Being part of a community has become a crucial part of the buyer journey. Brands have been forced to transform their marketing strategies and focus their efforts on building meaningful relationships. It’s one part relationship building, and one part marketing used to boost brand awareness and give your company more exposure.
Unlike traditional advertising that is solely focused on gaining customers, community building in marketing is more about connecting and engaging with customers to build long-term relationships and loyalty. How can you make your customers feel recognized, heard, and important?
Steps for you to get started implementing community building into your marketing strategy:
- Start by finding your niche. Successful community building and marketing includes identifying your audience and their needs/interests. You will be able to then create resources that will appeal to them, and in turn find user-generated content for testimonials and other marketing messages.
- Reach out to potential customers to form your community. The key is building relationships with potential customers and clients. Can you create a space for them to ask questions, connect with each other, and learn more about your team?
- Engage in social media conversations with current and potential customers. Having an online and engaging presence is a must in every marketing strategy. Ask questions, listen, and share your learnings with your team. Customer service, operations, content, and sales can all learn from what your customers are saying.
- Distribute your content across social media platforms. How can you reach a larger audience? What can you offer them? Use social channels for their intended purpose-being social. Stop trying to sell at every instance, and instead build relationships.
- Increase your visibility. What do you want to be known for? What niche can you own?
- Host events that bring together your audience. These could be webinars, livestreams, meetups, etc. This is how you will be able to build a community around shared interest.
An example of community marketing can be seen with Amazon. Amazon is growing its content partnership to help consumers switch from retail shopping to online shopping with Amazon as its first preference. This will help drive brand preference for customers who prefer other shopping portals over it. How are they achieving this?
“This campaign focused on driving conversations around the benefits and adoption experiences of online shopping. Community admins shared their personal stories with videos and photos that led them to trust Amazon as their preferred shopping destination who then further encouraged community members to do the same.”
Amazon’s campaign resulted in an increase in conversations about online shopping, mentions, and positive sentiment. Why they were able to achieve it:
“The campaign idea is what resonated with the members the most. While the content theme was consistent across all the communities, the unique experiences and testimonials of thousands of members attracted community members the most.”
Taking a community marketing-based approach can bring many benefits to your business.
- Reduce your dependency on paid advertising.
- Increase customer retention though ongoing engagement.
- Give your customers a voice in the direction of your business.
- Sell directly to your community by giving them what they want when they need it.