This episode was inspired by one of my clients as we discussed their marketing strategy. Often during these conversations their brand in general comes up.
Briefly, let me tell you a little more about their business in terms of what type of audience they already have.
They already have an audience on the retail side of their business, but now they want to expand online. Of course, this created a lot of questions.
The primary question was, how do I build an online community for my luxury brand?
Over the last few years, a lot has changed in how customers decide which brands to support. One of the deciding factors when it comes to making purchases that have moved up in the decision-making process is supporting companies with aligned values.
Historically, brands with a solid community can navigate the dynamic world of business. Whether through a change in social or economic changes, or pivots. Brands with a dedicated audience have more leverage.
You’ll enjoy this episode if you’ve wondered how to build an online community for your luxury brand.
Let me share a back story; I started my first online community in 2007, unknowingly to me. It was around when blogging was fresh; there was no Instagram, and people primarily shared their ideas via a blog.
At the time, I had decided to create a free Blogger account to create my first blog in secret. Having no idea what I was doing, I just posted random things I loved. Eventually, I would narrow my focus to beauty posts, where I did product reviews on makeup. So that people could get a true experience of how the products performed and what the colors would look like on my skintone.
You see at the time you only ever came across products via TV ads or printed magazines. These forms of media only used models that didn’t look like your everyday person. So there was a gap in the market for people who wanted to a more realistic representation & review of products.
Due to the power of search at the time, people would stumble across my blog, read my reviews, and subscribe to my blog.
This was the onset of influencer and brands begin to recognize the power that we had to persuade people to buy their products. Of course, there is a lot to talk about around influencer marketing, etc. So I will save that for later.
Why did this work?
Because I was a person who was relatable and purchased the products on my own. My readers and community trusted my opinions. There were several of us that shared true experiences whether a product was great or a complete no buy.
Plus, my readers got to know me in the process, forming a unique bond that would eventually lead to me building a fantastic community. That I still remain in contact with today.
What is an Online Community?
So let’s go over what is an online community.
An online community is your unique space where people can find and interact with you and your brand.
The community comprises a group of like-minded individuals with similar interests, values, or preferences. They tend to find some commonality amongst themselves and reinforce those beliefs by engaging and interacting with each other frequently.
Don’t worry, I’ll be breaking this down further with some examples so you can better understand what I mean.
How do you create an online community?
So now that we know what an online community is, how do we even create one?
Most online communities are developed organically from your natural interests, that you end up sharing frequently. You may ask, “what type of content should I share online?”
That depends on a few factors, such as your target audience, who you want to reach, and the topics you want to discuss.
Then you’ll need to decide where actually to build your online community. Let’s break this down further, so it’s more digestible.
Start with your Target Audience
It’s essential to be clear about who you want to reach online regarding your business.
Let me illustrate this through an example.
Let’s say you sell luxury paper planner accessories and you want to focus on minimal planning.
So you decide that your target audience is primarily into paper planning but doesn’t want the bright, colorful planners. They are primarily women with professional careers and use their planners to manage their day.
With that background of information I want you to then think about…
What Are Your Values As a Luxury Brand
In this case, you love sophisticated planning accessories that are minimal and editorial. So the planning products that you’ve created reflect those same qualities. The bright colors and overly scripted fonts were not appealing to you.
From here, we can recognize some overlap of shared values with your audience and your products such as modern, minimal, simple, and sophisticated planning.
Decide how you’ll communicate or reach your audience
There are a lot of different ways to communicate with your target audience. First, I would look at where they are currently hanging out online. Then decide if its a place I want to hang out; this has to be a platform or medium that you enjoy creating content.
Continuing on with our paper planning business, let’s say you decide the best platform to reach your audience will be TikTok. You’ve already seen a lot of content on the platform from the paper planning community, and you may be hanging out there already. Plus, you love creating short-form video content and answering viewer questions.
Other places where you could create a community are
- Creating a Facebook group.
- Starting a private Slack or Discord community.
If you are going to use a Slack or Discord community, you’ll need to have another method of getting brand awareness. Since these are more private communities, you don’t benefit from organic discoverability like on Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook.
Check out this episode’s show notes and read the post on How to Build Brand Awareness for Your Luxury Brand. In the post, I go more in-depth about how to increase your luxury brand awareness.
Whichever method or platform you choose to build your online community. Remember to pick one platform, don’t try to be on all the platforms simultaneously. That will lead to burnout and inconsistency unless you have a great social media marketing team.
Now that you have decided on your platform of choice.
Next, learn the rules of engagement of that platform. Find out what form of content to create that will reach your audience. For example, on TikTok, you aren’t posting photos, so you’ll need to learn how to develop engaging short-form videos, TikTok SEO, etc.
Create Engaging Content
Then create consistent content, don’t post once a month, and expect a solid community of brand loyalists. Spend a healthy time on the platform and socialize with your audience. Pick a realistic posting schedule and stick to it. That way, your audience can get used to your content and see your luxury brand in their feeds regularly.
In the example of the luxury paper planning brand, some fantastic content to share would be
- How to plan your work week.
- How to determine what to prioritize for the day.
- 5 ways to organize your planner.
- 10 must-have accessories for your planner.
I would also sprinkle in some lifestyle content your audience might like. Other accessories being showcased, like planning a luxury spa day.
Get creative, think about other things your audience is interested in, and then incorporate that into your content if it aligns with your brand.
Get Your Online Community Onto Your Email List
If you know me, you know I’m going to say to get your online community onto your email list. At the same time, I think it’s great that social media platforms, groups, etc., can bring people together. Your email list is where you get direct access to your audience without gatekeepers unless your emails have deliverability issues.
Another reason is that, unfortunately, social media doesn’t show your content to all your followers, which means that many of your audience will miss your content, offers, etc.
I’ve had this happen before when a brand posted their offers and releases only on their social media channel, and I didn’t see it until days later. If they had sent an email, I would have seen it at the right time of the update.
Think about the lives of your audience and how often they are online. Personally, I’m not scrolling on Instagram all day; sometimes, I don’t even log onto it for days. If you aren’t sending an email, I won’t see it.
Most of your audience is probably the same way, so think from a realistic perspective.
Give it Time to Build
Most people give up before they even reach their goals. I always like to relate business to being a seed.
When we plant seeds, they are deep down inside of dirt. While we can’t see the activity happening under the ground, it’s still crucial that the soil quality is there and that we give the seed all the nutrients it needs to grow.
In that growth phase, we can’t see activity from the top, and it would be easy to get discouraged and think nothing is happening and quit.
But if we keep the consistency of continuing to water the seed, eventually, one day, we’ll start to see a leaf emerge. Once that leaf appears, then it’s like the growth just accelerates.
That’s because we’ve taken the time to show up despite any evidence that growth was happening faithfully. But we believed deeply enough to continue to water and give the seedling its nutrients to thrive.
You’ll need that mentality in business and when creating your online community. Remember to keep consistently showing up; your growth momentum will reward you in the end.
A quick recap is to be clear about your target audience, figure out what value overlap, select your chosen platform to build your community, get your audience onto your email list and give it enough time to thrive.
I hope this episode helped you on how to build an online community around your luxury brand. DM me on Instagram and let me know your favorite social media platform and where you plan to build your online community.