We are witnessing a strong shift towards community-based marketing and away from intrusive, traditional marketing. But, how to leverage the power of community to market your brand? In this post, we’ll explore what community marketing is, and how it can improve customer experience with it.
What Is Community Marketing?
Community-based marketing is all about building a two-way conversation. When creating a community around your brand, you are looking to engage your audience in a non-intrusive, transparent way.
Nowadays, customers have more power than ever before. They can access almost unlimited information to make their buying decisions, as well as leave reviews of the products and services they buy. Moreover, they can also explore the social media accounts of the brands they are considering before making a decision.
A great example of the power of community it’s a study done by Reddit and Verto. According to the research, Reddit users (who usually belong to different communities inside the platform) are informed and confident in their decision, making 9x faster purchases and spending 15% more.
For all of these factors, traditional marketing (which is characterized by using intrusive methods) no longer has the success once had. Brands were almost forced to shift their strategies to a community-based model. This model allows customers to give feedback and have a say in brands’ products and services.
While traditional advertising focuses solely on getting new paying customers, community marketing is different. Instead, community-based marketing is all about building meaningful long-term relationships and connecting with people to develop and grow the brand together.
Benefits of Implementing Community-Based Marketing Strategies
Community-based marketing requires a solid strategy to succeed. According to The Community Roundtable, in 2021 37% of all communities reported having an Advanced Strategy (one that is approved, operational, and measurable).
Community building isn’t easy, but with the right strategy in place and some time, it can be very powerful for your brand. Let’s review what advantages you can enjoy when shifting towards community marketing.
Increase customer retention
With the rise of consumer review platforms, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to retain customers. All it takes is one or two bad reviews for customers to start looking elsewhere.
Building a strong community it’s a powerful way of retaining customers. They thrive with a sense of belonging in a group of like-minded individuals, becoming loyal not only to the brand but also to one another.
Obtain direct feedback to improve your brand
Brand success is directly tied to customer success. The better your customers can reach a goal or satisfy a need successfully with the help of your product and service, the easier it is to retain customers and increase brand advocacy.
A community-based approach allows customers to directly reach the brand to give feedback. You can hear firsthand what your customers think about your product or service, and what can you do to continuously improve it.
Get more sales
Paying for ads on social media and search it’s still useful for some situations, but it can become very costly very quickly. Instead, by building a community of engaged customers who already know your brand, you can sell directly to them with less effort.
However, keep in mind that people don’t join communities to be sold to. Instead of spamming your members with sales pitches, try to make it easier for them to buy directly from the community.
Create a more human brand
A well-built community inverts the traditional power dynamic between a brand and its consumers. Community-based marketing puts the power in the hands of the consumers.
If they trust the community, the result is a much more honest, transparent, and human interaction. In this situation, people will be sharing truthful opinions (both positive and negative), posting user-generated content, and creating deeper relationships among them.
7 Ideas to Leverage the Power of Community
Community-based marketing requires a long-term approach and a high level of commitment, but it’s worth the investment. Indeed, 85% of community professionals from a recent study said that their community had a positive impact on their business.
But, what can you do to start leveraging the power of building a strong community? Let’s review 7 impactful ideas you can implement today.
1#: Create engaging discussions
As we said earlier, nobody joins a community because they want to sign up for a hard sell. Instead, members join because they want to participate in a group of like-minded individuals who share similar interests.
Because of this, you will be better off by doing the effort to foster meaningful, lively discussions around your niche. Engage members, participate, and ask them for their opinion on different topics. This is the way to create a relevant atmosphere that makes members want to stay. And don’t forget to measure community engagement!
For example, Orbit, a community for community builders, leverages the power of Twitter spaces to host engaged discussions regularly
#2: Always add value
By creating a community you are positioning yourself as the expert in your specific niche. So, when participating in the community do it in a way that adds as much value as possible.
For example, you can share educational content and helpful resources such as tools. You can also offer your advice and help others with whatever problem they may be having. Building loyalty and meaningful relationships come hand in hand with helping people.
#3: Make it easy for members to contact you
By showing up to your community every day and participating, you are demonstrating to members that you care. Be sure to always make it clear they can reach you at any time to discuss whatever is on their minds.
#4: Create an affiliate program
Affiliate programs help you grow the community organically. By creating raving fans and incentivizing them with some type of benefit for recommending the community to their friends, family, and peers, you can attract new members.
Word of mouth is the most effective form of advertising, so use it! Brand advocates can be really helpful for starting and maintaining conversations, attracting more people to the community, and making new members feel welcome.
#5: Collect feedback
When you are building a community, your members’ opinions are crucial. You can use polls and similar tools to discover what your members think. For example, in what form do they prefer to consume content? Should you deliver videos or blog posts?
Ditch the guesswork. The more successful communities thrive on iterating their membership model based on members’ feedback.
#6: Host events
Hosting events is a common practice among community builders since it allows them to create rituals and a sense of tradition. Even if it’s once a year, you may consider hosting regular events.
This way, you create shared meaning and give members something to look forward to.
#7: Choose the right online platform
Even if your community focuses on in-person interaction, having an online group is a great way to bring people closer. You can use online groups and moderate them to start conversations and gather feedback.
Make sure you choose the platform that makes more sense for your specific community. For example, depending on your community’s characteristics, you may benefit from creating your own platform, opening a Facebook group, or setting up a Discord server.
After deciding to start building a community, the next important step is to choose your membership model. A tiered membership model has many benefits and it can help you kickstart your community’s journey.