You’ve been managing your brand’s community for a while now. You’ve found an authentic voice, know the most active community members, and have a detailed calendar for the months ahead.
But, how’s your growth strategy? Do you look for ways to improve your processes and engagement levels or are you content with the status quo?
Sometimes a little inspiration is all you need to rise above the rut and find new, inventive ways to be better. I’ve put together a list of three brands that can teach you a thing or two about engagement and growth.
A Community Much Bigger Than Cooking
The Big Green Egg is a culinary community for owners of the Big Green Egg, a ceramic outdoor cooker that lets you make everything from pizza to ribs. Sounds pretty niche, right? Well, this enthusiastic group of outdoor chefs are participating in dozens of conversations a day on everything from recipes to questions to product features.
But if you really want to get a feel for how devoted the community is then you need to visit the Off-Topic Threads section. These are some of my favorite discussions on Big Green Egg:
- Hang in There…It’s Friday – This discussion quickly switches to a political conversation about the US election (which had yet to take place). If there’s one way to pique user interest, it’s politics! Keep in mind, this was user-generated content. I am not suggesting you start a Trump debate on your forum.
- What music are you listening to right now – The community’s taste in music varied from Elvis to Adele, and members were quick to offer suggestions based on other’s musical interests.
- What are you doing right now? – This question has generated more than 13,000 comments and 187,000 views. Who knew engagement could be so simple?
Of course, the heart of the community lies within the dynamic of recipe-sharing and product tips, but the Off-Topic threads provide users with an outlet to forge and strengthen relationships with other users. This focus on user experience and engagement above all else is critical in creating an active community.
A Place to Meet Your Hero and Follow Your Dreams
Random House’s Figment is an online writing community for teens and young adults. With hundreds of thousands of users, this community is buzzing with activity.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the site is the web design. It’s simple, yet fits with the community demographic. The rotating banner that shows off some of the unique features and prompts users to visit various sections of the site. There’s also a strong Call-To-Action that asks users to either Start Writing, Start Reading, or Start Talking.
Two of the standout features of this site are the Figment Chats and Featured Fig sections. The former is where community members can ask questions to some of the top writers, editors, and publishing professionals. The latter is where a member is featured weekly for their outstanding contributions to the Figment community.
Its Q&A style and provides users with an opportunity to talk about themselves and the community. Here’s what one user had to say, “Figment has a very welcoming atmosphere and you can find people of all levels of writing. Because it is so diverse, you can easily fit anywhere in the community.” These reviews are perfect for promoting the value of the community on social media and to stakeholders.
Finding the Strength in Similarities
Not surprisingly, BabyCenter is a community for new and expecting parents. As a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies, BabyCenter has had astronomical reach since it launched in 1997. According to stats from its Facebook page, the site has nurtured more than 300 million parents and reached over 78% of new and expectant moms online in the United States.
One of the more active sections of the site is called Birth Clubs, where parents can join a group based on the month and year their child was born. This connects users whose children are in the same stages and fosters real bonds. The BabyCenter mobile apps also allow users to stay connected with the community while they’re on-the-go.
For these three brands, community building starts with unique and creative engagement strategies. Sometimes you need to broaden the focus of your community, while others you need to find the niche. Whatever your needs, these three brand communities are worth checking out.