Where it once was enough to amass a large following and call it a day, in the era of micro-influencers and a greater desire than ever for human connection following the Covid-19 pandemic, for many brands and influencers, cultivating a small but loyal community that is actively engaged in what you do is where engagement really counts.
Companies sell products and services to consumers all day, every day, but the truly special organizations, the ones that keep you coming back for more or make you a loyal client, are the ones that are able to offer something even better: a sense of community and belonging. So how have organizations found success doing just that?
Learning how to connect with your audience is all about finding the right mix to fit your brand identity and needs. It’s also about finding the right way to build trust.
Trust and connection to brands is incredibly important to consumers. As marketing experts and brand strategists who specialize in audience growth, helping our clients build audience trust is just as important as growing a bigger following or consumer base. This rings especially true for industries where trust matters most. For nonprofit and healthcare organizations for example, a vital part of brand strategy is finding ways to connect with donors, patients and others in a meaningful, transparent way. When Speak works with organizations, we get to know their individual needs and what they offer their audience, and we use that to guide them in building a strategy that’s right for them.
As a brand strategist, I help clients on whatever level they need with building community, from being a trusted advisor to jumping in with hands-on support. Today, I’m making a case for 3 ways brands can build a more thoughtful connection with community members, and in turn, build a brand that has a solid and loyal foundation to exist on for years to come.
Read on to learn about three organizations Speak is proud to partner with, and how we’ve helped change the game for the way they build trust and connection with their audience.
My Cup of Tea + Direct Outreach
My Cup of Tea offers premium teas from some of the world’s most seasoned blenders. But that’s not what makes them so special. Located in the oldest Black community in the country – Orange Mound in Memphis, TN – My Cup of Tea provides a vital lifeline to a community of women with marginal exposure to home economics and employment through the experience of ordering, labeling, bagging, marketing, and shipping over 30 varieties of world-renowned tea. Since 2020, we’ve been honing in on direct communication for MCOT’s outreach efforts, focusing on regular email communication with a loyal following that keeps up to date on the organization’s work.
Now, My Cup of Tea is in the running for Gannett’s (USA Today) A Community Thrives $25,000 grant. The grant would be momentous in providing support and aid to the community in Orange Mound, covering the soft costs (renderings, surveys, permits, etc.) of building 4 single-family, rent-to-own homes in the community.
We partnered with My Cup of Tea to pull out every stop and appeal directly to their audience. To get there, we created an email newsletter for them that outlined the huge need for affordable housing in Orange Mound and what this grant could do for the part they play in their community. We also created social media posts and designed a printout to go by their in-store registers with a QR code that took people to the link where they could donate.
Clearly, connecting in such a direct way with as many people as possible has been successful for My Cup of Tea – at the time of writing this, they have fulfilled the $6,000 donation requirement to be considered for the grant. Speak is honored to work with an organization that does such impactful work in their community.
If you’d like to donate to My Cup of Tea’s fundraising efforts, we encourage you to head to this link, where you can read about their story and mission and make your donation.
Lung Cancer Research Foundation + Facebook Groups
The Lung Cancer Research Foundation (LCRF) is on a mission to improve lung cancer outcomes by funding research for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of lung cancer. With a strategic and high-performing website design under our belt for LCRF, they opted to continue their partnership with Speak to hone in on audience growth strategies that would help them better connect with their audience of those living with lung cancer, their caregivers, donors, and others impacted by lung cancer.
Cancer survivors depend on the strength and support of communities, which is why LCRF created one: a Facebook Group called Together Separately.
Together Separately allows members of the community who have lung cancer or are supporting someone with lung cancer to ask and answer questions, interact with each other, and get connected with resources. Since March, we have been moderating and creating content calendars for the page and generating new ideas to get group members more involved and connected with one another. In our supporting role for the group, we create polls, Member of the Month spotlights, patient stories, and more.
The Facebook Group has provided LCRF an opportunity to better connect with their community in a more intimate setting. Not every person who is involved with or aware of LCRF is in the group, of course, but some of their most invested community members and those most affected by lung cancer are able to reap the benefits of LCRF’s community-mindedness.
Facebook Groups could be a great opportunity for your organization as well. With over 1.8 billion people using Facebook Groups every month, clearly this is an effective community building tool that many people use to connect with one another. By investing in this community, LCRF showcases their intention to care for and support those with lung cancer in a deeper way than through donations and informative resources and in turn, makes a bigger impact in the community of people they’re committed to helping.
Pediatrics East + Live Chats
The healthcare space can often feel confusing – if you Google your symptoms one too many times it can be easy to jump to the worst case scenario, and on the other end of the spectrum, it can be hard to know whether a symptom is worth talking to a doctor about or will resolve on its own.
Our client, Pediatrics East, aims to combat some of this confusion and strengthen their community at the same time through live online Q&A discussions.
These chats allow people to tune into the live event (we coordinate hosting for Peds East on Facebook Live, but there are many channels you can use for live discussion-based video content), and can communicate in real time with folks in front of the camera.
For Peds East, this looks like one or two doctors answering commonly asked questions that often don’t get a direct answer from a trusted source. A few weeks ago, we coordinated and moderated a Newborn Seminar for them that was a great success.
The goal here was to spotlight the doctors who offered medical advice and answers and allow those who tuned in to feel like they were in a one-on-one consult with doctors in real time by asking them common questions new parents have.
One particularly fun aspect of the Newborn Seminar? Micah Fleet, our newest Brand Strategist, is a former news anchor/reporter, so he served up questions in his best newscaster voice, put the doctors at ease, and made it fun for the viewers at home!
Want to strengthen your connection to your community? Or maybe build one yourself?
Speak partners with organizations across all industries. We’re passionate about moving people by telling stories that highlight the heart and values of businesses, from nonprofits to healthcare organizations and everything in between. If you’re looking for a partner who can help you identify your audience, build a community-centered marketing strategy, and make a difference, we’d love to hear from you.