You already know the importance of creating a community around your brand. This will result in stronger word of mouth, customer retention, and better organic growth. Yet, many small business owners don’t know how to foster genuine communities or don’t believe they can do it if they don’t have the resources.
As employee #1 and Director Marketing Community at theSkimm, and as founder and CEO of JIGGY puzzle company, I have built two vibrant communities using startup budgets. Here is my advice on how to do it right.
1. Find ways to support and celebrate your organic ambassadors
Most likely, you already have a group of champions. These are people who love what your doing and want the world to know about it. The easiest community to build is that which you already have. Look for ways to help current advocates, and then thank them when you do.
JIGGY makes it clear on the packaging and website that puzzlers can post their progress to social media, by tagging us as well as the artist responsible for the puzzle artwork. To show our appreciation, we always respond or share their posts on social media. ).
Olivia White (@ohleeevia) shared this post.
JIGGY customers love to share their puzzle-solving journeys with us. We’ve made it easy for them and others to spread the word about the brand.
TheSkimm’s ambassador program, Skimm’bassadors, was born out of a simple request in the daily newsletter to share it to a friend. It includes detailed guidance on how best to spread the word and tiered perks depending on the number. We even had incentives that were almost free and drove community engagement for a long time: access to a private Facebook Group, invitations to Skimm events and the chance to meet our team.
It doesn’t matter what you do, but taking the time to show appreciation to your most loyal fans now will help you save a lot in the long-term when it comes to community growth.
2. Invite your followers to the business-building process
Traditional marketing is one-way. But, to create a strong community, give your customers the opportunity to have their say.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. So that our customers know that they are heard, the JIGGY team responds to all customer emails. We listen to our customers and make product decisions based upon their needs. Customers are notified when we have addressed their concerns. Instead of trying to understand their minds, we ask our followers for their opinions on ideas that are being considered. A simple Instagram poll can still be very engaging and informative.
JIGGY (@jiggypuzzles), shared this post
We stressed that our first puzzle for kids was a result of customer requests.
You may feel more comfortable trying out untested ideas and see the results. When we were trying to figure out how to monetize the newsletter at TheSkimm, we told our readers that we would be putting ads up, and we’d like to hear your thoughts.
3. Encourage connections within your community
When you make it possible for users to build relationships with one another, the real magic of a brand community begins.
We conducted a survey of our Skimm’bassadors users one year after they started hosting events. The results showed that satisfaction was a big indicator of their happiness. New friendships, professional connections, and even romantic relationships were all indicators of satisfaction.
JIGGY saw an increase in organic social engagement between customers and puzzle creators early on. We found this made both communities more committed to our brand’s work. We noticed that users were having puzzle parties on Zoom, so we launched the Puzzle Club in an effort to encourage this type of engagement.
Puzzle Club members receive the same puzzle each month. This allows them to share their progress and interact with JIGGY artists, which are great drivers for deeper community.
Find ways to bring together your community. Then, take a step back and see the real connections begin to form.
4. Keep Your Why in Mind
Without a deeper reason behind your brand, nothing will work. TheSkimm was all about staying informed and connected to current events. JIGGY is all about recharging with downtime, practicing mindful self-care, and supporting independent artists. These communities are for people who want to be with like-minded people.
It’s more than just about stating your values. It’s about living those values in your branding, copy and business decisions. We ran out of product in the first months of Covid-19 and couldn’t replenish it due to supply chain problems. We had no other options than blank puzzles. After hearing about the financial difficulties of our artists, we asked them to draw unique puzzles on these blanks, and then we auctioned them off for charity or artist relief. Although this didn’t help our bottom line, it helped puzzlers remain engaged with our company, even though we couldn’t offer them anything. It also supported our artist community and reinforced our core values as a company.
A post shared with JIGGY (@jiggypuzzles).
Our Jiggy Originals campaign, which was launched in the early months of Covid to support our artists and foster a deeper relationship with our puzzlers, supported our artist community.
People don’t rally around a product, they rally behind values or lifestyles that are important to them. You’ll be amazed at how many loyal customers you can build if you figure out yours and live it out in your brand.
Did you miss our previous article…