#BrandStrategy: Creating a Digital Community for Your Brand

Brands need to provide more than cutting-edge products or amazing design-led digital content if they want to build a strong online fanbase. Yes, these things play a part, but building a brand community requires a personable approach to social. Nowadays, customers want brand content on social to feel like it’s been posted by a real-life person, not by a mass corporation.

Alongside this, there’s a real drive for content which captures the voice of a brand’s audience, tapping into customer thoughts and feelings. So, as a brand, what’s the best thing you can do? Let your audience do the talking. Repost their content, share their comments, collaborate with their icons…. Basically, just follow these steps: 

For more on connecting with your customers at a personal level, download our latest guide: You Are What You Buy: Marketing to Global Consumer Tribes. 

Give Users Some Airtime  

Think UGC is a waste of time? Think again… According to Stackla, 79% of people claim that UGC makes a strong impact when deciding whether or not to purchase.¹ Equally, according to IBM, Gen Z’s predominantly use social media to interact with their friends, with 46% seeking their friends’ product recommendations.² So targeting audiences across all generations requires something more personal than a branded ad or two. That’s where UGC comes in. But how can brands make the most of UGC? 

Well, a great way to get fans excited and engaged is to create a unique yet ownable hashtag, like Adobe’s #CreateYourStory. This hashtag allows Adobe users to share their artwork created using Adobe software, with a chance of being featured on Adobe’s social. This strategy has allowed both inspired and nurtured a community of creators, eager to use Adobe products. It’s important to remember that brands can put their own spin on UGC, using brand colours and clever design. However, UGC should appear as untouched as possible.

Related Read: From Laptops to Lattes – How Big Brands Create Cult Followings

Choose Micro Over Macro 

Micro has been a buzz word in 2019, and for a good reason; micro-influencers are the heroes of today’s online communities. There are many positives when it comes to micro-influencers. Firstly, micro-influencers have to engage with less followers, meaning they have time to create more fulfilling social interactions within their community. Micro-influencers, then, become a sort of online companion to their followers, something a lot of younger audiences look for on social.

Another plus is that, unlike bigger influencers who often end up endorsing everything and losing their authenticity in the process, micro-influencers often stick to smaller, more relevant fields, thus resonating with their followers more strongly. Finally, it’s easier to tap into local audiences when working with micro-influencers, since their followings are smaller and therefore less global.

Related Read: The A-Z of Gen Z: Targeting a New Generation Across the Globe

Talk the Talk

While visuals play a huge part in building channels with dedicated followings, nailing the copy is still extremely important; after all, it’s how brands communicate with their customers. So, a strong tone of voice strategy is key. 

Monzo, one of the fastest growing millennial banking brands out there, are a company using tone of voice to their advantage. They speak their customers’ language, using a witty, emoji-packed, written personality to engage and nurture their digital community. Monzo recognise that technical bank terminology can be a little confusing for the everyday millennial, so they’ve produced tone of voice guidelines that customers can access, and ensure that the company’s entire writing process is overseen at every stage, meaning that every 👍 and 😍 is used in a way that resonates. (See example below.)

Hone Your Hashtag Strategy 

If you’re trying to grow a digital community, you ought to think about your hashtags, especially since the communities you’re looking to target are probably scrolling through them at this very minute…

With hashtags, it’s best not to focus your efforts on the generic ones with millions of posts, as it’ll be hard to make an impact amongst all the noise. Try using smaller, more focused hashtags suited to your audience. For example, if you’re targeting minimalists, rather than just using #minimalist (10.2M posts), explore hashtags that appeal to smaller, minimalist groups like #minimalistdesign (170K posts) and #minimalisttravel (14.1K posts). Equally, you can localise your hashtags, so the vast #foodie (134M posts) might become #pariseats (62.4K posts). 

Key Takeaways:

  • Encourage UGC through an ownable hashtag 
  • Repost UGC on social channels
  • Speak like your customers
  • Keep tone-of-voice consistent
  • Collaborate with micro-influencers 
  • Avoid the biggest hashtags
  • Localise hashtags 

If you found our mini-guide to building digital communities useful, make sure to
download our full guide on global tribes, all about marketing to consumer communities around the world.

¹Stackla, ‘Bridging the Gap: Consumer & Marketer Perspectives on Content in the Digital Age’
²IBM Executive Report, ‘Uniquely Generation Z What brands should know about today’s youngest consumers’

Natalie Thomas
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