Deep Thoughts

Build communities that will build your brand

Do you want to start a cult with me?

Don’t worry it’s not going to be one of those posts.

One of the biggest challenges many face in the today’s crowded market is communicating how great a product, service or piece of content is to an audience. Actually getting those individuals to use said service or engage with your resources can be just as troublesome.

I always tell those around me that you can build the best product or (in my industry) the greatest learning resource known to existence, but unless you actually tell people about this and make them care, then it’s worthless.

“If you build it, they won’t come”

Too many times I’ve seen great learning solutions that have been made with blood, sweat and tears for months on end fall by the wayside due to poorly executed communication and engagement plans.

You’ve poured your soul into creating something and no one gives a damn, you know what? Why should they? Did you actually tell your audience what it is you’ve created and why it should be important to them too?.

So now I’ve set the scene, what can we do about this? How do we get our audience excited and engaged with our creations?.

Tell real stories through real people

Marketing teams have used the tactic of building communities of brand advocates long before the days of social media to engage mass audiences.

They use groups of people who are bought into their brand to champion their messages in an authentic way. They do this by using real people to tell real stories about how they’ve used or think a product, service or piece of content is great.

You might commonly know this role today as that of the ‘influencer’ in the world of social media, yet make no mistake, this tactic has been in play for decades before Twitter or Instagram hit the scene.

Although not everyone is a fan of how the influencer culture has grown on social media platforms, we can learn much from connecting with people in a direct human way.

Within your business, you’ll want to identify and build a network of people who can be champions of your creations, people who can influence diverse communities across your organisation through the power of their own experiences.

Yes you can send out an email, build a fancy print media campaign and blah blah blah, but really what you need is to create that human connection.

There’s no better way of doing this, than by using real people to endorse your creation, to tell their stories and experiences to others about why your creation is the best thing since the iPhone was invented.

Building a network of influencers might sound like a social media only buzzword, but I assure you it’s a powerful and often under-utilised marketing tool in many industries.

One of the main drivers behind all humans is to not miss out on what others are doing and not be out of the crowd, now classically coined as FOMO (fear of missing out). If you have a group of people influencing your audience and creating the buzz, more people will want to join this community

You can look at your influencers as your own little mini marketing team as I do. They take your message, spread the word and make people feel like they too need to be using whatever new product or resource you’ve just released.

Within many organisations, you’ve probably heard these groups called champion networks or something similar, they all serve the same purpose just with different titles. What’s important, is that you build communities of people who want to play a part in the building of your brand by sharing your work with the masses.

Think about all the people you follow on Instagram, YouTube or any other social media platform. How many times have you made a purchase or took part in something due to their direct influence in them bringing this to your attention? I bet it’s a least a few, as I have too.

The takeaway

Next time you release your new shiny learning tool, resource or whatever you have, think about how you can market this to your audience with the biggest impact.

Create your own army of influencers within your business, those who can share your message with different communities, tell real stories through real people.

Finding people to endorse your creations can go a long way in getting more followers, as we always seek recommendations from the people around us.

I mean think about the tools or resources that you use in your personal life, I bet at some point someone told you a tale about how this product/tool/content changed their life.

(Note: Although I’ve talked about this more from a business viewpoint, this tactic and it’s methodology can be used in anything that you want to connect with an audience.)

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