Online brand communities are a crucial part of any brand strengthening strategy. There’s no doubt about that.
They provide an effective platform for inspiring and generating user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing. They help you collect zero-party data and first-party data to strengthen your marketing efforts. They connect your consumers to your brand and unlock their sales, advocacy, and insights potential.
But how do you actually set up an online brand community?
Every brand has an audience of consumers. Creating a community is simply cultivating a welcoming space where you can bring them all together.
Like many marketing initiatives, the thought of creating a new brand community might sound intimidating. You could try using social channels and manage data with spreadsheets, but that ends up being difficult to manage, lacks any form of scalability, and is downright inefficient.
There’s also the custom build route, but that takes a long time and it’s difficult to get your community just right. Not to mention that without any expertise in community management, engagement, and moderation, you probably won’t get very far.
When you’re ready to graduate from these outdated brand community options, Vesta’s timely, customizable, and cost-efficient online brand community platform is here to answer the call.
We’ve built the most sophisticated platform in the industry to make it easy to bring together and grow your community of consumers. With 12+ years of experience, our platform and methodology offer a simple brand community setup process.
Setting Up Your Online Brand Community With Vesta
Don’t worry. Starting an online brand community with Vesta is simple. We have an experienced team of Client Success Managers that will complete your community setup and guide you through our established launch process.
In a rush? You’ll be happy to know that Vesta’s online brand community setup process is one of the fastest in the business. Many other platforms take far longer to set up, and some even require coding skills to operate. With Vesta, you can have an established, functioning online brand community in as little as 4-6 weeks.
With Vesta’s technology and methodology, we’ve simplified the online brand community setup process to 3 steps. Our team will guide, implement, and flawlessly execute the process for you.
- Community branding
- Community activities
- Community launch
Step 1: Community Branding
The community branding phase is where Vesta’s team will create the look and feel of your online brand community.
During this phase, our team will inject your branding elements into your online space, including:
- Dedicated community name
- Brand color scheme
- On-brand imagery
- Links to other brand channels
All of these branding elements strengthen your brand and provide a welcoming experience for your community members.
Vesta has ready-made templates that make community-building easy while maintaining a state-of-the-art UX for consumers with zero coding required. Through the Vesta platform, brands can include their logo, change color schemes, and customize other elements, including button shapes and colors, to remain on-brand. The Vesta team will also incorporate brand language throughout the community to make sure it’s speaking in your voice.
Step 2: Community Activities
After your branding elements are in place, it’s time to work with Vesta’s Client Success team to create a strategic plan with the activities and interactive elements that will engage your community members. With Vesta, you have the ability to choose from 30+ highly engaging activities and interactive elements.
From advocacy campaigns to surveys to discussion boards, you can use your Vesta community to drive activity for a variety of business goals. Below are some of the most popular ways brands use their community activities.
Supporting new product launches
Launching new products is exciting and risky, and it’s a marketers job to make sure new products garner the attention and conversion right out the gate. With Vesta’s advocacy and sampling activities, you can drive consumers to seed product reviews, spark word-of-mouth, and drive trials of new products and services.
Gathering insights & data about their audience
Today’s marketers must have a pulse on the ever-changing shopping and behavioral patterns of their consumers. With Vesta, you can launch surveys and polls to capture real-time data to help inform business decisions.
Driving ongoing reviews & ratings to establish social proof
Everyone knows how important product reviews are, but many overlook how important recency and relevancy are to reviews. Having an ongoing channel to produce new and authentic reviews is key. Vesta can target consumers specifically and prompt them to write and share their reviews on the channels you deem most important.
Enhancing loyalty and brand building
With activities like Vesta’s discussion forum, promotional quick offers, or targeted content, you can make your consumers feel connected and valued. A consumer who is emotionally connected to a brand is more likely to stay loyal to the brand over the long-term.
Driving eCommerce and supporting shopper marketing
Vesta makes it easy to drive consumers to online and retail locations, through geo-targeted campaigns and enhanced insights into shopping behavior. Get a read on where consumers shop and automatically identify those who can find your product in-store & spread the word.
Community activities are designed to drive action and impact by delivering personalized experiences that spark engagement, advocacy, and loyalty. They’re an opportunity to engage with your brand fans, utilizing the zero-party data and first-party data the platform collects to continually offer brand activities uniquely tailored to individual preferences, making consumer activation fast and simple. By aligning your community activities with your overall brand calendar, Vesta’s Client Success team will help you maximize and amplify your marketing strategy year-round.
