If you ask how a branded community increases loyalty, you might get a response like this.
Participation doesn't lead to loyalty.
Loyalty (increased retention rates, premium buyers, increased frequency of purchase, greater advocacy) emerges from participating in value creation within that community. Value creation enforces a sense of shared destiny, responsibility, and reciprocity with the organisation.
If you're simply trying to ramp up participation, that's fine – sometimes it's even necessary – but it won't create the ROI you want.
Find the shared activities for the group. Create a sense of you and the customers working on resolving the same problems. You might:
- Make the community the place with latest news on the topic (org and members share their news)
- Have a place for members to highlight their biggest challenges and tackle one each week.
- Let members suggest topic-related initiatives that the brand helps the member to achieve.
- Create the right connections between members. Connect members that can help one another or are similar to one another.
- Create a wiki and gradually categorise and document every useful tip shared by members.
..there's not really a shortage of ideas for creating value.
This is the best part. The more value you co-create with members, the greater their loyalty to the brand. It's not just the value of the co-creation, it's how many members you can involve in the co-creation activities.
Aside, this is one of the best papers I've read on communities in a while.