Everyone wants to know how to get an edge in today’s competitive business environment. With social media savvy consumers showing companies the true meaning of transparency, companies are winning and losing big in the cut-throat court of public approval. Fierce Loyalty author, Sarah Robinson, has put together a practical how-to guide that walks companies step-by-step through the building of a fiercely loyal community. We asked Sarah to share a few of her insights in a recent Q&A interview…
Question: How did you come up with this concept of building a fiercely loyal community around your business? What inspired you to write the book?
Sarah Robinson: Fierce Loyalty is a practical, put-it-to-work-now guide for understanding, building and fostering a Fiercely Loyal community of clients, customers and raving fans. I wrote it because so often I would sit down with clients to talk about building a strong community around their brands and the conversation would go something like this:
Me: So tell me what you think the keys to building a successful community are.
Them: Ummmm…..giving away great stuff? Or having an awesome community manager? Or copying what XYZ company is doing because they seem to have it right?
I went looking for a model that illustrated the key components of a wildly successful community to eliminate this kind of guessing for my clients. I couldn’t find one, so I did the research and built one myself.
Question: Why do brands and businesses need to start building a fiercely loyal community? How is this different from the traditional customer loyalty programs?
Sarah Robinson: Traditional customer loyalty programs, when done well, are really great. Most them, however, are a one-to-one, business to consumer relationship. Building a Fiercely Loyal Community of your best clients and customers allows you to leverage those relationships.
Not only are you talking to clients individually, you are talking to them in a group. AND you are connecting them to each other, creating the momentum of a crowd of raving fans.
Question: How do you get started building a fiercely loyal community? Where do you look to find those fiercely loyal fans?
Sarah Robinson: Look at what you already have. I always tell my clients, “Let’s find the five clients or customers who are most responsive to you. We can connect them and star building your community from there.”
The other thing to do is set up keyword search on all your social media channels, not just around your company name, but around the ideas that your company represents. Then you find people who are already demonstrating an interest in some aspect of your business.
Question: What does a fiercely loyal community do for a brand? How should companies leverage their community?
Sarah Robinson: There are lots of what I call ROI’s for a brand that develops and maintains a Fiercely Loyal Community. One of my favorites is that a community creates happier customers. Research shows that THE top factors that influence our feeling of happiness is meaningful connection and engagement.
When a company offers a community that gives customers a source of connection and engagement, the company itself becomes a source of happiness. And we are hard-pressed to give up a source of happiness once we find it.
And don’t we as business owners do better work when we are interacting with happy clients? I know I do. And happy clients return to do more business more often and also can spend more money with you. All in all, that’s a pretty spiffy return on forming a Fiercely Loyal community, don’t you think?
Question: What are the most common mistakes you see brands and businesses making when trying to build their communities?
Sarah Robinson: They want to control and dictate everything about the community. In an interview last week, I said, “Dictators aren’t known for inspiring Fierce Loyalty so don’t try to dictate the message and the terms of your community.”
Bring the community into the development process as soon as you can. Ask them to contribute thoughts and ideas. Give them some control over how the community operates. Or if that’s too radical, allow members to generate some of the content for the community.
Grab your copy of Fierce Loyalty: Unlocking the DNA of Wildly Successful Communities on Amazon or visit Sarah online at www.fierce-loyalty.com!