Although all of the biggest brands are using social platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to build a sense of community among their fans, the truth is they have no control of these networks.
That’s why some brands have launched their own online communities, enabling them to be better in charge and more in touch with their most passionate enthusiasts. One trait these communities share: They offer value to their core audiences.
Here’s a look at five brands doing it well.
1. Procter & Gamble's "Being Girl"
Targeting adolescent girls, P&G's Being Girl promised to provide "advice and answers to your puberty and menstruation questions from experts." The site is broken into sections focused on topical self-care issues, such as menstruation, eating disorders, acne, and dating, using a "big-sister approach." It finds elegant ways of inserting brands, such as Always, Tampax, Secret, Gillette Venus, and Olay Fresh Effects, into the conversation without seeming overly promotional.
2. Johnson & Johnson's Diabetes Institute community page
The Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute is a community for licensed health-care professionals who treat patients with diabetes. It asks site visitors to "Join a community where diabetes practitioners are connecting and supporting each other to transform the future of care." While J&J is most known for its consumer-focused brands, it has made some breakthroughs in revolutionizing the diabetes health-care space. To make an impact on its core audience--licensed health-care providers--J&J decided to give them a platform to interact.
3. Adobe's "Behance" (Adobe is CMO.com's parent company)
Adobe's contribution to the creative media world speaks for itself: What creative doesn't use Photoshop? To complement that, the company bought social network Behance in 2012 for $150 million. Behance is an online platform for showcasing and discovering creative work. Creatives update their work in one place to broadcast it widely and efficiently. Companies explore the work and access talent on a global scale.
4. Sephora's "BeautyTalk"
Sephora's Beauty Talk community is a place where users can swap advice via discussion boards, ask and receive advice from experts, watch video tutorials from the Sephora Pro Team, get tips from celebrities, and read relevant articles from Sephora's blog, "Beauty and the Blog." It's a great way for Sephora to bring beauty enthusiasts into one place and win them over by proving to be useful.
5. Kraft's KraftRecipes.com community
The Kraft Recipes community targets home cooks. "Whether you're sharing a recipe or two, or looking for a quick and easy dinner idea, this is the place to make new friends and become inspired," Kraft writes on the community page. Users can folllw one another and communicate, making this less of a recipe site and more about connecting people.