Vesta’s team will guide you through engaging with your community members using our commU-N-I-T-Y model, which is our proven process for achieving success in community engagement.
U-N-I-T-Y stands for:
U – Uninterrupted Engagement
N – Nimble Growth
I – Impactful Motivators
T – Trusted Environment
Y – Yields Value
Following this 5-step model helps ensure effective, meaningful engagement with your community members and can help bring your brand relationships – and their impact – to the next level.
Step 3: Community Launch
Your branding elements are in place. You have a strategic mix of meaningful and on-brand activities to engage with your community members. Now what?
It’s time to launch your Vesta community!
Here’s the thing: The best performing communities are the ones that go hard from day one. Your audience is waiting, so just launch! There’s no need to get caught up in elaborate tactics – Vesta’s team will guide you through the simple best practices to ensure success. As the saying goes, if you build it, your audience will come.
Inviting community members can be done through a variety of channels. Your email list, existing social media groups, and even your brand website are all great places to start recruiting members to your new online brand community.
After members have joined your community, all of the engagement activities you and the Vesta team built in step 2 of your community setup process will encourage them to get involved and spread the word.
On top of community sharing and sign-ups through your pre-established channels, you can drive further community recruitment through other channels, such as advertising and brand partnerships.
Integrating Vesta With Your Overall Digital Brand Presence
An online brand community is an important aspect of an effective marketing strategy.
However, we know that any smart marketer has a diverse set of marketing tools at their disposal.
Online brand community platforms, such as Vesta, are a perfect tool to supplement and elevate your acquisition, engagement, retention, and insights capabilities.
There are numerous ways to integrate your online brand community into your overall digital brand presence:
- Connecting your platforms – Your community is an extension of your website and can be a major traffic driver, with an average increase of 3-5x traffic. And directing your site visitors to join your community with clear calls-to-action enables you to advance their consumer journey to a deeper relationship with your brand.
- Leveraging social media platforms – Promoting your community and sharing user-generated content on various social media platforms is another great way to grow your community and brand engagement.
- Supercharge your CRM – A community is the ideal way to acquire zero-party data and first-party data to enhance your CRM and elevate targeting and personalization efforts across channels. Leveraging your CRM list and inviting them to join your community is also a great way to quickly grow your community.
- Enhance your Loyalty & Rewards Program – If you’ve got a loyalty or rewards program, we’ve got great news! An online community offers fun ways to reward members for non-transactional actions that go beyond the purchase, like advocating for and sharing feedback with your brand. Connecting your program to your community is an easy way to inspire and reward consumers’ engagement and connection with your brand.
- On-package tags or ecommerce messaging – Clients who promote their community at shelf, on package, or through e-commerce shipping inserts see great boosts in driving traffic to their community and have the opportunity to build deeper engagement and relationships with their consumers.
By integrating Vesta into your other marketing channels, you’ll have more success with growing and strengthening your consumer relationships.
Plus Up Your Marketing Stack
Vesta is more than just a tool for amplifying your marketing efforts. Some key app integrations help drive maximum efficiency across the board.
Creating efficiency within the marketing toolkit is no longer a nice-to-have goal. It is necessary for a thriving brand to have seamless integration for its marketing stack.
For starters, you’ll be able to integrate your brand community with social media platforms through our Single-Click Sharing tool which syndicates Member content directly to their social media accounts. This allows you to collect key social data to help inform targeting strategies while also tracking social sharing metrics.
Vesta can also integrate with a number of CRM platforms, loyalty programs, and email marketing platforms, connecting all of the zero-party and first-party data you collect in the community to enhance your targeting, personalization, and media optimization efforts. Our Client Success team will ensure that your online brand community is well integrated into your marketing stack and overall marketing strategy.
The Vesta Community Setup Process is Simple
Overall, setting up your new brand community shouldn’t be something you worry about.
Our Client Success team ensures that your community is always on track using our proven setup process. With a simple setup and loads of different integrations across the board, Vesta can help you amplify your marketing efforts and provide a welcoming online space for your consumers.
Your audience is waiting.
Have Any Questions About Community?
The Vesta team is here to answer any questions you might have, whether they’re about Vesta’s platform or online brand communities in general. Reach out to us, we’re here to help!
Interested in more?
Check out our Community Marketing 101 eBook and discover how to harness the power of online brand communities to take your marketing strategy to the next level.