With the ever-changing algorithms on Facebook, many brands (big or small) find it even more challenging to reach their consumers. Many brands looked to Facebook to create a community of advocates where they can communicate with their consumers directly. Marketers have become heartbroken in learning that Facebook is charging them per impression. They already spent the dollars and resources to cultivate their fans and now they must pay once again to reach them. This once free service has started to affect all of the companies that have invested in the pages feature on Facebook.

With this series of unfortunate Facebook events, brands are beginning to establish their own communities where they can find their own advocates and communicate with them on a single platform. These advocates that enter into the community of your brand are the most avid loyalists. These communities can be very rewarding not only for the brands but for the loyalists in them.

Consider these five ways brand communities increase brand loyalty:

1. Brand-to-Consumer Communication

Brands can increase their relationship with consumers by creating a meaningful connection with those who join a community. This relationship solidifies the current users of their products and also creates brand loyalists. Consumers want to feel that they are helping and their feedback is being heard. By showing loyalists what they have to say is of interest to the brand, they are more likely to stick with your company over competitors.

2. Consumer-to-Consumer Communication

Consumers can speak to one another about their favorite products in one place. This gives a brand the chance to see what consumers are sharing, but also gives consumers a chance to exchange tips or ideas about how to use products in different ways. Peer-to-peer recommendations are one of the most powerful purchase drivers, and communities are another place to give them.

3. Special Offers

Sixty-eight percent of consumers say that valuable offers such as coupons generate loyalty. Consumers can leverage your community to learn about new deals happening in-store or online, and to also receive special opportunities to sample or view products or content. Offers benefit both consumers and brands because loyal members feel like you are giving them an incentive to purchase and advocate for your product, helping to drive sales.

4. Insight on Featured Products

To stay relevant brands need to keep their consumers engaged and excited by delivering new and intriguing products, services and/or content. If you can introduce those products to your online community before the non-loyalists, your valuable customers will be more inclined to not only purchase but to seed pre-launch word of mouth and awareness among friends, both online and offline. Show your loyalists that you are dedicated to informing them first.

5. Long-Term Relationship

Cultivating an online brand community can be a long-lasting relationship between your brand and the consumer and will increase customer retention rate. A community is an opportunity to collect valued information when they first sign up. This can be used to deliver targeted offers that will continuously engage with them. The members who decide to stay connected to your brand via your online community will be the loyalists who give you beneficial and meaningful feedback.

Think about these five tips next time you’re deciding why you should build your own brand community. Online communities can help grow, solidify, and maintain those already loyal consumers and grasp potential ones. To learn more about building your own online community, email us at [email protected]