“Connection, along with love and belonging (two expressions of connection), is why we are here, and it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” — Brene Brown
Brene Brown, LCSW and author of several self-help books, is the queen of connection. Through her research, she’s concluded that in order for humanity to survive, we have to experience connection in our daily lives.
As a brand, there are several ways to foster connections with both existing and potential customers. At Recovery Brands, we’ve built two thriving online communities, one on on DrugAbuse.com and another on Recovery.org. Our communities are a one-stop shop for someone seeking information on addiction treatment, serving as safe havens for people to share their experiences and engage with other like-minded individuals. We’ve found the conversations to contain some of the most valuable information for our campaigns, product offerings, and ways we can better serve our audience.
So, what does it take to build your own vibrant and thriving online community?
I tell people to keep these 4 building blocks in mind when starting out:
- Purpose: What’s the driving factor behind your community? Is it a place for people to receive support? Are you looking for feedback on a particular services? Do you want to build out buyer personas? Identifying the “why” will help your brand determine how to best leverage the community.
- Empathy: When choosing a community manager, empathy is one of — if not the most! — important character traits. In the addiction treatment space, people will often share sensitive information that will require a response that addresses their concern. Being empathetic will not only help to humanize your brand, but also help to build trust amongst your customers.
- Connection: Have we mentioned this word enough so far?! It’s only because it’s imperative to your success! Ensuring that your community members are interacting with one another and that you’re sharing useful content for them to use will help to achieve this.
- Value: How is your community benefitting your customer? Not only should your community be a place to provide answers to common questions about your service or offerings, it should also be safe space for your customer to share their experiences. At the close of their online session, your customer should feel like they are now an expert on your brand.
Yes, building and maintaining online communities takes time and effort, but investing in your customer will help take your brand to the next level.
The connections you build now will serve you for years to come.