The first step to building a successful brand community is to recruit members. This is a crucial strategy to activate contributions and user-generated content quickly. The sooner you have members interacting, the sooner your community will start fostering trust, brand attachment and incremental revenue!
In a previous post, we went through best practices to recruit members using your ecommerce website. There are many more ways to effectively bring in new members. Social media and email marketing are two channels which, in our experience, work very well.
So, this time, we’re unveiling our advice on how to exploit their potential to attract even more customers to your community.
Get more community members from your emails
If you already have a strong customer email database, using email marketing as a key channel to increase the size of your online brand community should be one of your top choices. Email is still the most effective way to reach a large group of people and plays a big part in building loyalty and retention.
Dedicated emails: the best way to attract members
Sending a dedicated email to your database about your community is the perfect strategy to recruit a large amount of members in one shot, with virtually no cost attached.
This strategy is particularly effective when you’re initially launching your community as you’ll want to let as many people as possible know that your platform is available. A dedicated email also works very well if you’ve opted for a soft launch for your community as you can target a select group of very engaged customers in your database.
Here’s an example of launch announcement from our client Lancôme:
As your email database continues to grow, it’s a good idea to repeat this campaign every so often for new members as these won’t necessarily know your community exists. If you have the automation capabilities, you might want to consider adding this email as a part of your welcome journey. The earlier you start engaging new subscribers with your community, the more likely they are to become repeat buyers!
In addition, we strongly recommend that you plan a dedicated campaign for your entire base at least twice a year. Your community will evolve over time and your customers should know about the latest updates. Besides, you’ll want customers who didn’t initially join to have an opportunity to reconsider, and telling them about the newest activities in your community is the perfect opportunity.
Our advice to create an impactful email:
- Pay attention to the subject line to increase open rates. The subject line should focus on the key benefit(s) of joining your brand community and where possible, be personalized with the first name of the recipient.
- Highlight the value of the community in the body of the email, such as events you’re hosting, product testing or upcoming contests. Customers are more likely to join if the benefits are very tangible and there’s something in it for them.
- Don’t tell them everything! We know it can be tempting to give a lot of information but it’s best to keep it simple and straightforward, let them discover on their own.
- Keep to a single call-to-action to join the community and try not to repeat it too often in the body of the email as this gets confusing for the reader.
- Maintain a 50:50 ratio between copy and images, this is a standard email practice to ensure your emails land in your customers’ inbox.
Banners in emails: a must-do to promote your activities
Whether you’re sending regular newsletters or trigger-based automated emails e.g. shipping updates or order confirmations, leveraging them as an opportunity to communicate about your community will go a long way towards recruiting new members.
When it comes to lifecycle emails, we recommend pushing specific activities in your community, such as events or contests, instead of simply encouraging readers to join the community. In our experience, as there’s already another core message in these emails, your audience is likely to be more receptive to a secondary message that creates a feeling of urgency.
Here is a very effective example from our client FeelUnique who promoted a community yoga class in one of their standard newsletters:
Best practices to create a successful banner for your email:
- Include it at the top or the bottom of your email to ensure it doesn’t get lost in other content and to avoid diluting the key message of your email.
- Make the creative stand out from the rest of the body of the email. An impactful image or a colored background should do the trick!
- Stick to key information only. For example, if it’s an event, indicate the title, date, time and location.
- Make sure the call-to-action directs to the relevant page in your community so that the reader doesn’t have to search for what drove them here in the first place.
Reach a wider audience with social media
As a retailer or retail brand, chances are you already have a well-developed following on social media. Instagram, TikTok, Facebook or Snapchat are great channels to inform your followers that you have a brand community. In fact, these customers are already fans of your brand so they’re really the easiest group to leverage to drive new members to your community!
Best practices to succeed on social media:
- Post regularly about your community. The more you talk about your community on social media, the more your followers will be encouraged to sign up. We recommend posting at least once a month.
- Create a dedicated hashtag so that community members who are also social media followers can spread the word. A hashtag will also make it a lot easier to identify posts about your community, especially if you’re using a social listening tool.
- Link your community in your bio so that followers can always find it.
Feature community UGC and activities
To allow your followers to get a good view of the value of your community, we strongly recommend that you showcase what community members are sharing in the platform, as well as your upcoming activities. This will help them visualize what they can expect when they join and will make your community’s authenticity stand out.
User Generated Content
UGC is one of your best assets when it comes to highlighting the benefits of joining your brand community.
On the one hand, it’s a great way to socially recognize your customers’ contribution, which customers will love and will engage with on your social channels, helping you get wider reach for your posts. On the other hand, followers who aren’t yet members will see that your brand community is getting a lot of attention and will most likely want to be a part of it.
With TokyWoky’s community platform, you can easily identify Instagram’s users who posted UGC on the community.
Here is an example of how Monki has taken advantage of UGC to bring their community to life on social media:
Featuring your upcoming activities, such as competitions, events and product tests is also a fantastic tool to show your followers how much they’d benefit from joining your community. Similar to promoting them in emails, activities give a sense of urgency and the objective of getting rewards will drive more signups.
Don’t forget to include a relevant CTA to the activity! For platforms that don’t allow direct call-to-actions, do make sure that the activities are easy to find once the customer visits your community.
Here are some further examples from our clients on impactful posts and stories on Instagram:
Consider social ads
It’s also a good idea to sponsor some of your posts, especially on Instagram, in order to reach more people, including users who are not following you.
This strategy is effective both at launch and after launch as it will keep driving traffic to your page and your community.
There’s no need to create new content to place your ads, all the above advice regarding featuring your community UGC and activities also applies to paid social ads.
We hope you found our advice on how to leverage social media and email marketing for your community helpful. If you want to learn more about the TokyWoky platform and the community building process, get in touch with our team. We’d love to help you choose the best strategy for your brand community!