Subscribers are your audience. If you, as a business, can have a dialogue with them, then you have a base. And when your audience conducts a dialogue with each other without your participation (meets, communicates) and broadcasts the values of your services to the outside world, you have a caring community.
If you have not reached this level of the game yet, then this article is for you. I’ll tell you what a brand community is and how to build interaction with it.
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Community – what is it all about?
The community market in Russia is still being formed and often faces a negative perception: they say that this is all infobusiness, advertising, and serves only the interests of the company. In fact, the community creates an infrastructure for people to trust, support and build meaningful relationships with each other. This is not about “successful success” and not about advertising without SMS and registration.
Within the community, the company begins to interact more closely with the audience, to recognize and address its needs. Clients stop being “leads” and become partners.
Accordingly, through this audience, the brand itself will be able to expand its sphere of influence, broadcast the detailed values of products and services, attitude towards partners, customers and the world. People within the community will get to know each other and share experiences, and the brand as a guide will get long-term loyal customers. Win-win in its bright manifestation.
In other words, the brand builds social capital. And this is something that is very important in the modern world and that money cannot buy. Relationships are more important than any recommendation.
To summarize: this is what communities around the brand are created for:
- strengthen the brand;
- increase the percentage of active customers;
- increase the life of the client in the company;
- broadcast brand ideology, detailed values of products and services;
- strengthen word of mouth;
- learn more about your audience.
Each community has its own mission and purpose
No community just exists. Each is driven by its own mission. This is, as a rule, an unattainable goal that sets the vector for the development of the community.
For example, there is the Mesto community, which brings together entrepreneurs, IT professionals and investors. Their mission is to create a new entrepreneurial culture and a generation of creators for a new age together. They call themselves the “Valley Without Geography”. This idea of developing an entrepreneurial culture transformation is what people unite around. This idea drives them.
This is just one of many examples. There are separate communities that consider it their mission to unite small businesses. There are those who seek to improve the educational environment through education.
Each community has its own vision of how it is changing the world.
In addition, each community has internal and external goals. Let’s break them down right now:
Internal goals are set by the organizers of the community. Here are some examples:
- risk diversification through collective investment;
- increase the profit of the organization by increasing the number of active customers;
- joint fundraising of the investment fund.
External goals are the needs of the participants that the community seeks to close for them. They are similar to the mission, because they also set the development vector for the community itself. Examples of external targets:
- change the attitude of Western investors towards Russian entrepreneurs;
- provide access to the experience of more experienced entrepreneurs;
- help participants create a strong environment around them.
What exactly is a community not good for?
Before creating a community, explain to yourself why. Why am I creating a community? What problem will it solve? What value will it bring to participants? Keep asking yourself until you find a clear chain of answers.
If you answered the question “why” with something similar to:
- Communities are trending right now.
- Competitors have made a community, and I need to do the same.
- I want to make money fast.
…that community is not your way out yet.
And now, before we move on to the inner workings of the communities, let’s consolidate at this stage:
- The community is useful for the brand to broadcast its values and establish strong trusting relationships with customers. It not only solves communication and image problems, but also increases the percentage of active customers and keeps them in the company.
- The organizers must choose a mission around which they will unite people, and prescribe specific goals for both the community itself and the people within it.
Community interface: how and with what you can build interaction with the audience
Community is people first. Communication channels are secondary. But they are important so that the organizers can build effective communication with their audience. In our agency, the main assistants in creating communities are Telegram and chat bots.
Telegram platforms can be integrated with their current platforms: CRM, mobile apps, portals, and the like. Telegram bots also allow you to implement business functionality: document management, integration of payment systems, accounting and analytics, creating a showcase of products and services.
Read on the topic: What are Telegram bots and what business are they suitable for?
Let’s take the Alun business club as an example – one of the cases of our agency. It implements the mechanics of “Club within a club”.
