Did you know, that on average, online communities around your brand gain an ROI of 6,469%?
The best online communities are the ones that are thriving with engaging discussions that people want to come back to again and again.
Brands are using these community groups to make prospective customers familiar with their brand, educate them, and eventually – turn them into paying customers.
If you were on the fence about building a community around your brand on LinkedIn, you might want to strongly consider it.
Aside from the exceptionally high ROI, the group will take your brand to the next level. There, you’ll be able to act more personally with your customers and share even more exclusive content.
And LinkedIn just so happens to be the best place to do outreach and get people to join your online community.
Nowadays, customers buy from people they know, like, and trust.
And there’s no better way to foster trust than in your own, a personal online community where you engage your audience.
Though it may sound time-consuming, once you have your community up and running, your target audience will start engaging with and helping each other.
It’s still highly recommended for you to be involved, but once your customers start helping each other – you’ll know you have made a successful online community.
In this guide, we’ll cover the ‘Why’ and the ‘How’ behind online communities. We’ll also show you how to set up a LinkedIn outreach campaign to grow your community.
- What Is a Brand Community and Why You Need One
- Online Communities Done Right: Top 3 Examples
- 3 Tactics and LinkedIn Outreach Strategies to Grow Your Online Community
First, you need to understand how brand communities work and how exactly they can amplify your reach.
So, let’s start there!
What Is a Brand Community and Why You Need One
Building a brand community isn’t just a marketing tactic.
It exemplifies everything your brand stands for, your values, and how you help other people.
While the end goal might be to drive sales, you should approach online communities with the objective of helping people and giving value.
A community group helps people centered around its topic meet a variety of needs, such as gaining a status, finding support, exploring ways to give back, and more.
Though, it’s important to note that a brand community is not the same as brand awareness.
Just because someone knows about your brand or has purchased from you, doesn’t mean they’re an engaged part of your community hub.
Your brand community is people who follow your content on social media, engage with it, and share your product and services. Chances are, they enjoy seeing your content and have some sort of an attachment too.
And that’s one of the biggest benefits of having your own brand community.
#1 Emotional connection
If your audience has some sort of an emotional connection with your brand, you’re most likely doing something right.
88% of branded communities have said the community has helped improve their customer experience.
When you have your own exclusive community, every member in there is an involved contributor.
They can ask you questions directly. And you can answer in a more personal way.
For example, people are more likely to resonate with an answer coming from your personal Facebook account, than your brand page.
For the most part, you’re more likely to find higher-quality community groups on Facebook (especially in the marketing world). And you’re better off using LinkedIn for outreach and member recruitment.
But we’ll cover more of that below.
First, here are a few more benefits of online communities you need to know about:
#2 Increase in customer retention and engagement
Making emotional connections is essential to growing your community.
For example, your Facebook group might be about LinkedIn marketing and outreach growth-hacks. But it’s the friendly atmosphere and helping attitude that’s going to keep bringing people back.
No matter what you sell, your customers are more likely to become repeat purchasers and devoted members of your brand community through consistent interaction and engagement.
After a while, your loyal customers become brand ambassadors and start engaging with each other.
When you inspire your community members, you transform them from customers to brand advocates.
That’s when you know you’ll have created an online community that people enjoy coming back to.
#3 Bigger reach
Finally, one (of the many) advantages online communities have is their reach.
Meaning, if you share a piece of content on your Facebook or LinkedIn page, the platform might throttle your reach and only half or a quarter of your followers might see it.
Meanwhile, if you share the same content in your private Facebook group, more people will see it and engage with it. This is, even more, the case if you’re doing it from your personal account and people see you as human (yourself), not a brand page.
All this, of course, while being free.
You pay nothing to create content (except your time) and engage your customers within an online community.
While LinkedIn ads are expensive and email marketing can be tricky to set up properly.
So, if you’re already investing in content marketing, you might want to strongly consider building an online community around your brand too.
In short – people can copy your features. But not your identity and community.
Now, let’s take a look at a couple of successful Facebook brand communities to give you more examples and inspiration.
Online Communities Done Right: Top 3 Examples
While LinkedIn groups can be an important part of your lead generation strategy, for the most part, Facebook groups are more active and engaging. Especially for marketers and growth hackers.
Here are a few examples:
#1 The LinkedIn Outreach Family
Yes, this is our own private Facebook community – The LinkedIn Outreach Family.
Instead of making a group about Expandi and all of its wonderful features, we wanted to create something else instead. A community group on all things outreach and LinkedIn marketing.
Because, as a family, we share everything. From personal experiences and insights to behind-the-scenes information on what’s going on in Expandi.
In addition to that, we also have loyal members sharing their own experiences on LinkedIn outreach.
With almost up to 1,000 members and outreach experts, you can expect content on sales flows, outreach templates, and other general value LinkedIn tips.
If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to join!
