How committed are your fans to your community

Create Community

And now to talk about the holy grail of engagement: the raving brand community.

Go to your favorite sporting event and you’ll see a brand community in action. Fans are decked out head-to-toe in the team logo. They recite chants and cheers. They celebrate the team’s highs and feel their disappointments.

Super brands like Harley Davidson, Apple, Porsche, and even the Grateful Dead also have faithful followers who will go anywhere or do anything for their beloved brands (even commit to logo tattoos). Group members are invested and feel connected by their shared passion.

You can’t fake it or force community of raving fans, but you can take steps to encourage this kind of affinity, connection, and passion among your customers. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to create virtual community spaces via group pages on existing social media sites like LinkedIn or Facebook. It’s also easy to create a more personalized group page on host platforms like WordPress, where you can have a custom URL directly linked to your company’s website. Whichever route you choose, there are a few guidelines to consider.

The cardinal rule of community is that it exists to serve the interests of your brand’s fans and shouldn’t be directly used as a sales channel. Remember, people don’t like to be sold. But you can – and should – play an active part in getting the conversation started and keeping it going.

About ten years ago, I started the Atlanta Bloggers community. I saw that marketing was changing and I wanted to get into digital. I got a dozen or so of the top bloggers in Atlanta to come have a meeting. We shared best practices, where we thought digital was going etc. It was a small intimate group. I said, we would do it every month. The next meeting we had almost 50 people show up. I was shocked, I asked how all these people heard about it. They said they read these high profile bloggers and they mentioned how much fun it was and wanted to join in the conversation.

Within 6 months we had swelled to 150-200 people. Famous authors were reaching out to me to get in front of our influential audience. I interviewed Seth Godin (you can listen here, if you can get past the sound quality, the content is really good). I saw first hand the power of grass roots and the power of the new digital economy. We started a week long conference called Social Media Atlanta. I could share a ton of success stories from that group.

Here a few things to keep in mind in spurring on conversations.

• What drives conversations among your fans?
• What influences these conversations?
• What keeps your suspects, prospects, and customers up at night?
• What is the mutually interesting connection and common topic of interest?

Once the conversation is going, you must absolutely monitor the group to stay on top of anything that needs a response to avoid confusion or negative associations.

But the time it takes is worth it. Because when you create an active community, you can create a MOVEMENT!

Join Rothschild Marketing as we create a movement & revolution to help firms stand out, be different and engage audiences in new & different ways. Together we can add dimension, visual value and remarkable products worth talking about and social sharing.