How to identify your brand community members
Like many others in our industry, we’ve been talking about brand communities for the past several months.
At AspireIQ, we wholeheartedly believe that when people with shared values come together behind a purpose, they can achieve greater things than they could alone. To help brands fulfill their purpose with the greatest impact, we built AspireIQ Elevate to enable brands to streamline collaborations with not just social media influencers, but also other valuable community members — including customers, employees, industry experts, affiliates, and more.
While most brands already have a community, it can be difficult to identify, connect, and engage with the members and fully leverage their power to drive growth and spread advocacy. That’s why we’re providing you with a three-part series detailing step-by-step tips to help you start building and engaging your community.
Today, in Part 1, we’re discussing how to identify your brand community members, covering hot topics like how to set a solid foundation and where to find your brand loyalists. Let’s get started.
1. Define your community purpose.
First things first, you need to define your community purpose. You can do so by asking yourself two questions:
- What does your company want to achieve?
- What do your community members want to achieve?
This will allow your brand to figure out who you should be working with, what your mutual goals are, and what kinds of community programs you need to activate to reach those goals.
More often than not, your community members desire to have a closer relationship with your brand. In fact, our recent survey showed that over ⅔ of people don’t feel like they have a say in their favorite brand, but half of them were eager for the chance to contribute more to a brand. So, use this to your advantage to achieve your company goals, whether that be to increase brand awareness, source authentic content, or build credibility.
2. Comb through different platforms.
As we mentioned above, community members include everyone from customers and influencers to industry professionals and employees — anyone who has a personal connection and a passion for your brand, beyond just the product or service you’re selling.
Social media is a great place to start when looking for your biggest brand enthusiasts, as it already has tools built in to ease your search, such as:
- Hashtags — You can browse through relevant hashtags pertaining to your unique industry using keywords like #whatveganseat and #hipsterstyle, rather than generic terms like #food and #fashion. Better yet, search your branded hashtag to find creators who are organically mentioning it on their social channels.
- Recommended accounts — Platforms like Instagram and YouTube will recommend accounts based on people you already follow. The accounts shown in this section usually show people who create similar content and have comparable reach to those you already love.
- Tagged photos — On visual platforms like Instagram, your community members may mention you by tagging you in their content. Browse through your tagged photos to see who some of your most loyal fans are.
Aside from posting on social media, your passionate community members will be talking about your products on online forums like Reddit, visiting your stores, writing raving customer reviews, and submitting feedback and suggestions via email. They’ll also be talking about your brand IRL to their family and friends, as well as to other communities they are a part of. The key is to find those who share their experiences with your brand in an authentic and personal way.
However, we know that this manual search process is strenuous and time-consuming. Using a software like AspireIQ Elevate will not only comb through these online platforms to find your biggest fans in a fraction of the time, but also automatically pull lookalike creators to introduce you to a number of other potential brand fans.
3. Segment your database.
Once you find your community members, segment your database. This can be done by splitting up your community and forming member personas. Consider factors like:
- Demographics: gender, age, income, location
- Lifestyle: career, hobbies, activities, interests
- Communication preferences: channels, mediums, frequency
- Personality: demeanor, voice, role models, style
- Goals or challenges: needs, wants, pain points
- Other communities they belong to
It’s extremely important to understand who your different community members are and how each of them can provide value to your brand. For instance, an in-store employee can explain the behind-the-scenes process or reason behind creating a product to a potential customer, providing transparency and a face behind the brand. An expert can explain the science or proven benefits of the product, giving your brand more trust and credibility with their endorsement. An influencer can expand awareness of your brand to a wider audience, and a customer can share testimonials and provide social proof to others.
Gather your community.
To build a sustainable business plan, marketers need to form deeper relationships with their community. Use the steps outlined above to take the first leap. Identify your brand enthusiasts and get your customers, influencers, affiliates, employees, and other brand loyalists together on and offline.
Next, we’ll be discussing how you can activate your community, from building rich customer referral programs to co-creating product lines with influencers. Read Part 2 here.