This week I’m focusing on brands that go beyond having a social media presence to those who truly create a community online. The two brands that I’ll focus on in this article are GoPro and Grove Collaborative. Both brands are utilizing social media to build a community around their products.
GoPro, which makes the “world’s most versatile action cameras,” uses IG, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter to build their brand community. GoPro has done a good job divvying up how they interact with their community on each platform. Facebook includes sales info, while IG, Twitter, and TikTok specialize in sharing content – both from GoPro and re-shared community content. The YouTube video includes a mix of how-to videos, marketing content, and original & shared content.
One of the best ways GoPro uses social platforms to build community is through their use of shared community content. The GoPro Photo of the Day posts one user submitted photo each day of the year to post on their various social platforms. Beyond this photo challenge, the GoPro Awards allow users to upload photos and videos that range in subject from specific challenges to “anything awesome” to win cash prizes, features on social media, or GoPro gear.
People buy a GoPro for one of two reasons: they live an adventurous lifestyle or they’d like to. I think that the Photo of the Day is one of the best community building campaigns that GoPro offers because it is the most inclusive with the lowest entry point. While I may not live the lifestyle that will get awesome skydiving or surfing videos, I could likely snap one beautiful image.
Recently, GoPro ran a $1M Video Challenge which asked its community to submit videos using the new Hero 9 Black for a chance to be featured in their video showcasing what it means to be part of the #goprofamily and win a portion of the $1M prize money. This competition is one way that GoPro engaged its offline community through social media while also marketing its newest product.
Beyond social media, GoPro has a Support Hub on their website that users can post questions which can be answered both by GoPro Community Managers as well as individual users. The community guidelines for the support hub can be found here.
While GoPro has many avenues for building a community online, I believe they are only somewhat successful at engaging and managing that community. They have certainly figured out how to successfully utilize user-generated content through sharing on social media, but the brand rarely engages in the comments. The response to @kellyuuy in the image above seemed to be an outlier and would be a very easy way to extend their community engagement in a positive way. They do respond to negative comments on social, and often right in the comments which can make for a confusing comments full of frustrated GoPro users in the comments of each individual image.
Grove Co. is a favorite brand of mine. They are one of the first, and only, brands that I follow and interact with on social media. I think they’ve done a wonderful job building a community of enthusiasts through their online platforms. Grove Co. is a company that creates and curates environmentally friendly products. The company is currently plastic neutral with plans to be plastic-free by 2025. Their major draw is attainable sustainability.
Grove customer service is second-to-none. While they offer one-off purchase options, they also provide a highly customizable monthly shipment option. They remind you of your upcoming shipments with both emails and text messages to ensure that you don’t get stuck with an order that you didn’t want. They also regularly reach out via email to ask how they’re doing or invite their members to special discount events.
The brand is active not only in creating and marketing sustainable products, but in educating followers. They have an active blog that educates individuals on environmental issues and how each person can make easy swaps to attain a more sustainable lifestyle. They market these blog posts on all of their social channels, which include Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
Grove offers several really robust engagement opportunities including a product testing group and a partnership program which is a paid opportunity for online content creators to work with the company to create buzz and drive sales. They also grow their membership by offering really nice first order gift incentives as well as incentives for regular customers to refer friends. (This is my actual referral code because it would be ridiculous for me to NOT include it here!) Beyond formal partnership programs, I can say from personal experience that the company has done such a good job making its customers feel like part of a community that I regularly post about them online with no intended outcome except to spread the word of a company that I truly believe in.
Part of the reason that Grove Collaborative has such a phenomenal online community is because of their wonderful customer service both online and offline. They respond to every single comment on their own posts as well as responding to all mentions in other posts. They are also incredibly helpful in managing customer complaints through social media. The below image shows an exchange I found on a twitter post in which Grove not only helped the customer, but did so in such a way that the customer removed their initial complaint and also apologized to the company for complaining in the first place! If that isn’t a customer service success right there, I don’t know what is.
The Grove community experience goes well beyond responding to social media posts, or good customer service online, or even curating products that allows individuals to feel like they’re connected to a mission. The community feeling behind the brand is a part of every single aspect of shopping with them, from personalized check-ins about your order to hand-written notes on the outside of your 100% recyclable package.
These personal touches make consumers feel like community members, which in turn makes them want to spread the word about this awesome community and ask others to be part of it.