What does community mean to you? Did you know that you can be a part of a community without even knowing it? This is because the community is not only about people but about feelings. Take for instance, you totally enjoy listening to country music, and then one day you're having lunch outside while listening and singing. Then suddenly someone taps you and says "you listen to this?" with a bright smile on their face. Instant connection. How would that make you feel? You'll probably enjoy the rest of your day knowing someone else enjoys something you do.
That's one aspect of a community. Communities are powerful for making us feel a sense of belonging. Having a common interest that unites us with other people makes us feel closer and not alone. This can be anything from a favorite subject to a product. Over the years, more and more businesses are seeing the need to have a community for their business. Including this as part of your business strategy has proven to be beneficial for business. Let's explore why some companies have a community/ community team.
Importance of Having A Community For Your Business
When you have a community for your business, it comes with multiple benefits such as brand loyalty and awareness, more publicity for your product, customer testimonials, and others. These benefits are mentioned below
Having a community for your business gives your business the chance to grow advocates for it. No longer would it be you giving good remarks about your brand alone, you’ll have armies doing so for you too. What's good with this? Non-users of a product/service actually trust reviews of users more than what you say about your business. Individuals would normally speak of a product/service they use if it is good. By sharing feedback on your community platform, your business gets promoted and a community helps make this possible. It builds loyal customers and word-of-mouth customers.
Market Research and Feedback
Your community allows you to gather feedback on the features of your product. You can do this through customer-to-customer discussion, direct questions, or just a member’s comment. Users often discuss their behaviors, customer needs, interests, and demographics freely in communities. It’ll help you improve your service to your customer and meet their needs better. You'll see that your customers are constantly satisfied because without you asking, they're providing ways for you to serve them better. It has become easier to understand what your customers think about your product or service using a community.
Self-Service Customer Support
As your community grows and becomes more engaging, members can be of help to each other. Questions can be answered and tips for problems can be shared. This lightens the load for you! The pressure will be taken off traditional customer support channels. By paying attention to discussions in your community, you can come up with a list of FAQs, build tutorials and build resources.
Excellent Source of User-Generated Content
Having a community for your business offers you a wonderful opportunity to get helpful content from your customers. You can interview members to build your success stories archive, collect testimonials, get photos of members using your products, and much more. On their own, your customers can promote your brand simply by taking a photo and posting it with a caption. That's free promotion for you and word-of-mouth marketing is a valuable tool you should grab on tightly to.
Building Trust In Your Activities
Customers will continue making purchases from you as long as they trust you. If a customer doesn't trust you, they may buy from a competitor. A community lets you provide good customer service, respond to customer reviews, and improve your product. These build trust in your brand
Having learned about some of the benefits of a community to your business, do you want to make one for your business? Let's address some points before we proceed on how to set up a community team for your business. There are different types of communities that you can decide to create for your business. First, figure out what kind of community will benefit your business the most. Let’s look at the main types of communities.
Support communities are created to offer quick and accessible advice for those with problems. To some degree, it beats having guides, FAQs, and forums on business websites. This is because there are unique problems that the above won’t be helpful in trying to solve. And this is where your live community comes in. People are there to help others and it is much more effective when a human helps out. Creating a community for your customers allows them to feel connected with other customers and with you. They can come up with slang for your business and inside jokes.
Don’t be scared that your customers won't need you anymore since they now have each other. You're the reason they are connected in the first place and your relevancy will be undisputed. They'll be grateful you brought them together.
These are communities created around a common interest. In such communities, people ask one another for tips and discuss important topics around a specific topic. This type of community is useful for gathering feedback and information about your services.
Action communities are built by people who want others to take some sort of action with them to achieve a particular purpose. It could be about raising money or organizing a protest.
As a business owner, you should belong to at least two types of communities. A community of like-minded people and a community of people in a different industry from yours.
Being in an industry with people who are in your shoes will let you connect with them specifically on things you're dealing with. Because everyone knows what you're into, as they're in it themselves, you'll get specific bits of help, best practices, tools, resources, and ideas to boost your business. Having a community you belong to helps you face any business challenges you may have.
