During this era of virtual events, meetings, and get-togethers, building a digital community around your brand is more important than ever. And for beauty brands that are looking to stand out in a crowded marketplace and establish a built-in audience pre-launch or boost loyalty and engagement for VIP customers, creating a digital community may just be your best bet.
What Digital Community Building is And Why It’s Essential for Brands to Succeed in 2022
Good news: it’s more possible than ever to be a successful beauty entrepreneur today compared to all the generations before us. With fewer starting costs and barriers, independent brands continue to thrive.
But at the same time, there are a lot of beauty brands out there competing for consumers’ attention, meaning it takes more effort to stand apart, and a whole different strategy also. For a brand to be successful today it needs to feel real. Simply running ads isn’t enough nowadays.
Instead of overproduced, photoshopped content (think airbrushed Maybelline ads on the back of a Cosmo mag), today’s consumers prefer interacting with brands that are raw, transparent, and start a conversation. I see digital community building as an opportunity for customers to connect with one another, share how they use a brand’s product, share insights, jokes, and inspirations.
Yes, the connection of brand and customer on an authentic level is important, but community building means that the consumers are connecting with each other the way Harley Davidson fans throw their own rallies with each other or Lady Gaga helps her “monsters” feel seen, heard, and feel like they’re a part of something bigger—a tribe.
So how do you do that?
Two words: brand community. Growing your digital community with the strategies shared in this article is a great way to build a movement by creating platforms for customers to interact with one another while increasing loyalty and sales with your customers.
Similar to a real-life relationship, building trust with your customers is a long process. As brands are becoming more human, real, and adaptable, building a community is the extra step your brand can take to help your customers feel seen, addressed, and heard.
Your brand must have a strong core identity before all.
This means having clear brand values and a purpose that will look different for each brand.
Fenty Beauty is an example of a beauty brand that has created a growing, supportive cult-like gathering of beauty enthusiasts online. Simply scrolling through the comments on their IG posts, you can see how Fenty fans show up for one another with encouragement and validation, giving the brand a much-deserved reputation of inclusion.
4 Best Ways to Build Digital Community for your Beauty Brand
1. Facebook Groups
Although fewer people are active on Facebook, Facebook groups are still proving to be a solid strategy for building connections with loyal fans.
Have you noticed that you never see FB page content on the top of your newsfeed? Since Facebook’s major algorithm change back in 2018, Facebook pages started to be prioritized to almost nothing. This was also the same time Facebook rolled out a new feature—groups. Since then, thousands of brands have turned to this method of communicating in a more personalized way.
FB groups are a space to answer questions, swap tips, expand lifestyle content, share brand updates, conduct polls, and share exclusive promos. Taking it one step further, brands can take advantage of their Facebook groups in order to survey their next product pre-sell a new drop.
- If you have an existing FB page, invite all your FB page likers to join your group (FB has a simple button for that).
- Turn your group settings to private for exclusivity to entice new members and ensure privacy to encourage users to share more.
- Add a questionnaire for users to complete before being able to join the group to help you capture emails (maybe in exchange for a free sample or discount as an incentive).
- Be sure to fill out as much data as you can in your group settings (i.e. the type of group, description, tags, and linked pages) so that Facebook’s algorithm can better suggest your group to relevant users.
- Pay attention to curating posts that are more general to avoid being 100% promotional and sales-heavy (like Glossier).
- Groups are also a great place to recycle your older content – share your previous blog posts, youtube tutorials, etc.
- Keep in mind the goal with branded FB groups is that they quickly build up to be self-sufficient where customers are engaging with each other. Once your group grows, it’s helpful to have a moderator participate occasionally and curate conversation-starting content on a weekly basis.
- Facebook lives can also be conducted inside your groups. Bovanti Cosmetics hosts weekly live tutorials each Friday with a different theme each time, demonstrating how to use their products while interacting and responding to their followers in real-time.
2. Public Appearances
While platforms like Clubhouse are a thing of the past, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get yourself out there. Podcasts are still extremely relevant platforms for making public “virtual” appearances. Thousands of brand founders come on podcasts to share their stories and expertise with a wide audience.
