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When you have just launched your start-up, you may be reluctant to invest in anything else other than your product or expand your business. However, creating a community is crucial as a business in this day and age. Most business owners consider it to be free advertising. There are a lot of benefits that you are bound to enjoy for the mere fact that you have an active and loyal community around your brand.

Some of these benefits are; a greater sense of customer loyalty, easier market research, word-of-mouth marketing, first buyers of your service or product, ideal investors of your crowdfunding campaign, and they can also make great employees for your company when it grows. Indeed, building a community is an all-around beneficial action that every business should embrace.

A community is essentially a group of people who are brought together by shared trust and values that can help your business grow exponentially. It is usually made of employees, friends, family, customers, and your bigger network. The latter is where your community has room to expand.

Here are strategies that you can implement to help you build a community around your startup;

Align your mission, vision, values, and beliefs with your community

The first thing that you need to do if you want your business to have a community around it is to clean up your house. Ensure that your mission, values, and beliefs match with those of your community’s preference.

Creative design

Having a unique and consistent visual brand identity and brand characters if possible will help you engrave your brand into people’s minds from the start. A great design for your logo and identity should not be costly. You can hire a creative freelancer from marketplaces such as Fiverr and Upwork and have them create it for you.

Remember that consumer brands are usually seen as lifestyle symbols; hence your brand identity will come in handy when you want to stimulate your community. Research other successful brands that your community likes and find out what makes them stand out.

So if you do the leg work, you will have an easier time promoting your company because it will have an identity that your people will be happy to be associated with.

Create a solid online presence

It is no secret that your customers have are most likely of spending their free time online. Creating a space for them online will make it easy to engage with them and get to understand their interests, wants, and needs. It could be a forum on your website, Facebook group, Instagram, or Twitter pages. It will communicate to your customers that you value their opinions.

Share customer testimonials and feedback

If you receive kind words from a satisfied customer about your business, share them through your social media pages. This will not only motivate other customers to give you their feedback as well, but it will also help them identify similarities with each other and trusts your business some more.

Create a reward program to appreciate your customers

Awarding the customers who engage with your business frequently is a nice way to show how you appreciate their loyalty. You may give discount codes to the people who share online the videos or images of themselves using your product or those who post on your community forums often. This will help increase the possibility of word of mouth and enable you to retain your existing customers.

Get in touch with influencers

Nowadays, the word influencer gets thrown around many times. It refers to the prominent individuals in a certain community such as lifestyle, tech, or fashion who can sway people’s buying decisions since people value and trust their opinions. You can capitalize on influencers to widen your community quickly. You can sponsor their vlogs or do an Instagram live interview with them.

Make an exclusive email list

Making an email list is a great way to build a sense of exclusivity. You can send discounts, exclusive codes, updates, and newsletters to community members using the email lists.

Host virtual events or virtual meetups

If there are circumstances that are preventing you from hosting one-on-one events, you can use zoom to connect with your community. The event can be something like a Q&A session or a documentary of how you created your product. Virtual meetups are also great since they help you to know your customers and to get acquainted with you and each other. This will boost trust and encourage loyalty.

Offer them value

People will not stick around if you do not give them value. Invest your energy and resources into building an amazing community experience. Share content that improved the lives of clients. Offer useful resources. Provide as much support as you can to make your community members happy. This could result in referrals, purchases, and more followers.

Support a social cause that stretches customer impact

Brands with a social impact that makes the lives of the bigger community better are particularly successful according to Joy Panos Stauber who owns a brand communication company. If you donate to a cause after every sale of a product you will be able to help the larger community and build one around your brand.

All in all, remember that growing a community around your brand takes time. Be patient and consistent and eventually you will achieve your goal.