Then there's the other type of community. Being in a community where people are in an industry different from yours can help your business in ways you never expected. People with different ideas from you can be fresh eyes to your business. Being so close to your business has a way of making you think in a particular way. But someone looking at it from a different angle can provide fresh insights, new solutions, and new perspectives.
Making a Community for Your Business
Having a community is good for businesses as humans thrive with community and interaction. Community is the future of business. Companies that have implemented community teams with intention have seen immense success.
Before you go on to create a community and a team for it, how much are you willing to invest in it? Knowing how much importance a community has for your business will make you take it more seriously. Think about these. Could your business exist without community? If you took away people from your business, can it still function? Could your business succeed without community? Will your business survive if people weren't involved? Does your mission still hold true without a community? Is your business mission centered around people? Your answers will let you know how much your business is aligned with a community.
A community team is the team who works directly with and is responsible for your community. Without proper intention and alignment, your community team will be at risk of uncertain expectations, high turnover, culture misalignments, communication conflict, and being siloed from other teams. By providing clarity, you can solve this problem.
Creating Your Community/ Community Team
These points will guide you in creating a community and a team for your business.
Define Your Community
How do you define your community? Your community is made up of those who use your product and those who want to use your product. They are people who share the same values as you. Have logos, colours that identify your brand so members can identify themselves. Educate members on what they should know about your community. Promise them positive outcomes for joining your community. Entice more members to join that way. Build value and trust by engaging with your current customers. Be active on social media and encourage feedback.
You need to commit to value creation when evaluating the need for a community team. Value creation involves empowering creators, having feedback loops, providing opportunities, and having ambassador programs. Value creation should always exceed value capture in your community.
Meet your Audience Where They Are
It is important that you get to know your community itself firsthand. Understand who your audience is and know where to meet them. When you find them, encourage them to join your community.
Create A Unique Identity
Use your brand, culture, and word choice consistently. Your audience may come up with these word choices on their own. When they do, make sure to continue using it when you talk about your brand or when talking to them. It creates a feeling of belonging when they're aware that particular words are associated just with your community.
Make Your Members Feel Special
Give room for your customers to contribute to your platform. Allow them to criticize and cheer your brand. Get members to participate and not simply be observers. Let them know that their opinions matter and they matter too. They should feel taken care of as well. Help them without them asking.
Build Trust around Your Brand
Without trust, your community may fall apart. Trust leads to more trust. Being consistent with what you do creates such trust. Pursue your goals consistently. Whatever you do, do it regularly so your members know when to expect what from you. Share things that are relevant and of value to your community
Show Appreciation to Your Community
Most importantly, always appreciate your community. Let them know how much you appreciate their involvement. You can make appreciative posts to appreciate special members who contribute more to your community. You can give random shout-outs to members and this will truly make them feel recognized and appreciated.
Establishing and Empowering Your Community Team
Your community team is made up of persons whom you put in charge of your community. They can be selected from within your community or without your business. You may decide to get outside help but do well to properly educate them on the ethics of your business and community.
Your community team should be independent like other departments in your business. It should have its budget to carry out its work without interference from other departments. Listen to their input when they come up with suggestions for your business. You should be open to the community team's insight and build on them.
Also, provide opportunities for growth for your community team. Provide them with the necessary tools they need to be effective. You'll need to have metrics put in place to measure their impact. These metrics are necessary for reviewing strategies that are working or aren't working.
In addition, be open to experimentation. Don't hold back in trying out new things from your team. You should be a part of the process also. Support your team and remember to always appreciate them for their efforts.
Involving community in your business is an easy way for you to increase brand awareness, have a positive reputation and boost your business. It has as many benefits for your customers as it does for you. Creating a space for your customers to bond and connect is an act they're going to appreciate you for doing. A community lets you build a stronger relationship with your customers and gain helpful insights too. Having a team for your community lets you be intentional about your community. By empowering and supporting them, they can make a huge difference to your business. Go on and create a powerful community for your business.
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