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The Other Social: Building a Brand Community Online

Social media is more than TikTok and Instagram. While they are just a few key players in the field, they aren't the only platforms businesses can use to connect and communicate with their audiences.





Platforms like Reddit, Discord, and Slack have emerged as powerful tools for creating and nurturing communities. In addition, these platforms can be used for businesses to build brand awareness and engage with customers.


This article will discuss how businesses can use these platforms to create their communities and what makes them worth trying.


What You Gain From Building Brand Community


Community building is a powerful marketing strategy businesses can use to connect with their target audience. By creating a community around their brand, businesses can foster brand loyalty, generate valuable feedback, and increase sales. Alternative online platforms such as Discord and Slack provide companies with an easy and cost-effective way to create and manage their communities.


Letting People Know Who You Are


One of the most significant benefits of community building is that it can help businesses to increase brand awareness. By creating a community around their brand, businesses can reach out to their target audience and build a loyal following. In addition, online social platforms can provide businesses with an easy way to connect with potential customers and generate interest in their products or services.


Chattin' it Up with Customers


Engagement is a crucial aspect of community building. By engaging with customers online, businesses can gain valuable insights into their customers' needs, preferences, and pain points.


It's the perfect way to study your audience without all the effort. Through engagement, you can develop better products, features, and services that customers have been asking for. Interacting with your customers can help build increased loyalty and advocacy, and let's not forget excitement!


Driving Sales


By creating a community around your brand, your audience will feel like they are a part of the action. As a result, brands can promote their products or alert their community of unique opportunities to a highly engaged and receptive audience. This can lead to increased sales and revenue for the business.





Using Social to Build Communities


Online platforms such as Reddit and Discord provide businesses with valuable solutions for community building. However, it's essential to understand each platform's unique features and limitations before deciding which one to use. Each platform may serve a purpose different from the other, so knowing what your end goal is, matters to the development and success of your online community.


Reddit


Reddit is a free platform where users can post and discuss content on various topics. Brands can use Reddit to create subreddits (i.e., communities) around their brand and engage with their target audience. With over 52 million daily active users, Reddit provides businesses with a massive audience to tap into.


However, it's essential to note that Reddit is a highly regulated platform, and businesses need to follow the platform's rules to avoid being banned or downvoted. You may need moderators to keep the chat up to your brand community standards.


Discord


A popular chat platform once used mainly by gamers, Discord allows users to communicate via text, voice, and video. Businesses can create their Discord servers and use them to build communities around their brand around anything, such as shared hobbies, brainstorming, or virtual hangouts. Discord is free and particularly useful for businesses that want to engage with their customers in real time and provide support or answer questions.




Slack


Who hasn't heard of Slack? It has become a staple for real-time communication and file sharing among remote teams around the globe. While not initially designed for community building, Slack hosts 150 countries.


Companies worldwide can create channels within their Slack workspace to build brand-centered communities. Slack is helpful for businesses that want to foster collaboration and communication among their employees or stakeholders. It's also great for networking and building company culture.


Quora


With over 300 million monthly active users, Quora provides a large and diverse audience for businesses to engage with. By answering questions related to their industry or products, businesses can establish themselves as thought leaders and experts in their field. According to Quora, companies that actively engage with the platform have seen a 300% increase in brand awareness.


While each platform has unique features and strengths, community building is not a one-time event. To build and nurture a community, businesses must invest time and effort into posting content, engaging with users, and addressing concerns and questions.




The Growing Popularity of Online Communities in Business


Online communities have become increasingly popular for brands in recent years. They provide businesses an easy and cost-effective way to connect with their target audience, generate feedback, and drive sales. Moreover, online communities can also help businesses to foster a sense of community and build brand loyalty.


The Customer Service Stats and Trends (2022) found that 75% of customers find value in interacting with other customers in a brand-specific online community. These social media communities increased customer retention as loyal customers are more likely to buy with a brand 60% more often.


While popular, it's important to recognize that building an online community isn't without its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is maintaining engagement and preventing the community from becoming inactive. Brands need to be proactive in creating content and opportunities for engagement to keep the community active and growing.


No one likes a keyboard warrior, and managing negative feedback or criticism can present another challenge to business leaders. While online communities can be a great source of positive feedback and support, they can also be a platform for customers to voice their frustrations or complaints. Therefore, businesses need to be prepared to handle negative feedback and address concerns in a timely and professional manner.


Which Online Community Is Right for Your Brand?


Building an online community can be a valuable investment for businesses despite the challenges. By using platforms such as Reddit, Discord, Slack, and Quora, companies can create communities around their brand, engage with customers, gather insights, and drive an increase in revenue. It's a long-term commitment that can pay off in the form of loyal customers and brand advocates.


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