Whether you’re an established brand or a start-up, getting your community up and running is by no means the end of the job. Once you have that initial foundation of return members and contributing users, what do you do next? Strengthen their connection to your brand of course! Now there’s a lot of wisdom out there on how best to strengthen your community, whether it be through comments, blogger outreach, or ambassador programs. Let’s look at the best words of advice for each of these areas.
To create a community is one thing, to make that community fiercely loyal to the brand, worthy of the title of brand ambassador, takes some practice. A post on brand loyalty offers this advice:
- To get the community to be loyal to you, first you have to love them!
- Loyalty comes from a feeling of connection.
- Use social media to make sure members can connect with each other (on and offline)
To build that connection upon which your community will flourish into brand advocates, keep in mind that marketing today is all about the connection. This post by Britt Michealian highlights the importance of using social media to your advantage when building strong connections with your audience. You can’t simply rely on the occasional tweets and FB posts anymore. But rather, strategically reach out and build relationships with your audience.
Also, do not forget about social giving. As in, make sure your brand’s social strategy is not simply a broadcast one (think annoying TV advertisement), but rather one that adds value and relevant impact to your audience’s life.
And lastly, blogger outreach. There are many ways to approach the bloggers you want aligned with your brand. The inkybee ebook, The Best Practice Guide for Effective Blogger Outreach, offers some industry expert insight.
Step1: Research, Research, Research
Research the blogs you want to contact. It is essential for any brand building campaign to have a targeted audience. Once you have this, identify the blogs where your target audience hangs out. Also, keep in mind which blogs will have the most impact on your target audience. Read, learn, and understand what each blogger talks about.
Step2: The Relationship
Put in the work to become the blogger’s friend. The goal here is to turn the targeted blogger into your brand’s advocate and best champion. Build trust through honesty, transparency, and personality. Blogs are called earned media for a reason!
Step3: An Offer They Can’t Refuse
Most bloggers don’t work for money. So what gets them motivated? Top reasons include sharing their expertise/experience with others and being more involved in their passion areas. Start by offering them quality content with which they can grow their own audience base. Follow with appropriate incentives (small brand-related goodies, etc.) and most importantly, Always keep your commitments.
Step4: Quality Content is King
Make sure your content is current, crosschecked against other sources, and relevant to your audience. Talk about fresh stories with interesting angles. Quality content is the foundation of your relationship with a blogger.
Step5: Don’t Forget about the Relationship Once You Have What You Need
Successful blogger outreach is not a one-time event, but rather an on-going process. Continuous correspondence and timely appreciation have the potential to turn your sometime-blogger into a brand ambassador for life. Continue to treat the blogger like a valued partner.