Community marketing has become one of the buzzwords in the marketing realm. Nowadays, many brands have started seeing the power of communities for themselves and tapping into community marketing’s potential. But what exactly is community marketing, and how brands can implement it in their marketing strategy?
In this article, we first discuss the definition of community marketing and why brands need to pay extra attention to it. Then we talk about the benefits of community marketing and how brands can add community marketing to their overall marketing strategy.
The definition of community marketing
Defining online communities is not that simple, as is defining community marketing. According to Wikipedia, “community marketing is a strategy to engage an audience in an active, non-intrusive prospect and customer conversation.”
Community marketing is a great way to interact with groups of consumers. This type of marketing is a tactic that involves a brand interacting with a group of like-minded individuals in an online environment. This environment can be a social media platform, an existing forum, a blog or a branded online community, where fans of certain brands gather and engage with each other and the brand itself.
Unlike most other marketing strategies, which revolve around reaching new customers, finding new leads and making recent sales, community marketing rather focuses on cultivating a deeper relationship with existing customers and listening to their needs and wants.
Why is community marketing important?
80% of consumers believe that a brand’s positive experiences are just as important as the products and services it offers. Therefore, if a brand is not providing value to its consumers beyond transactions, it is going to be very difficult for the brand to foster long-term, meaningful relationships with them and create brand loyalty.
It is essential for brands to acknowledge the power of brand communities because these communities tap into humans’ social and emotional needs.
People usually use brand communities to communicate their passion for a particular brand and use the community to have that passion “reflected through relationships with other community members.”
Community marketing is the best way to create a two-way relationship between your brand and its audience. This is because customers who are satisfied with your products and services could become your most significant and most enthusiastic brand advocates.
The benefits of community marketing
Brand communities offer so many benefits that more and more brands are now beginning to consider holding their own online communities. These benefits include:
- Meaningful connection with your customers
- Creating more authenticity
- User-generated content
- Receiving direct feedback from your most engaged customers
- Getting innovative ideas from your community
- Creating affordable word-of-mouth
Meaningful connection with your customers
Through online communities and engaging with passionate fans, brands can cultivate a meaningful and deep relationship with their customers.
A meaningful relationship with customers is a great way to get to know them, and in today’s world, one cannot skip any opportunity to enhance that! Because the more information a brand gathers about its customers, the more likely it is to create and sell what its customers actually want.
Creating more authenticity
Brand authenticity is how consumers perceive a brand to be faithful and genuine as a business. In the digital era, authenticity is vital for any brand that wants to succeed. Since consumers are intuitive, they notice brands, listen to them and trust them.
Furthermore, having a community full of members who believe in a brand helps them to create more authentic perception among their existing fans and future customers. In a community, members interact with each other, and they spread this trust among themselves, which leads to more brand authenticity.
Community members who are engaged with a brand community tend to show their in different ways. One of them is through creating content.
User-generated content is very valuable for brands as it shows how much customers love a brand to be sharing their experiences in the form of a UGC. Moreover, through UGCs, brands can share real experiences of real people with their audience.
A community is the best place for gathering UGC because it is full of like-minded people who love a brand and inspire each other to create.
Receiving direct feedback from your most engaged customers
Since, in communities, members can directly talk to a brand, receiving feedback is super convenient. And who better to give feedback than your most engaged customers?
Getting innovative ideas from your community
People who join your community are usually the ones that are really interested in your brand’s products and services. This means that they are engaged customers who love what your brand offers.
Because these people know your brand’s offering very well, sometimes, they come up with the most innovative and valuable ideas for new products and services. And your brand’s community is the perfect place to share these creative ideas.
Creating affordable word-of-mouth
Creating word-of-mouth is one of the most attractive benefits of an online brand community. Certainly, word-of-mouth is probably the most effective form of marketing that leads to sales.
Your community members can create affordable yet valuable word-of-mouth for your brand since they are passionate about your products and services.
How to implement community marketing
Like any other marketing strategy, you need to take some fundamental steps to make it work to implement community marketing. The following paragraphs discuss how you can add community marketing to your brand’s marketing strategy.
- Create a dedicated space
- Find the most suitable candidates and invite them to your community
- Make house rules and create community guidelines
- Keep your community members engaged
- Promote your community
Create a dedicated space
The first step in community marketing is to create a dedicated space for your community. Although hosting your community on social media might sound attractive, it is not the best way to do it.
Although using social media platforms is free of charge, they are also full of distractions. You want your community members to be uninterrupted when interacting in your community. Furthermore, they usually don’t have the professional tools needed to manage an online community. Therefore, we recommend that you have a dedicated space to host your online community.
Find the most suitable candidates and invite them to your community
The next step is to identify the most qualified candidates.
This is important because the members of a community can significantly impact community operations. The engagement level of the members of any given community influences the engagement of the whole community. So, the more engaged they are, the more benefits they can offer the brand.
Make house rules and create community guidelines
The next step in creating a community and implementing community marketing is to create house rules and guidelines for your community.
What rules you create for your community depends on the purpose of your community. For example, if your community’s goal is to encourage users to interact with each other more, you need to set your guidelines to promote healthy behaviour.
If you are not sure how to write house rules, be sure to check this article out.
Keep your community members engaged
After inviting people to your community and establishing the rules, you must keep your community members engaged. An inactive community does not do you any good.
There are several ways to keep your community members engaged, including creating branded content, asking questions, offering exclusivity, etc.
But don’t worry if your community is not as engaged as you’d like it to be at the beginning. This article discusses different ways you can run community and advocacy marketing with an inactive community.
Promote your community
The final step of implementing community marketing is promoting your community. Brands usually have different channels to communicate with their audience.
To improve your community effectiveness, we recommend that you promote your community on all of your brand’s communication channels and customer journey touchpoints. This way, interested people can join and make your community more inspiring.
Useful tips on managing online communities
Nothing is perfect, and there is always room for improvement. So, you can always make adjustments to how you manage your community. Hopefully, these valuable tips will help you improve how you manage your online community.
Make your community members feel special
Everyone wants to feel unique. If your customers and community members feel special, they are more likely to stick around for longer and advocate for you. So, always make them feel special and offer exclusivity.
Being consistent is what makes people trust your brand. Inconsistency in interacting with your community members confuses them, which is one of the worst things you can do.
Consistency with the tone of voice when communicating with your audience is a general rule of thumb for any brand communication. It would help if you always used the same tone when interacting with your members.
Consistency with the timing of communication can also be highly valuable. That is because it helps users expect when to hear from you.
Use the right community management tools
Using the right tools to do any task is always good advice. Professional tools offer features that are specifically designed for a particular job.
Many brands offer community management tools with different features, like Pukket. We at Pukket provide our customers with top-class advocacy marketing and community management assistance and help them create word-of-mouth at scale. If you want to know more about our tools and features, fill in the form below, and we will contact you immediately.