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eCommerce Marketing

The eCommerce Dream: 6 Steps to Help You Develop a Brand Community

The eCommerce Dream: 6 Steps to Help You Develop a Brand Community

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

6 years ago

The eCommerce Dream: 6 Steps to Help You Develop a Brand Community

“Brands must empower their community to be change agents in their own right. To that end, they need to take on a mentoring role. This means the brand provides the tools, techniques and strategies for their customers to become more effective marketers in achieving their own goals.” 
Simon Mainwaring, Branding Consultant
Every brand wants to reach the stage of having a brand community. A place where like-minded customers sharing an affinity for a brand bond and remain loyal to that brand. Many eCommerce stores desire to cultivate communities that worship their brand as it can be a powerful marketing force. Luckily, in the modern eCommerce world, brand communities are more attainable than ever while being low cost but delivering a massive return. All that is needed is some know-how and the right tools to build a successful brand community.

Create the right platforms to share 

Brand communities are all about communication. Communication between your eCommerce store and customers and customers communicating with each other. In order for communication to occur, businesses must look at their target audience and decide how they will foster this communication. Whether it be by community forums on your website, Facebook pages, blogging, etc. You must know how your customers like to use online resources and integrate that into the building of an online brand community. 

Melt Cosmetics are a company who have correctly identified where their followers are and cultivated a community around this. This make-up brand has gained over 240,000 followers on Instagram by encouraging their followers to post images of themselves wearing their lipsticks. They have gained a large audience as they recognised where their target customers were and enabled them to share the word about their products for them.  

Create Shareable Content 

Building a community is all about bringing people together who want to share what they love and have in common. So why not facilitate their sharing by providing content that encourages sharing? Whether it be content about your brand or content that projects an image of your brand that your customer base enjoys. Shareable content not only interests your audience but lets them spread the word about your online store to potential customers with minimum effort on your behalf.  

Spiritual Gangster is an online retailer that is using content that their audience can share to build a community. The brand makes different, fun and fashionable clothing for yoga. They produce content on their social media such as Facebook that is tailored towards what their customers want. Inspirational quotes about fitness and life, music playlists to use when working out, yoga poses of the day; their content portrays and image of the company and is highly shareable for their followers. 

Be Consistent 

So many brands fail at building communities due to lack of consistency with communication. Simply posting content occasionally does not cut it when trying to build a loyal following. Brands need to give customers a reason to keep coming back time and time again and develop a connection with the brand. Whether it be by answering questions on Twitter, producing videos or posting new stories on Facebook, make sure it is frequent and relevant to encourage your audience to keep coming back. 

Brand communities need to be sincere

Although brand communities are a great method to increase sales and gain customer loyalty, they are not just a vehicle to constantly market to your customers. Customers like to gain something from being part of a community but constantly being advertised to is off putting. So remember don’t make it about advertising your latest merchandise instead make it about bring value to your customers and in turn eventually bringing value to your eCommerce store. 

Reward your members 

In order to gain loyalty, brands must offer something to their customers that they couldn't get anywhere else. One method of adding value for the customer is rewarding them for following the brand. This tactic lets customers know they are appreciated leading to them sharing more about the brand and have positive word of mouth. 

Freda Salvador is a footwear company that has embraced rewarding its followers. They encourage customers to join their social media and follow them by having exclusive sales for friends and family and release discount codes exclusively to their social media. This encourages people to follow them and continuously be involved with the company as they know they will be rewarded for it. 

Be Patient 

Building a fan base for your online store that is truly loyal doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it could take years but that is no reason not to try and establish a brand community. As brand communities form and grow they reward the brand with loyalty and trustworthiness that would be all most impossible to achieve without them. 

With the access to social media and online platforms, it has never been easier for online retailers and customers to communicate with eachother. With this ongoing communication, brand communities are emerging and becoming one of the most valuable benefits a brand can build. They gain customer loyalty, are an influential marketing tool and increases sales. They are a tool every eCommerce store should aspire to build.  

Are you a part of any brand communities? Or is your eCommerce store trying to build one? Let us know about your experiences in the comments. 


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