Building In-App Communities: How can they help your brand

Stuti Bhandari
June 23, 2023

You must have spent countless hours understanding your customers, refining your product, and marketing your brand. Despite this, you might face a major problem - spending a lot of resources on customer retention.

A study by MoEngage shows that "56% of users uninstall apps within 7 days of installation" and this is why in-app engagement strategies are extremely crucial. This might be a good time to jog a few more stats. Acquiring new customers can be 5x higher in cost than retaining existing customers. Not to forget that even a 5% increase in your customer retention strategies can double your revenue.

Interacting with users and giving them an interactive experience is very important. This makes them stick around for a long time and increase the retention of these users.

The features that can help you resolve this issue is hosting a community in your existing brand app. The community will make your brand impact your users and connect with your brand. Thereby giving them a sense of belonging and closeness to your products.

It will not only help you retain your user but also build a moat that will convert your users to evangelists, improve referrals and get you closer to your users so that you can create with them.

Investing in an in-app community for your brand can be your next big marketing, sales, customer service, and product development move. LikeMinds is here to help you understand everything you will need to build an in-app community for your brand but first, let's understand in-depth how a community integrated inside you app can help your brand.

Improved user experience

Building an in-app community will give you an upper hand on the user experience. Based on all the different user groups or cohorts, you can create different onboarding flows and community experiences. These experiences can be tailored to your user's needs and interests.

The app can also help the brand track its user behavior and engagement, thereby enabling the brand to better connect with its consumers and offer them customised product recommendations.

The customer has more chances of better conversation rates through customised content, recommendations, and the brand's personal touch.

Scope for maximum customization

An In-app community can provide maximum opportunity for customisation and help you navigate your members in the most beneficial way for your brand. This can make your community management journey much more effortless.

You can automate repetitive tasks, moderation, and even block calendars for events. The community can have multiple features like one-on-one and group messaging, broadcast announcements, and engagement options like polls, reactions, questions, etc.

The community can also have options to build more engaging and gamified strategies. You can have options like member badges, upvotes, top answers, leaderboards, etc.

Your community can have as many features as you can think.

A better understanding of the audience

The analytics that an in-app community can offer will help you understand your customer base and get direct consumer feedback to improve your product for the audience. Imagine the customer directly telling you what they want - won't that be amazing? It would make the efforts of your R&D team so much simpler, and they can work on solving bigger problems.

You can also make better connections with your audience. This would will help you network and build stronger relationships for your company.

More scope for brand collaborations and user-generated content

As mentioned earlier - building an in-app community will help you with every aspect of your business. It will give you more scope to engage with your audience by giving you many opportunities to discuss your brand and product. It will also prompt many conversations about your product. You can also bring in a lot of brand collaborations to keep your community engaged and build relations with other brands in the market.

Another pro of community can be User Generated Content. It means having content and conversations about your brand by your members rather than your brand itself. Content created by users can be highly impactful as compared to content created by the brand about the brand.

Adobe has been using UGC content to build their brand

Simpler referral programs

In case your brand is looking forward to creating Referral programs, the in-app community would give you a lot of scopes to play around and be creative with your referral programs. You can also have easier and more interactive onboarding for the users.  

Third-party vs. In-app

One of the basic questions while planning to launch a community is, where can you host your community? "Should your brand opt for an in-app community or go for a third-party community hosting app?"

The ideal factors to consider here are your development costs, user experience, and the value of community to your brand.

While any third-party hosting platform will give you basic features to interact with your users, it might not be able to contribute towards engaging and retaining them.

An in-app community will boost your engagement and retention and help you collect valuable data from your users to improve your business. The safety of your users' information would also be with you rather than the third-party platform.

While in-app communities can offer significant advantages over off-the-shelf hosting platforms, ensure you weigh both options properly.

To give you more context, let's discuss some examples of brands disrupting the industry with their in-app community strategies.

One of the most popular in-app brand community for a brand is Lego

In the early 2000s, Lego started facing competition from video games and the internet, but it found itself on the brink of bankruptcy. This was before the company staged a remarkable turnaround and became the world's largest toy-making company.

"One of the defining features of the past decade is the diminished power companies have in controlling customer interactions. While marketers used to initiate nearly all of the interactions a business might have with its customers," wrote Harvard Business Review.

LEGO's understanding of this made them recapture the toy market. In 2008, LEGO launched its community platform - LEGO Ideas platform. This allowed fans to submit new concepts and vote on proposals submitted by the brand. Chosen ideas were turned into sets for sale, and the designer received a 1% royalty.

This community has grown to cover a million users, more than 26,000 product ideas, and 28 sets produced. LEGO Studies, based on; LEGO Factory, based on LDraw. The LEGO Mosaic, based on Pixelego; and LEGO Vikings, based on a user-developed play theme.

They also launched its Ambassador Program and invited 20-25 LEGO fans to join each year and share their input on new product development and their ideas in general.

Crazy disruption in the industry, right?

There are many more popular companies that have set themselves apart or recaptured their market by leveraging in-app communities. You must have been a part of a lot of them.

Sephora, the beauty insider community, has a dedicated space for makeup enthusiasts and skincare fanatics to come together, ask questions, participate in challenges, share their new looks, swap tips and tricks and try out the latest Sephora products.

Man Matters, India's first holistic wellness platform for men, is also an example of a brand community. (Fun fact: Man-matters have integrated their community feature by LikeMinds and have been using it for a couple of months now)

Man Matters was able to increase their M1 retention and product purchases increased through the community. After experimenting with their feed and chat, they saw a 10% of new users are engaging on the community through chats.

They are also using the community to inculcate habits into user life to support their regrowth journey.

"By giving your customers the opportunity to connect and support each other, you can deliver exponentially more value at a fraction of the cost of traditional business tactics," says David Spinks, co-founder of CMX and author of The Business of Belonging.

Harley Davidson, the legacy brand with a cult-like following, has its brand community called the Harley Owners Group (HOG). HOG hosts rallies, events, and chapters giving their community members many opportunities to connect in-person. They give their members special benefits and exclusive access to the brand. Think about an entire community that advocates the brand and helps the brand maintain customers and adopt new ones more easily. (retention and acquisition benefits, told ya!)

Unlu, an online creator community achieved high retention and LTV through their community-led approach. They have an 82%-6 month retention and an annual revenue run-rate is INR 15CR. This was a growth through near zero marketing spend.

Learning apps like Duolingo, and SalesForce are brilliant examples of brand communities. There are also gaming apps like Fortnite, Call of Duty, Free Fire.

Wrapping things up!

Brands now give their members a platform to share, experience and connect with like-minded people. Consumers are looking for more than just a product in brands. They want to engage and feel connected and contribute to the brand, and brands are also trying to give their customers more valuable and rewarding experiences.  

So, ready to launch your in-app community?

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