Here’s why you need a community to grow your brand.

Humans are social beings, we can never sustain ourselves in isolation. A community for humans is an essential need just like food, water and shelter. Successful marketers understand this and optimise on this need of users to build a loyal user base for their brands.

Building a community is important for every brand and company aiming to win customers' hearts and flourish in the market. But it is also a rather challenging task to accomplish. 

Building a community requires a deep understanding of the customers, proper tools, content and patience. 

What are Online Community and Community spaces?

Community space is basically a platform to bring together the customers and users of a particular product or service to a single platform where they can share, suggest, and connect with each other.

It’s like a digital cafe where people can get together and bond with each other. And a company’s community are all its loyal customers or users.

Companies like Sephora, Duolingo, Starbucks and LEGO thrive because of a robust community supporting them. Community space differs for every company, each company designs the space considering its vision and customer needs. For example, Sephora’s Beauty Insider Community is a space for skincare and make-up enthusiasts to come together and share their ideas and thoughts. While for Duolingo, their community space allows users to share their progress and suggestions and uses it to improve their product and services. 

Why does my brand need a community?

There are obvious reasons for building a community. Every marketer, CEO and business owner understands that a company, especially a budding one, requires a strong customer base they can rely on. Users and customers who have a strong sense of belonging to the company help the company through word-of-mouth marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing can, a lot of the time, influence people better than other forms of advertisements. 

Having a community aids communication with customers. All you need is one digital space to post about the new updates, and launches or conduct fun giveaways!

Digital presence for a company, any company has become an imperative part of the marketing strategy. And having a digital space for your community makes communicating with your customers and users easier, faster, more convenient and much more efficient. 

A lot of companies also use their communities to gain feedback from their users or customers. The feedbacks and suggestions help the companies to continually improve their products and services to meet their customers' needs. 

Where do we build our community?

Social media networks like Facebook used to be the go-to network for conducting their communities. However, recent data shows that people are moving away from Facebook, with the daily active users dipping by nearly one billion users for the first time in its history. These platforms are still widely used in marketing strategy but their effectiveness has declined. 

One of the reasons why marketers are moving on from Facebook for marketing and building communities is this decline in the active user base of Facebook. Facebook users across the world are concerned about their data privacy. The saturation of the user experience also contributes to users' frustration. Plus, the monetisation model of Facebook leads to increased irrelevant ads for users. For marketers, Facebook ads don’t give as efficient returns on investment as they used to. 

Building a community or audience on Facebook can sometimes be limiting as Facebook offers limited features and functions. To add to it there are tons of distractions and very less control over the community. 

Some of the recent alternative platforms for building a community are Mighty networks, Circle.so, Slack, Discourse, and Heartbeat.chat .Slack is a popular platform, especially for internal communication among the company. Although many companies and start-ups also use slack to get close to their community. 

Mighty Networks is a membership community platform that allows businesses to create paid membership, community, courses and content. Some of its features include online subscriptions, a website builder, online courses and a community. 

Unlike Mighty which has been around for a decade, Circle.so is a relatively new platform but is equally preferred. Circle allows brands to design custom domains so that their community can feel organic. It allows private spaces, in-app notification, weekly digest mail, member profiles, direct messaging and many more useful features. 

But there’s another platform that has benefits from both these platforms! Heartbeat.chat is a platform that aims to build a world where anyone can jump and find a place they are accepted as their true self. 

Mighty Networks V/s Circle.so V/s Heartbeat.chat

 

Mighty Networks

Circle.so

Heartbeat.chat

Pricing (per month)

$33, $99 

$39,$99, $399

$29, $99, custom

Features

     

Platforms

Android, iOS, Desktop, website

iOS, website, desktop

Android, iOS, Desktop, website

Members

1000 to unlimited

1000 to 100,000

1000 to unlimited

Customisation

Minimal 

Full

Full

Integration

Limited integration 

Integration with established platforms

Integration with platforms like Zapier, Zoom, Google Calendar, Stripe etc.

 

No API, CSS or iFrame

API, CSS and iFrame integration

Full API documentation

You can find my detailed review of Heartbeat. chat here. 

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