Fri Dec, 2012 by Erin K. O'Neill
One of the best manifestations of a brand-related community is the Harry Potter fansite Pottermore. J.K. Rowling successfully harnessed the massive and supremely passionate fanbase for her novels by creating a site where fans can digitally navigate the narrative of the books and further explore the Wizarding world. Pottermore provides unique content and snippets of information that were left out of the books, and is the only place to buy Harry Potter e-books. This has made the site a go-to for passionate fans and new readers who want to share their love of the story.
Creating a community of users around a brand is not an easy thing to accomplish. It requires fostering the kind of loyalty and enthusiasm around a product, service or idea that would compel a consumer to dedicate time and their own creative effort to creating content. So, how do you engage the people who would be passionate brand ambassadors for you with social media marketing? Here’s a few tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Find your audience
Identifying the people who are the most passionate about your brand is key to creating a successful community. They’re people who love what do you, are vocal about their opinions, and are willing to create and share content out of sheer excitement about your products.
2. Create a safe space
Pick an online venue for this community. It can be a Facebook fan page, an online message board, a blog’s comment section, a Twitter feed, a special microsite – anywhere your community can gather, follow and engage each other. Be prepared to have moderators, but don’t be too zealous about staying on-brand. The best communities grow and converse organically.
3. Reward ingenuity
Offer accolades and awards for users who create the best content. Incentives to post are wonderful – it can be as simple as a profile post of the user on your company blog, or some kind of special banner, or even a small prize.
4. Build in use value
Another way to attract users to your community is to offer a service or information that’s not available anywhere else. It should be more than a brochure, but a way to make your product come to life for customers.
5. Listen and show support
Allowing your community to have input about your products and showing that you’re listening is one of the surefire ways to increase customer loyalty. Be genuine in your interest in the community you’ve built; listen to them and support the community whenever you can. Be enthusiastic about their enthusiasm! It’s infectious and will spread.