Today’s brands are continually searching for new ideas, platforms, and essentially the ‘next big thing’ to help them grow and find new avenues of success. And while there are a vast array of strategies offering the means to create, mold, and continue the growth of your brand—one of the most valuable and fruitful assets is right in front of you—your users. Building an online community provides a range of benefits, but to reap the rewards, it’s essential to create an environment where social experiences and content are robust and highly engaging for users. Especially when you consider the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and how less face-to-face interaction increased the value of digital communities.
In this post, we’ll discuss the concept of creating an online community, and how users can be leveraged to significantly benefit publisher brands—benefits that include increased engagement, registration, and retention.
How to build an online community suitable for brand identity
The word community is defined as ‘the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common’. So, whether you realize it or not, you already have a community out there—it’s just a case of offering a platform capable of bringing them together and creating compelling social experiences. Building brand communities is achievable through several strategies. However, the most critical aspect of doing so is encouraging user engagement.
Publishers increase user engagement by ensuring content is conversational and interactive through user comments, videos, and sharing content throughout their community. But you can’t just sit back with your fingers crossed and hope for a community to build itself around a brand. You must engage users by creating content that provokes thought, asks questions, and leaves the door wide open for additional insight.
But what about brand community building with suitability in mind? This is where the need for sophisticated, multi-layered moderation comes into play, and proves to be a vital resource for digital publishers. Multi-layered moderation uses highly advanced AI/ML capabilities, combined with community-based and human-controlled moderation, making it the perfect moderation tech for a wide range of community needs.
Building an online community supported by a unified suite of engagement tools offers active users more than just content to read. You’re encouraging them to interact by commenting, engaging with the community, or simply absorbing information from content. With the right tools, you can turn casual readers into registered, loyal users by offering a safe environment where conversations are enjoyable, non-toxic, and engaging.
Where an online community can benefit your brand
Gathering 1st Party Data
Creating an online community gives dedicated users a collective space, a community filled with unique behaviors and interests. And it’s safe to say publishers can learn a great deal about brand community building from the subscription economy. When users like/dislike content, comment, discuss interests, offer opinions, and more—it allows you to gather vital information about how they feel about your brand and what they expect from products/services. Building an online community whose home is your website helps you learn about your audience, establish closer relationships, and improve your brand based on their preferences.
In a digital space, there are many different forms of advertising designed to increase the revenue of modern businesses. But did you know that 92% of consumers trust word of mouth more than anything? And while publishers aren’t necessarily looking to sell conventional products and services, word of mouth goes a long way when growing an online community. After all, a recommendation from a friend or fellow community member is an honest opinion with no ulterior motives. Creating an online community that loves your website/brand massively increases the number of eyes on your content and drives more traffic to your site. Both can prove crucial for increasing revenue, whether it’s due to more advertising opportunities, increased subscriptions, or other forms of income such as ecommerce.
Organically Expanding Reach
A community environment encourages people from all over the world to collaborate, share ideas, and discuss interests—we’re talking about user-generated content. This content drives and broadens your organic reach because it helps you identify topics that your audience reacts positively to. As the community continues to grow, reach simultaneously grows with it. Community growth is an opportunity to increase revenue and brand recognition—and it’s all thanks to the creative use of word of mouth.
For digital publishers, discussions within the community not only provide vital insight into how your website, brand, and the community itself is perceived — but also can give birth to new ideas for future development. The continued success and growth of your platform and your community rely on the satisfied and happy the latter is. While ecommerce businesses rely on customer reviews and insight for tweaks or new features to their products, publishers can learn a lot about what their audience feel is missing from their service—whether it’s something as simple as fixing bugs, adding features to improve user experience, or brainstorming brand new ideas to suit the ever-changing needs of a modern audience.
Publishers can analyze user content to identify requested features, improve new models, and use audiences as testing pools for new concepts and ideas. Building an online community that supports your brand (and wants you to succeed) means that you’ll get raw, unfiltered feedback. Put simply, your audience tells you how to keep them happy. All you have to do is listen.
If you have any questions about publisher growth, don’t hesitate to get in touch.