Social stats cited in this article are correct at the time of publication.
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, cultivate brand loyalty, and foster a sense of community.
Building an engaging social media community requires strategic planning, useful content, and a genuine connection with your followers. To find inspiration and insights into effective community building, it’s always a good idea to look to successful examples from other brands that have mastered the art of creating thriving social media communities.
By exploring their strategies, tactics, and approaches, you can learn valuable lessons to apply to your own community-building efforts. Whether you're a small business, a marketer, or simply interested in the power of social media, these examples will provide inspiration and practical insights to help you create and nurture your own thriving social media community.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What is a social media community?
- What are the benefits of a thriving online community?
- 4 great examples of existing social media B2C communities
So, let's dive in and discover the key ingredients for building engaging and successful online B2C communities.
What is a social media community?
A social media community is a group of like-minded people who come together on an online platform to share their common interests. It can refer to any online group that gets together on forums or social networking sites.
Communities can be formed for virtually anything, including around particular brands, topics, or industries. They provide a sense of belonging and connection for their members, as they actively share their thoughts, experiences, and content related to the community’s focus. They provide a platform for engaging in discussions, sharing values, and encouraging a sense of camaraderie that goes beyond the social media platform.
Building and nurturing a social media community requires consistent effort, providing valuable content, and fostering a positive and inclusive environment for members to connect and thrive.
What are the benefits of a thriving online community?
Communities provide a sense of belonging and support to their members, as well as being a great source of information, resources, and inspiration. This fosters a positive and inclusive environment where members can freely express themselves, seek advice, and find support from like-minded individuals.
They’re ideal for businesses as they can leverage user-based content to amplify their marketing, communicate more directly with their customers, and provide them with a platform to share tips, advice, and ideas for getting the most out of their products and services.
Not to mention, having a central place full of loyal customers is the ideal place for cross-selling and upselling opportunities. Members who have a positive experience with a brand are more likely to be receptive to additional products or services, making the community an ideal space for businesses to promote and offer new offerings to their loyal customers.
4 great examples of existing social media B2C communities
Whatever your industry, any business can benefit from building its own thriving online community. Take a look at some of these examples from top brands who have really got the formula down for incredible online community building.
The LEGO Company has built a vibrant social media community centered around the passion and dedication of its fans. They’ve found a way to cater to their very different audience bases by creating segmented communities specifically tailored to different demographics. Here are just some of the ways LEGO has built such an engaged community online.
Segmentation for young and old
While LEGO is often associated with children, they have just as many adult fans. To cater to both markets, their website has a ‘kids zone’ and an area for ‘grown-ups’, each with its own distinct style, look, and features.
They also incorporate different community offerings to their target audiences, with things like mini-games and quizzes for kids, and discussion forums and marketplaces for adults.
By segmenting their audience in this way, LEGO has created an online community that caters to a wide range of people, ensuring maximum engagement.
User-generated content with LEGO Ideas
User-generated content is at the heart of LEGO’s community building. Nothing encapsulates this more than LEDO Ideas.
LEGO Ideas is an online platform where fans can submit their own original ideas for LEGO sets for a chance for it to be turned into an official LEGO product. The community votes on the ideas they like and the projects that receive enough support are reviewed by LEGO.
This initiative has allowed fans to actively participate in the creation process and be rewarded by seeing their creation brought to life. It generates a sense of ownership and collaboration within the community.
Alongside this, LEGO runs regular creative and original challenges that cater to specific segments of their audience, so members can show off their creations to fellow members of the community.
LEGO Ideas webpage
The building blocks of social media
Like all great online communities, LEGO maintains a strong presence across various social media platforms. As we know, different platforms attract different audiences, and so LEGO’s content is carefully crafted to match those respective audiences’ expectations - once again making use of segmentation.
But this segmentation is taken even further on platforms like Twitter, where LEGO has a number of different accounts based on specific areas of the brand. The main account is @LEGO_Group, where they announce new product lines and LEGO-based news. But they also leverage other Twitter accounts for more specific content, like the @LEGOBatmanMovie account, the @LEGOMarvelGame, and their @LEGOIdeas account, where they further share their UGC.
With over nine million followers on Instagram and 14 million followers on their Facebook page, LEGO has accumulated a dedicated online following with their regular updates, behind-the-scenes content, and fan-made creations.
Over the years, the LEGO Company has fostered a strong and passionate social media community. By actively engaging with fans, supporting user-generated content, and providing opportunities for participation, LEGO has built a dedicated following that not only loves their products but also feels connected to the brand and its values.
Nike has built a robust social media community that revolves around sports, fitness, and the brand's products. They have dedicated accounts for different sports categories, such as Nike Football, Nike Basketball, and Nike Running, allowing them to cater to specific interests and engage with fans in a targeted manner. Nike uses these channels to share inspiring content, athlete stories, product launches, and behind-the-scenes footage.
Dedicated fitness apps
Nike has developed dedicated mobile apps, namely Nike Run Club and Nike Training Club, which offer users a platform to track their running and training progress, access training plans, and connect with a community of like-minded individuals.
These Nike apps play a crucial role in building an online community by offering a platform for users to connect, engage, and share their experiences and passions. Through features such as challenges, personalized training plans, social sharing capabilities, and exclusive content, the apps foster a sense of camaraderie, motivation, and support among users so they can feel connected to the broader Nike community and strengthen their loyalty to the brand.
Nike has successfully launched hashtag campaigns to encourage user-generated content and community engagement. For example, campaigns like #justdoit, #nikefuel, and #nikefit have motivated fans to share their athletic achievements, showcase their Nike gear, and participate in fitness challenges.
