wish I could say these calls were few and far between. Sadly, they are all too common. Every company out there knows that building a brand community is THE hottest marketing trend right now. And they know they need to have one.
What they don’t know is how to build one that is successful.
The good news is that I can help with that. I’m not going to dig into the entire Fierce Loyalty model in this post. Instead, I want to focus on one particular element of the model that can significantly change the size, the reach and the impact your community achieves.
Cast a Wide Net
So often, I see companies take the “If we build it, they will come” approach to community building. The thinking is that because the community exists, customers and prospects will a) find it and b) participate in it. If only it were that simple.
The better strategy is to cast a wide net before you ever build anything.
Actively seek out those who are already talking about you or talking about the market segment you are in. Don’t eliminate anyone at this early stage of the game. Find as many people as you can. Engage in the conversations they are already having. (
Please note: I didn’t say hijack the conversations they are already having.)
Observe, pay attention, offer up helpful, useful information when It makes sense.
This will allow you to accomplish several important tasks:
1) Have a solid understanding of what matters to potential community members.
2) Know what these potential members want and need from you.
3) Be able to design a community that is specifically for them.
BONUS: You will have a large number of people to invite to your community.
So if you are in a panic about your community, or if you are just disappointed in the lackluster results, start casting a wider net. You and the community you build will be much stronger and much more successful as a result.
I’d love hear about your challenges and successes around building a community for your brand. Please share them in the comments below!
Sarah Robinson is President and CEO of Sarah Robinson Co. She is a seasoned business coach, strategist, advisor and speaker who helps business owners set their companies apart from the pack. Her newly released book, Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities, is available here
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