Connect Your Brand With Your Community

June 12th, 2018 by Kari Llorens

Human beings are social animals, but what kind of community would form around your company’s online branding? Brand loyalty is easily observed in beverage and automotive industries, and fans of a particular brewery or manufacturer often consider that brand preference a part of their personal identity. Coke or Pepsi, Chevy or Ford, and Windows or Mac: these rivalries and preferences elicit emotions like the choice between sports teams. The fans of a brand develop a tribal sense of community, but it doesn’t happen with just any company. What if you could make your brand inspire that degree of enthusiasm and loyalty?

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Make Your Brand Relatable

When kids try to make friends, the classic advice is to “be yourself.” Similarly, your online branding strategy needs to come from a genuine place if it’s going to build a following. Big promises and low prices will motivate a purchase, but you need to meet or exceed a customer’s expectations in order to make them a fan. When you think about brands that have been popular for decades, they have earned the lasting support of repeat customers. Quality products and reliable service aren’t just slogans, they’re perceptions that match the experience of satisfied customers.

A branding campaign should not require an overhaul of the way you do business. It can be as simple as identifying your strengths or making your marketing more consistent. But where do you go once you’ve got your brand established? The first step is finding those that relate to your brand the most. Target the interest groups and demographics most likely to identify with your brand through online advertising, and track their progress along the consumer journey. After they’ve visited your site or clicked on an advertisement, keep your brand visible with targeted remarketing. Every impression and interaction is an opportunity to confirm the value and reliability of your brand.

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Emphasize Human Interaction

Automation is great for business efficiency, but customers appreciate interacting with your human employees. When an existing customer calls with a problem or question, they react differently when answers come directly from a person instead of a recorded message. We’ve all experienced the frustration of answering a dozen automated questions in order to complete a simple task. In contrast, it’s easy to imagine how it feels to interact with a single employee throughout an interaction with a business. Whether they’re contacting a travel agent, realtor, or secretary at a law firm, people have a different experience when they have the chance to repeatedly connect with the same human being. Their connection with that individual becomes their connection with the whole company.

Of course, the conduct of your employees can have a positive or negative impact on the way your brand is perceived, depending on how they interact with customers. When training and managing employees, remember how their treatment of customers can impact the long-term reputation of the business. Efficiency is important, but be sure to acknowledge and reward employees who go the extra mile for customers. It can be as simple as remembering a name or some other personal detail. A friendly voice and attention to detail can make customers feel valued by your company, even when you’re offering a no-frills product or service.

Find Followers on Social Media

Find a voice that resonates with your target audience and sets your business apart from the competition. On social media, your company’s response to news and trends will give the public additional opportunities to identify with your brand. Whether you develop a presence on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest will depend on your target audience and what’s appropriate for your industry. Download our Social Media Cheat Sheet to learn which platforms your audience is most active on.

You’ll want to post frequently in order to keep your business visible, but the majority of the posts should not be directly promotional. That doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time writing your own witty blogs. Not everyone is rocking the digital marketing industry like Search Influence. Rather, you can share news stories and articles related to your industry and community. By sharing authoritative, newsworthy content, you prove to followers that your business is keeping up with the latest trends. Not only are you building your brand, but you’re also making your business a valuable resource to potential customers, even when they aren’t currently in the market for your services.

One of the biggest benefits of social media is that it provides a more detailed view of your target audience. As your following grows, you’ll gain a more detailed understanding of the interests, demographics, and preferences of people interested in your company. This information enables you to develop customer profiles and more specifically define your target audience. Identify the trends that groups of your fans have in common, and you’ll have an edge on the competitors who still advertise indiscriminately to the public at large.

How Does Community Generate Revenue?

Your customers understand how traditional advertising works. Across all platforms, paid content and advertisements get a lower CTR than personal content generated by close friends and family. When a friend recommends a business or vacation destination, that recommendation is more impactful than a commercial. By building a connection with the community, your online branding can make itself a topic of conversation. You can design promotions that encourage fans to show their support on social media. When people see that a close friend voluntarily supports your business, that recommendation carries weight. Get customers to advocate for your tourist attraction, dealership, or boutique, and you have a powerful alternative to conventional ads.

Establish Your Brand As a Community Ambassador

Members of the public are generally skeptical about the motivations of corporations and businesses. The global economy never ran on gumdrops and compliments, but consumers like to see brands that make a visible effort toward conservation, disaster relief, and other causes with a broad base of support. Politically controversial issues are a gamble because they needlessly turn away potential customers. It’s far better to publicly give to a popular cause and leverage social media so that fans can share the news of your good work. Many of your donations to non-profits can be tax-deductible. Improving the image of your company isn’t a fast process, but it has the potential to greatly increase your revenue by converting potential customers into supportive fans.

If you need help clarifying your brand or marketing your business online, our team can help. Grounded in a foundational understanding of SEO, we know how to build authority and make your business stand out. Digital marketing isn’t just a way to generate new leads—it’s an increasingly vital part of remaining competitive in today’s marketplace. Request a proposal from Search Influence to amplify the digital voice of your online branding.

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