#2 B2B Marketers & Founders
B2B Marketers & Founders is a community group by Andrei Zinkevich for all things B2B marketing.
In the group, Andrei and the community members look at marketing in a full-funnel scope.
This includes everything from LinkedIn outreach to brand positioning, defining your target audience, optimizing your website, and more.
As a cherry on top, you can find a lot of free content within. Such as Andrei’s podcast, free courses, and other marketing guides.
Highly recommended if you’d like to take a step back and reconsider your overall marketing strategy.
Also, be sure to check out our best LinkedIn practices article based on my webinar with Andrei too!
#3 LinkedIn Growth Hackers
LinkedIn Growth Hackers is a private Facebook group for all things LinkedIn lead generation and outreach hacks.
With up to 18K members, you can expect a lot of different kinds of content and insights on LinkedIn growth hacking.
The group is based on 4 main values:
So, if you’re planning to network and share content, this is where you might want to do so.
Now, if you already have your own online community and you’re looking for ways to grow it, here’s how you can use LinkedIn to do so:
3 Tactics and LinkedIn Outreach Strategies to Grow Your Online Community
While you can use a number of marketing channels and strategies (e.g. content and community marketing) to grow your group, we’ll be primarily focusing on what we’re good at – cold LinkedIn outreach.
Though, you should also try all the other channels too to see what will work for your community group best.
For outreach, you’ll need to have 2 main things defined:
- Your current clients and customers.
- Your target market and the audience who are not in your group yet.
And that’s what most of the outreach tactics below will be based on.
Let’s get started.
1. Cold LinkedIn and email outreach
Part of what makes LinkedIn the best channel for your outreach is that you can find almost anyone on the platform – regardless of their location, country, or job role.
Then, to make things even more efficient and to make sure your prospect will see your message, you can also infuse email in your outreach flow for a truly omnichannel outreach.
The flow for this outreach to grow your online community goes something like this:
- Create a LinkedIn post.
- Boost your LinkedIn post with Lempod.
- Create an outreach campaign with Expandi.
- Create a Lemlist campaign to do email outreach once your prospects receive your LinkedIn connection request.
- User Zapier to connect and integrate the above tools so that they work in conjunction.
The idea is that once you create a post on LinkedIn and promote it with Lempod, you connect with all the people who commented on your post.
And to make sure they receive your message, you first connect with them on LinkedIn and then have Zapier automatically send a personalized email.
In the email, you briefly describe what your community is about and why they should join. Of course, the group should be relevant to their job role and target profile.
To learn how to set up the above outreach flow and the exact templates we used (which you can adjust so that they’re about your community group), check out our full article here: The Ultimate Omni Channel Growth Hack with hyper-personalization
2. Scraping competitor’s audience
Do you already know who your competitors are?
If so, there might be an untapped audience out there interested in your product or services. You just have to find them and give them a reason to care.
- Scraping LinkedIn search results.
- LinkedIn groups.
- Analyzing search engine results (Google).
- Spying on competitors on LinkedIn.
- Scraping their Facebook or Twitter following.
For the last tactic, we scraped one of our competitor’s own community groups on Facebook and reached out to them on LinkedIn!
In the LinkedIn connection message, we mentioned how we were also part of the same brand community, and most people were glad to connect!
And once you’re connected and have found something in common with your lead, you can then go in for your main CTA!
Check out our full LinkedIn competitor advertising strategy to learn how we achieved a ~72% acceptance rate and booked 42 + demos.
3. Use hyper-personalized outreach to get more interest
The reason most LinkedIn outreach fails is that people reuse the same, boring templates.
Whether you’re doing outreach for lead generation or to grow your online community, you’ll want to stand out in your outreach and convince your prospect to make a choice (your CTA – to join your community group).
And one of the best ways to stand out and get more replies is by using hyper-personalized, dynamic, images and GIFs.
Something like this:
With a hyper-personalized approach, your prospects will be completed to reply because you’ll stand out in their inbox and stay memorable.
Then, once you’ve got their attention and already demonstrated your authority, you can invite them to your online community.
Wondering how to set up a LinkedIn outreach flow that uses hyper-personalization to get more people in your online community?
Check out our guide on hyper-personalized LinkedIn personalization outreach to learn how to set up an outreach like this and how we achieved a ~72%+ acceptance rate.
To recap, online communities can have an exceptionally high ROI for your brand. And the sooner you start, the more you’ll be able to grow it.
For the most part, the best online communities nowadays are on Facebook. And LinkedIn is the best platform for outreach (along with email).
You can use LinkedIn to define your audience and then, use Expandi for outreach by following the above tactics we’ve covered. With Expandi, you can also integrate the platform with your other outreach tools (e.g. email for a true omnichannel outreach).
Ready to get started growing your online community using cold outreach?
Get started with a free 7-day Expandi trial now!
Looking for more outreach strategies to grow your brand?
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