These campaigns not only generate buzz but also create a sense of camaraderie among Nike enthusiasts.
Nike offers a membership program called NikePlus that enhances the online community experience. NikePlus members gain access to exclusive products, personalized recommendations, early access to sales, and special events.
The membership program goes beyond a mere customer relationship and establishes a shared identity and mutual support among those who are part of the NikePlus program. This sense of community enhances the overall brand experience, deepens customer loyalty, and fosters an ongoing connection between Nike and its most dedicated fans.
By leveraging social media platforms, mobile apps, events, and initiatives, Nike has successfully built a thriving social media community. Their focus on fostering engagement, inspiring athletes, and providing exclusive benefits has helped Nike connect with its target audience and create a sense of community that extends beyond their products.
One of the most recognizable coffee chains in the world, Starbucks has built a strong and engaged online community centered around its coffee culture, brand values, and customer experience. Here are some key aspects of the Starbucks social media community and how the company has built it.
Sharing the experience
A big part of the Starbucks culture is their customers sharing their drinks and Starbucks experiences on their social media channels. By utilizing hashtags like #Starbucks, #StarbucksCoffee, and #MyStarbucksExperience, Starbucks can use this UGC on their official accounts to showcase customer stories, unique beverage creations, and coffee art.
Campaign hashtags and tagging are hallmarks of many successful UGC campaigns, and the attractive, visual nature of Starbucks’ products is the perfect catalyst for this. By highlighting customer contributions, Starbucks fosters a sense of community and encourages customers to engage with the brand. Not to mention that it’s a low-effort way for customers to join in and directly show their love for the products and Starbucks brand.
Instagram search for #starbucks
Beyond the coffee
Aside from sharing user-generated content, they also share stories that draw back the curtain to let people into what goes on behind the scenes at the coffee brand. They highlight sustainability efforts, community initiatives, employee stories, and charitable partnerships.
By showcasing the human side of the brand and emphasizing its commitment to social responsibility, Starbucks increases the likelihood of building that much-needed emotional connection with its community that keeps people engaged and coming back for more.
Contests and challenges
Starbucks periodically hosts interactive contests and challenges on their social media platforms. These fun initiatives invite customers to join in, unleash their creativity, and connect with the Starbucks brand. From captivating photo contests to engaging caption challenges and even delightful cup customization and latte art competitions, Starbucks creates a vibrant sense of community and fosters friendly competition among their loyal enthusiasts. It's all about celebrating the shared passion for Starbucks and the joy of expressing one's unique talents within the community.
Through engaging content, user-generated content, behind-the-scenes stories, interactive contests, and responsive customer engagement, Starbucks has successfully built a vibrant social media community. With 18 million Instagram followers, two million TikTok followers, and 35 million Facebook followers, Starbucks has tapped into the passion for coffee, fostering customer interactions, and showcasing the brand's values that goes beyond simply selling coffee and has become an integral part of its customers' lifestyles.
Sephora has expertly fostered a captivating and interactive social media community that revolves around beauty, cosmetics, and self-expression. Let's explore the key elements of Sephora's thriving social media community and discover the strategies they have employed to cultivate it.
Sharing the love
Sephora actively encourages customers to share their beauty looks, product reviews, and makeup transformations on social media platforms using hashtags like #Sephora, #SephoraHaul, and #BeautyCommunity.
They frequently feature user-generated content on their official accounts, showcasing the creativity and unique styles of their customers. By highlighting customer contributions, Sephora fosters a sense of community and empowers customers to share their love for beauty with the rest of the community.
Beauty Insider Community
Sephora has an online community platform called the Beauty Insider Community. This forum allows beauty enthusiasts to connect, seek advice, share recommendations, and engage in discussions about products, trends, and techniques.
Sephora actively participates in the community, providing expert advice and hosting exclusive events. This initiative fosters a strong sense of community among beauty lovers and serves as a dedicated space for Sephora customers to connect, share their beauty experiences, seek advice, and engage in discussions related to makeup, skincare, haircare, and more. It’s a virtual meeting place for beauty lovers to interact with like-minded individuals, regardless of their skill level or expertise.
Beauty Insider Community homepage
Live streams and tutorials
Sephora hosts live-streaming events and tutorials across their social media platforms. These sessions feature beauty experts, makeup artists, and brand representatives showcasing new products, sharing tips, and demonstrating application techniques.
Viewers can participate in real-time by asking questions, commenting, and receiving personalized advice. These interactive sessions foster engagement and allow the community to connect with Sephora's experts.
Through their social media channels, user-generated content, beauty community platform, and live streams, Sephora has successfully built an interactive and inclusive social media community. By embracing self-expression, empowering customers to share their beauty journeys, and providing a platform for education and connection, Sephora has become a go-to destination for beauty enthusiasts seeking inspiration, guidance, and community.
To sum it up
Building a thriving social media community requires strategic planning, valuable content, and genuine connections with followers. Successful brands have demonstrated the power of community building through various strategies that have been uniquely tailored to their target audience. They leverage segmentation, user-generated content, dedicated platforms, exclusive benefits, interactive challenges, and responsive customer engagement to create engaged and inclusive communities.
The examples we’ve showcased have demonstrated the importance of fostering a sense of belonging, providing value, and encouraging active participation within the community. By learning from their approaches, businesses can unlock the potential of social media to connect with their audience, cultivate brand loyalty, and foster vibrant online social media communities.
‘Community’ isn’t a new thing in business, but only recently has it been recognized as a powerful tool to enhance go-to-market strategies and accelerate business growth. It’s the next big thing in SaaS, and when it’s done right - the impact can be huge.
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