With the rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media, people are able to express their opinions freely like never before. As these technologies have become a space to share ideas, people have begun to create digital communities centered around common interests. The same applies to brands and people who are interested in them. These people create brand communities - “specialized, non-geographically bound communities, based on a structured set of social relationships among admirers of a brand.”1

We gathered 10 tips to help you, onboard customers, to your brand community, with a special emphasis on loyalty program members:

  1. Find out where your fans are talking about your brand. Is it a Facebook group or perhaps an internet forum? If such a place does not exist, you should consider creating one for your customers.
  2. Listen to your brand advocates. Taking into account the opinions of your most active customers is vital when creating and developing a brand community. People want to feel heard and if you adapt to their needs, the community can grow and be supplied with user-generated content with minimal effort.
  3. Give the voice to the members of the community. Sharing opinions and content created by brand ambassadors will be a gesture of recognition for them. It is also a signal to the rest of the customers that your brand community exists, and you appreciate your members’ ideas.
  4. Invite loyalty program members to your community. Loyalty program members had to make an effort and enroll into the program, so they are potentially more interested in your brand than most consumers. Use the loyalty program’s communication channels to invite members to your brand community fan page or forum.
  5. Create educational exclusive content. Prepare exclusive and detailed materials available only on your brand community forum or fan page. That way, you can direct the traffic of the most inquisitive customers from other content materials to your brand community.
  6. Create an exclusive newsletter. Create a special segment containing only your brand community members. Send them a newsletter with exclusive offers, the latest product updates, and news from your industry.
  7. Make events exclusive for the community. Take care of the integration of your community and create digital, themed events exclusively for the brand advocates and community members.
  8. Use loyalty program incentives to engage customers. Reward members of your loyalty program for brand activities, such as by awarding extra points for product reviews.
  9. Reward customer engagement and activity. Create a limited reward awarded only to the community leaders, which will be visible to others. Limited items and special titles on forums or social media profiles could be the proper choice here.
  10. Give customers time. Remember that becoming a brand advocate is a process that requires time.

Appreciating members of your community is the most effective way to expand it. Loyalty program users are the best candidates to become vital members of the community and social content creators.

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