3 Ways to Build Local Customer Communities Like Lyft, TOMS, and Airbnb

It seems that brands that are great at building large, engaged digital followings are also expert at growing local customer communities.  Here are three ways your company can connect with your supporters offline and build your reputation as a key leader in your community:

TOMS Shoes VeniceUse your space to serve your community.

The We First office is a few blocks away from the TOMS flagship store in Venice. We love popping in because it’s not just a shoe store- It’s a coffee house, community center, and shoe store all in one. Many locals come to work or have meetings outside in the sunny courtyard and the store has a whole calendar of events, from movie screenings to arts and crafts nights, all in the name of helping like-minded people connect.

Airbnb Hello LA VeniceCelebrate the most interesting people, places, and experiences in your city.

Airbnb recently launched a “five-day hospitality experience” called Hello LA.  Five celebrity-curated prefab “pop-up listings” were installed in interesting L.A. spots including an outdoor shopping center, a cemetery, and an urban garden in Venice. With parties, concerts, celebrity appearances, and design workshops, Airbnb’s VP of Marketing called it a “love letter to a larger-than-life city, made of eclectic, creative people across a diverse cultural and geographical landscape.”

Host meetups for your customer champions.

When peer-to-peer ridesharing company, Lyft, got a cease and desist from the Los Angeles Board of Taxicab Commissioners, they hosted a Lyft Community Meeting for their customers, drivers, and supporters. It was a full night with food, drinks, and music, but most importantly it was a forum for people to share and document their personal Lyft stories and meet other “sharing economy” proponents and activists.

Though technology now helps us connect with others on a global scale, the reality is that both face-to-face and virtual communication are essential components to any company’s customer engagement strategy.