If you have a number of like-minded customers who are loyal to your brand or company, you should get them together in one place to further ignite their passion and share their experiences. Hopefully, they will become more vocal and overtly zealous in influencing other people to support your small business. This is the essence of brand communities.
Do you know what brand supports a group of rebellious and freedom-loving bikers?
Most probably, your answer would be Harley-Davidson. This is just a simple illustration how brand communities can boost your brand image.
Other famous brand communities are owners of Apple Computers products, Starbucks customers, and Saab drivers.
The internet has played a very vital role in expanding these communities. Today, it is fast, affordable, and easy to create and set up a forum or a blog to serve as your brand community. Some of the key benefits for entrepreneurs are:
- Word-of-mouth influence. Your brand community members have the power to influence many people to join the group and support your brand or company. The power of social proof has a snow balling effect and will build great momentum.
- More accurate customer insights. If you want to fully understand your target, you can easily find them, read their thoughts, and communicate directly with them. This can be done through polling, dialog and conversations.
- More promotional and brand opportunities. Since they are concentrated in one area, this will allow you to create a more targeted campaign and help lower your advertising costs. You can use Facebook advertising to target precisely and deliver your adverts with a higher return on investment.
- More time for customers to know more about your brand or company.
- Instant support for your new products or brand extension.
Get some additional great tips from Personal Branding Blog about developing communities to evangelize your brand. You may also want to download a guide on building online brand communities [PDF, 18 pgs].