Structurally, Alun consists of more than 25 areas on specific topics, such as medicine, law, investment, and so on. Each direction has its partners, its events, as well as a separate chat where you can join. That’s why it’s called a club within a club.
In addition, “smart” dating mechanics are built into the community. This is implemented in the chatbot through the search for a participant: like in Google, you can ask the bot for information on the required company, area, hobbies, or the business school that the participant graduated from.
The bot sends the participant’s profile, as well as the “exchange business cards” button, when you both get each other’s contact and you can immediately save the participant’s business card with a photo and a detailed description.
This can be done anonymously or openly, with restrictions or with full access. The feature is available only to current members who have passed the admission and formalized their membership in the community.
The participant can ask the bot to find a person from the desired area.
Example. The chatbot is able to introduce participants based on matches found in CRM.
Every community needs content. What you will broadcast to the participants. It can be club news, event announcements, discussion of news in your brand specialization, new partnerships, and so on. But the text should not be for the sake of the text.
The most important thing is the constant broadcasting of the club’s ideology. What is it created for? How to use it? The community needs not just a news feed, but a really useful digest with the culture of the community, the value code of the participants, the mission and the overall goal.
When building communities, we pay special attention to gamification. This helps to engage and retain participants. Forcing a participant to do something just like that is tedious. Therefore, inside Telegram, we award points for events, feedback, responses to requests in chats, and general activity. They can generate revenue or automate engagement and tracking dynamics.
A good example of how gamification works is the implementation of donations in the Vas3k club. Membership in the community can be renewed for a year, for 3 years or immediately for 50 years. Many members started buying multiple 50 year extensions and competing against each other. Now the club has a rating of members, and the very first of them extended their participation in the club up to 2100+ years.
Another example is sports challenges. In order to motivate people to do more sports, we have introduced competitions and a rating of the best athletes into the club.
Events: how to organize them wisely?
Within the community, there may be thematic events. They should relate to the goals of the community and be suitable for the audience (in terms of price, interests and opportunities). Before organizing an event, consider whether it is interesting specifically for your audience and whether they can allocate time for it. For example, a movie party is more suitable for a club of young startups than a club for owners of large investment funds.
Today, when organizing an event, everyone cares about the venue, catering, promotion, etc. But first of all, you need to worry about the participants.
What are we doing? After registering on the landing page of the event, the participant enters the bot and receives a ticket (QR code). Then the bot can remind you about the event several times. When a participant arrives, they are quickly and conveniently registered using a QR code.
To make it easier for the participants to get to know each other, the bot can send them profiles of people relevant to them at this event during the event.
An event can also have a separate chat. The bot makes an automatic intro for each participant: who he is and what he does. In the chat, you can correspond, get acquainted, contact the manager.
If this is a big event, then different actions take place in different rooms, and the participant can see this program directly in the bot. No other apps or sites needed. The bot will remind you that at 16:00 such and such a speaker is there, and there is a discussion in the next room, you still have time to join!
On the organization side, everything is also simplified. The organizers have the opportunity to see the profiles of all those present. After the event, it is convenient for them to reset the presentations of the speakers and request feedback. Then you can lead a person to another chat, to a community, etc. Administrators have the opportunity to work with individual audiences: for example, only with those who were present at the discussion.
At most events, everyone is still on their phones. And while they are plugging into their gadget, they can get information about your event, get to know each other and chat. Chatting eliminates the fear of personal acquaintances.
All these mechanics make events much more effective. We call it Smart Events.
Rome was not built in one day
We at the agency believe that communities change the world. It is important to understand that this is a long-term investment. A loyal audience is gathering gradually, so you should not expect quick results after the first actions.
In order not to close for the second year, as happens with many clubs created only on charisma, you must have in advance a development strategy for several years ahead. But about this in other materials – to be continued …
Illustrations provided by the author.
Cover photo: Shutterstock / Rawpixel.com
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Source: RB.RU by rb.ru.
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