Building Brand Awareness Through Communities

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Building Brand Awareness

Building your brand awareness through both online and in-person communities is key to building a successful company. Being involved in communities will not only help facilitate growth of your brand, but also offer you much more honest feedback than focus groups or surveys. Heavy involvement in communities also helps build the authenticity of your brand because of the level of engagement needed to be an active participant in these communities. 

Utilizing communities as a means of building awareness does not mean you are solely promoting your product or service. There may be a point in time where that is appropriate, but the goal in engaging with communities should be the interactions themselves. Communities provide the opportunity for you to build personal relationships, be a source of advice, hold discussions, and make strategic connections. All of these benefits allow you to build trust with your target market and lead you to a deeper understanding of your brand and customers. 

Online Communities

What constitutes an online community? Online communities center around shared interest and consist of groups of people who share advice, knowledge, or stories on that particular interest. You can find these communities in forums, on social media, or on their own particular website. If you are able to manage your online community presence well, you can establish a type of brand awareness that goes beyond logo recognition by communicating your value, expertise, and what makes your brand truly unique.  

There are many ways to engage with online communities. Here are some of the best practices for the most popular places to find online communities. 

Forums

Many online forums exist for special interests. When you are deciding which ones to engage in, make sure they are a part of your niche. Doing a simple Google search for your area of expertise plus forum will more than likely get you the results you need. But you also want to be sure you are specific in your keyword choice. For example, if your brand specializes in renovations, then searching for “renovations forum” would get you a number of options. However, looking through these forums can be time consuming if you happen to only do certain types of renovations. Make your search use more efficient by including your specialty or other services you may provide. 

Once you have found some forums that you can make contributions to, take advantage of the forum signature. In your signature you can provide your website or links to content that help draw attention to your particular product or service. The advantage to providing this information in your signature is that it appears on everything you post, and instead of shamelessly promoting your brand, you can instead focus on providing quality information and advice in your posts.  

Optimize your chances of building awareness through online forums by ensuring the forum is active and has a lot of views. Remember, that while the forum may be the right one for you, every title won’t be. Carefully examine the multiple topics on the forum so that you are responding to the ones where you can add the most value to the conversation. 

Facebook

Because of the sheer numbers, finding Facebook groups in your niche is worth investing your time. In much of the same way that you would use a search to find forums, you can do the same of Facebook. Search for groups that contain your brand’s keywords to see which groups are out there. 

Unlike forums where you can create an account and start engaging with people, most specialized groups on Facebook require you to fill out a questionnaire and be admitted to the group. Some even have rules about how you can and cannot promote your material. It is important to be careful of the group rules and to spend a majority of your time building a report with group members. It is considered bad form to join a group simply for the purpose of promoting your product or service. 

Instead, take time to read other posts to build a better idea of concerns or needs within the group. Make sure you are also asking questions as well as offering commentary. Engaging with people on a conversational level on Facebook groups can be very beneficial in the end for you. If you are there for the people and not just awareness, you will set yourself apart as a trustworthy and authentic brand which will then open the door for you to discuss your value propositions.  

LinkedIn

While Facebook has the advantage of people from all demographics represented, if your business appeals more to the professional world, then LinkedIn might be a great place for you to join groups. Their group system works much like Facebook’s, but the main difference is your audience. Chances are LinkedIn will lead you more towards groups who are also professionals in your field making it a place more suited for B2B situations. If your company is B2C, it could still be in your interest to be involved in the LinkedIn groups, but you will want to make sure you engage in other platforms as well. 

Reddit

While Reddit is a forum, we separate it as its own online community because of the subreddit feature. Reddit is great for finding very specific, close-knit communities to engage with. If your target market is very niche, Reddit might be a great option for you. 

Much like other forums and Facebook groups, Reddit users aren’t there for constant ads and your post will mostly likely be immediately dismissed if all you do is promote your brand. To optimize your presence on Reddit, you’ll need to spend a good deal of time becoming a valued member of the community. By responding to questions, uploading non-branded content, and promoting other interesting content, you can build the report you need to in order for others to engage with your content. 

A Quick Note

There will be times when it is appropriate for your to plug your product or service. Don’t shy away from these opportunities. Whenever someone asks directly about your product or service, that is your time to shine. We only warn against your branded content being the only interactions you have with people in online communities. Everything you do should return to building a relationship with future customers. While it may take a little bit to cultivate those relationships, engaging with online communities is well worth the effort. 

In-person Communities

For all the benefits online communities have, they should never be a total replacement for getting involved with your local community. If you are a local business, getting involved with your community should be a no brainer. Even if you aren’t a local business, holding face-to-face events with pertinent communities is always a smart move as well. First and foremost, in-person events give you the upper hand on building the relationship aspect of your customers’ journeys. They also give you the advantage to be involved on multiple levels. 

If your business is one that has commonality and overlap with other businesses, it may be a good idea for you to partner with them on seminars or workshops. From a monetary standpoint, partnering with another business can help with the costs, but it also builds professional relationships and connections that can then be allies in promoting your brand. 

Take advantage of all the opportunities your community offers for sponsorship as well. Sports teams, festivals, charity events, craft fairs, or concerts are all opportunities for you to sponsor something to get your name out there or for you to actually participate by having a stand or booth. The more you can engage with the people of your community face-to-face, the more people will be able to evaluate your value rather than relying on others’ opinions. 

Even in the situation where you have a truly innovative product or service, being involved in local events is still in your best interest because there is an already established audience. Yes, you could set up a workshop on your own or hold a similar event, but if you are trying to build awareness, you should take advantage of events where people will already be showing up. 

Integrating Communities in Your Awareness Strategy

Because communities are clearly people driven, engaging with communities will take a lot of your time and social capital. If you are considering getting involved with communities, make sure you are giving yourself the time to be truly present and provide quality interactions. You don’t want to cancel out the advantage of being present if you aren’t going to fully engage in those situations. To ensure the communities have your full attention, it may be beneficial to schedule specific time for online communities and make sure in-person events are scheduled with plenty of time to plan and prepare. 

In-person Communities in Your Awareness Strategy

Because communities are clearly people driven, engaging with communities will take a lot of your time and social capital. If you are considering getting involved with communities, make sure you are giving yourself the time to be truly present and provide quality interactions. You don’t want to cancel out the advantage of being present if you aren’t going to fully engage in those situations. To ensure the communities have your full attention, it may be beneficial to schedule specific time for online communities and make sure in-person events are scheduled with plenty of time to plan and prepare. 

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Chapter 1: Getting started

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Chapter 2: Coronavirus Cyberattack Statistics

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Chapter 3: General Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 4: Phishing & Email Attack Statistics

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Chapter 5: Industry Cybersecurity Statistics

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Chapter 6: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 7: Privacy Statistics

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Chapter 8: Privacy Statistics

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