Being a guest on a podcast in your niche can help you broaden your exposure to new audiences that can greatly benefit you. By going on and speaking about your experience or sharing valuable content, you’re reaching listeners in a highly targeted demographic.
Starting a podcast is an even better way of building connection, story and trust with your audience with the added bonus points of SEO. Beauty brands like Queen V are using podcasts to establish an indirect emotional connection with their audience. “Spill the V,” Queen V’s podcast features stories from the founder, Lauren Steinberg, as well as stories from other female entrepreneurs.
- When finding a podcast to reach out to, think of how relevant your unique experience or background is. For example, if you’re a formulator, podcasts like Chemist’s Corner might be perfect for you. There are also countless beauty podcasts out there looking for new guests to come on for an episode.
- To contact a podcast, all you have to do is a quick Google search. Most will have their own website where you can find their contact information.
- Before reaching out to a show, think about what kind of stories you can offer to share. Is there a struggle you had before you launched? Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai went on the How I Built This podcast and shared her journey of being over $600,000 in debt before her brand took off.
- Not sure what to say? Think of an FAQ about a specific topic. For example, if you’re an eco-friendly brand, you could share best practices for shopping for sustainable brands or easy tips to live a more sustainable lifestyle. If you’re a haircare brand, consider talking about healthy hair tips.
- Is your brand new on the market? You can use podcasts to address any consumer objections or help overcome a learning curve. Podcasts can also be a platform where you announce company news.
Hosting free events such as Zoom webinars or IG or FB lives are majorly effective ways to add value to your customers’ lives while increasing connection and building community and keeping users engaged. The ultimate goal with these events is to provide education and spark conversation with your customers like Mented Cosmetics does with their Founders Zoom Panel series.
Glow Recipe’s Boss Babe interview series is another great example. Each month they interview an ambitious businesswoman or expert to offer their fans motivation, empowerment, and confidence, all the while reflecting their brand’s core values. If having strong brand values is something you’re struggling with nailing down, this is one of the first topics we cover in-depth in our C2C program opening doors soon. You can sign up for the waitlist here.
The more frequently you offer these, the more your audience will see you as a trustworthy and helpful resource, and, eventually, a thought leader in the industry. Another benefit of bringing on experts is that you’re able to borrow their audiences if they share about the workshop to their email lists, expediting your audience growth.
It’s all about finding what aligns best with your brand, whether you do it with a monthly series like Glow Recipe or like Bovanti Cosmetic’s weekly makeup tutorials on FB live with a different theme each time.
Action tip: Put an air of exclusivity around your events by capping the audience to a limited number. An even better option is to offer an invite-only to VIP customers (shoppers who’ve bought multiple times to build community.) Another key to building your brand community on larger zoom calls is to break out into smaller sub-groups or pods that are sorted by the participants’ age or experience.
Whether you love it or hate it, being active on Instagram is still as essential as ever.
Here are some of the top strategies to build your digital community on IG like no other:
- Reposting user-generated content, which makes your customers feel included and motivated to use your designated hashtags in the hopes of getting featured like Summer Friday’s and Ilia Beauty do so well.
- Sharing relatable posts. It’s not all about promotional content. Sharing relatable memes and lifestyle pics makes your customers understand your brand personality on a more personal level and helps them connect and engage with you.
- Replying to comments and DMs. This is a time-consuming process, but essential, so delegate this process if you need to.
At the end of the day, consumers in 2022 have a profound need for a sense of togetherness. At the same time, helping them find a strong digital community through your brand’s platforms is also the key to increasing loyalty and engagement with your shoppers. Using any of these tactics can help you achieve that, being sure to stay faithful to your brand’s core values throughout the process.
Ready to start implementing community building into your brand strategy (while being amongst other brand founders doing the same)? We’re launching our latest cohort of Conventional to Cult Status, our 16-week live group program, this August. Join our waitlist here to be the first to get access to it. Spots are limited.
Written by Aggie Burnett & Keemia Kaboli.