If you’re looking to start a new business, you should be aware that competition is intense, regardless of industry. You must think of specific techniques to properly market your brand in order to attract the right audience. To begin, one of the most effective marketing tactics is community building or community marketing.
Community marketing is a brand growth strategy that focuses on bringing customers together around a topic that is aligned with your brand in an engaging and non-intrusive manner that prioritises your customers. It might help you demonstrate to your audience that you are committed to building genuine connections and relationships with the community you are attempting to serve.
Along with similar interests, the foundation of communities is a sense of belonging and emotional connection.
Furthermore, communities are not new, but their definition has changed from the old concept of a group of people living in the same geographical area. Indeed, the virtual world has enabled communities to form and grow without the necessity for face-to-face contact.
Communities can now exist via online forums, social media, blogs, podcasts, and a plethora of other digital venues.
Why Community Marketing?
Humans have an inbuilt want for connection, and there is a growing body of psychological study that investigates how profound that desire is. It has been demonstrated that people’s brains are most rewarded when they connect meaningfully with others.
Social links are essential to our pleasure and success, from our family and friends to our neighbourhood and our work team. So much so that when we are socially isolated for an extended period of time, our brains literally begin to weaken. Community marketing is giving a wonderful opportunity for marketers now more than ever, following the COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns around the world. It also implies that there is a lot more to generating brand growth and consumer engagement.
Also, keep in mind that buyers have practically limitless options in today’s market, and businesses can’t win just on features and pricing. It’s why consumer brands like Sephora have prioritised community in their growth strategies. It’s also why of late we’ve seen many IPOs including Roblox, Duolingo, and Poshmark. It helps them lead with their communities and demonstrate how important they are to their success.
Components of Community Marketing
The level of cohesiveness, interactivity, and specialisation of communities can vary greatly. However, the following elements are common to all community marketing initiatives:
1. A collection of people who have similar interests and hobbies
2. An innate sense of belonging and connection to something larger than oneself
3. People come to one other’s aid because of a sense of caring for members of the community
4. Interaction areas shared by the community, or a collection of shared practises that bring the group together and strengthen its culture
How to develop the perfect Community Marketing strategy?
Perceived usefulness, trust, and dedication are some of the important variables driving community success and improving member satisfaction.
A sense of loyalty and emotional connection is also essential. Members should have a sense of companionship with their fellow members, share information on a regular basis, and encourage membership to others.
We highlight the fundamental steps for establishing a community marketing strategy based on these characteristics.
1. Define the community’s purpose and focus
A community marketing plan must begin with a clear statement of purpose and focus. This description serves as the framework for community marketers to create activities with a defined direction.
Furthermore, activities that are linked with a community’s declared purpose and achieve its objectives shape and improve members’ happiness and commitment levels.
2. Create trust and authority
Building trust is critical in societies where the exchange of knowledge is essential. Members demand information that is truthful, reliable, and not skewed toward commercial goals.
As a result, community marketing initiatives should strive to avoid spam at all costs. This can have a significant impact on reputation and perceived authenticity. Owners of communities can disseminate information from trustworthy sources such as media publications or trade periodicals. They should also enlist the help of opinion leaders with extensive knowledge of the subject.
3. Encourage member involvement and networking
Importantly, community marketing plans should incorporate the development and promotion of areas for member engagement. In reality, in the virtual world, this might include social media platforms like LinkedIn, chat services like Slack or Discord, or discussion websites like Reddit.
In any case, community marketers should consider maintaining constant interactions with members, such as daily introductions of new members, or resort to contest marketing tactics such as quizzes and polls.
A community marketing approach should also include networking among members to reinforce a natural sense of kinship.
4. Host events
Hosting events is an excellent method to bring a community together and create emotional bonds among members.
Indeed, events are not only places to discuss pertinent themes and develop ideas, but they are also one-of-a-kind environments in which long-lasting relationships can be built. A potential combination with experiential marketing could bring a significant boost to your marketing plan.
Events can also encourage connection and engagement by utilising features like live chats, breakout rooms, and gamification. Furthermore, virtual and video-driven events increase accessibility and reach while allowing for quality interactions and meetings, bringing human emotions to the forefront.
Examples to learn from
- Duolingo provides a platform for users to discuss their doubts, struggles, and tips. It also gives fluent tutors a platform to host events centred on small groups for improved speaking practice and personalised feedback.
- Sephora’s Beauty Talk is a vast, well-organized forum where users can ask questions, discuss ideas, and have their beauty conundrums addressed by other beauty experts.
- My Starbucks Idea by Starbucks allows coffee fans to share and discuss their ideas.
Creating an interactive community requires significant upfront effort. Though, once in place, it provides a gold mine of potential for marketing teams. Community marketing can take many forms and has numerous advantages. It is, however, very personalised. It is not always obvious how to get started and implement successful strategies. However, as more organisations master online communities, the virtual world will undoubtedly see the development and utilisation of many more online communities.
Get in touch with us at Shaktiki Marketing to learn more about the most effective marketing strategy for your business.