Branding Through Community Building Beyond Social Media

Social media has, over the past few years, restructured the way we view marketing and communication. Figures reveal that over 2.1 billion of the 3 billion active users of the Internet have an online social media presence. It would be unwise to not tap into this invaluable abundance of consumer behavior data to be used to garner attention and build a presence.

From a consumer’s perspective:

A brand’s active social media presence with inputs from real customers reassures probable customers and grants them trust- this could be with a follower count, reviews and high engagement from previous customers and social media users.

There is no limit on the number or type of brands that users can associate with online across the various social media platforms. From the user’s end, social media seems to be free. A detailed understanding of their online behavior, interests and preferences is the only thing that is for sale- for a cost that brands are most often willing to pay.

From the social media platform perspective:

Social media platforms play host to the users and brands, allowing each unit to create their own space online for free. This pursuit of creation from the user end has led to an almost addictive and predictable behavior for online browsing and purchasing.

Tackling this, the past few years have marked a paradigm shift in social media ads. Social media platforms profit by connecting the brands on their platforms to users who may convert possible customers based on their preferences. And all of this comes at a price.

From a brand’s perspective:

Most brands start off with a website and/or an app and immediately follow up with social media presences since the activation of it is usually free. A brand activates social profiles to summon a strong online network of consumers.

On one end, social media ads targeting likely customers are a result of learning user behaviors. On the other hand, would be gaining attention organically. On gaining traction and converting viewers to customers, even the satisfied customers become brand loyalists and reassociate with the brand. A few customers may also go a step further to promote their experience and advocate the brand, thus garnering more attention within the customer’s circle.

This second approach is seen as more effective thereby pushing many brands to supplement their ad spend with branding by building a social media community using forums.

In addition to eliminating potential competition from the same genre, this sense of community created could lend the user a sense of connection with the brand, converting them to loyalists and advocates adding to the genuinity of what they do/sell. Branding through community building finds the one thing that could potentially connect the users and collect them over a social media platform to open up discussions and offer them a customized journey without flailing attention.