June 10, 2022

Community Marketing - How To Use It to Grow Your Business

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Placing your customers at the center of your business is critical to the success of your brand. A real win relies on how your company engages with your loyal customers. This statement highlights how buyer retention is as necessary as customer acquisition.

Getting a new person to buy your product can be more costly than trying to retain an existing one. Thus, keeping your loyal customers is not only for sentimentality; it is also an economical and more innovative business strategy. This is where community marketing comes in. Read more of this article to learn why you should consider this tactic to grow your business.

What Is Community Marketing?

Community marketing is an advertising strategy with the primary goal of engaging the audience through non-intrusive methods. In contrast to other promotion tactics that aim to attract new customers, this one seeks to satisfy the needs of existing buyers.

This type of marketing involves interaction between a brand and a community of like-minded individuals, usually in an online environment. This can be through a targeted blog website, a Facebook group, or an online message board forum.

Community advertising can be an excellent way to foster a relationship between your brand and your audience. It can give your brand valuable data about your customers' buying habits and preferences while creating a space for your buyers where they feel important and valued.

With a solid online community marketing effort, you can retain more customers and spark interest in your brand online. This way, your brand's loyal supporters can help your business grow.

There are two common types of community marketing: organic and sponsored advertising. Read on to know the differences between the two.

Organic Community Marketing

Organic community advertising is the type of marketing that occurs without the brand's direct involvement. It spurs the demand and popularity of a product to grow naturally through word of mouth.

Even though today's marketing space is full of ingenious and innovative solutions, this kind of marketing is still effective. This strategy is also called natural or word-of-mouth marketing.

Sponsored Community Marketing

This type of advertising occurs when there is monetary backing for a community marketing campaign. This means the business is actively involved in creating an online space where your customers can interact with the brand.

Examples of sponsored community marketing campaigns include ads optimized for clicks and paid posts, also display ads, video ads, and word ads. These advertisements rely on various demographic and behavioral factors to be more effective in promoting a brand.

Paid and organic community-based marketing both have their advantages, but they can be more effective if used together.

You can improve customer experience with organic marketing by interacting with your followers. It adds a human element to your campaign that your fans will appreciate.

Meanwhile, with sponsored marketing, you can get the chance to expand your brand's reach by working with other people relevant in your industry.

The Importance of Community Marketing

If you are still undecided about spending time and effort on community marketing campaigns, here are the compelling advantages of taking on this approach.

Promotes Product Authenticity

Community marketing lets you adapt to the evolving needs of your customers. It can also help your product stay authentic, even though it might change with time and passing trends.

Because you heavily rely on your customer's expectations, you want a flexible product that evolves with your client base. This advantage promotes a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your buyers.

Supports Reinvention

In times of profound change, brands have to evolve to survive. But, for many, the impulse to wait for the trends to stop and worry about changing later remains strong. This problem increases the risk of failure and makes brands miss crucial opportunities to outshine the competition through changes driven by a loyal community.

By interacting with your community, your brand can reinvent itself organically. Your business can quickly identify which products and activities are no longer adding value, freeing up resources for new projects and initiatives.

Saves Time and Energy

You can follow the footsteps of Google, Nike, and Starbucks and build a strong brand by focusing on community-based marketing. These brands concentrated their efforts on making their existing customers happy, skipping complex market research altogether. This benefit allowed them to save time and energy.

Drives Innovation

A loyal and passionate brand community can be an excellent source of growth and innovation. For instance, Vans, a brand that only manufactured deck shoes, listened to the demand of its dedicated customers to sell custom surf shoes, skateboarding shoes, and skateboarding gear.

With the help of your old customers, you can identify new product ideas that can help drive growth and boost revenue. You do not have to do complicated product research to determine what to sell next. You only need to listen to the demand of your active community.

Boosts Customer Loyalty

Customers always turn to brands where they feel like they belong. Community building through digital marketing is similar to creating a family where mutual understanding and trust are the foundation.

Once your customers know and feel that they play a crucial role in your business, you will achieve a two-way relationship where both sides are equal.

Community Marketing Strategies

Building and fostering a brand community is a journey. Like any other expedition, you need to plan a route to follow, and we are here to help you out with that. Below are the strategies you need for a successful community marketing campaign.

Share Expertise

You have to differentiate your community from your competitors. One factor that can help you stand out from the crowd is expertise.

Your followers will be more involved if the community gives them an edge. This is regardless of whether it's in understanding the market more, completing their professional tasks better, or even knowing how to use your product more effectively.

All interactions within your community need to come from a space of adding value. So you need experts who can give valuable input to members with relative ease.

For example, you could invite a popular speaker to do a fireside chat during an event. Alternatively, you could tap an author to take the first look at an upcoming book chapter. You can even talk to influencers and get their unique perspectives on the challenges your members have.

Existing customers can offer insights on their buying journey and anything innovative they have achieved while working with your company. And, of course, industry experts can join your community to interact with members.

For your internal experts, you want to have a product manager who can provide insider secrets and tips on using your product better. You can choose to have your brand's leader do a series on their perspective about the brand's future trajectory or sector trends.

These ideas help market your brand and products in a more informative way. Whatever type of expert strategy you decide on, make sure it is exclusive only to your community. This will make people feel like they will miss out on something important if they do not join.

Build a Trusted Brand Community

Several benefits come with giving your customers a community-owned space where they can connect and share knowledge. Your followers will begin talking about their experiences with your product and brand organically. These talks can lead to higher word-of-mouth marketing and customer recommendations.

Engaging individuals with a strong social experience in your community can encourage them to check in with it regularly and will grow their brand loyalty. They can become loyal to other members of the group, too.

For instance, Wilmington Healthcare's OnMedica community provides general practitioners and specialists with a trusted space to learn from their peers.

The group offers clinical reference material, education, expertise, news, views, and comments. Through the community, members can get a customer experience that improves their patient care and clinical knowledge. Meanwhile, the company benefits by having an active expert source that can inform the brand's market understanding and services.

Each community experience will vary depending on what content members respond to the most. Customers with on-the-go lifestyles would want short videos, conversations, and snappy articles. Meanwhile, introspective thinkers look for more in-depth pieces and longer discussions.

Over time, you can curate data within the community to understand what topics and content most resonate with your followers on social media platforms. This new information will allow you to fine-tune your marketing efforts to serve your customers better.

Hold Events

Holding events can be a simple way to create shared traditions within the community. Physical events can create a space outside of an online platform for members to meet face-to-face and strengthen their bonds.

Meanwhile, online events can help communities by uniting people at a specific time, around a particular topic, in a shared experience. Events are ideal for communities as they spur discussions and ideas long after the celebrations are over.

You can opt to hold events that attract your target community members. Just remember that these affairs can require a lot of resources to be successful. So plan them effectively and do your research beforehand on what activities would engage your customers the most.

If you already have a community, you can ask members what type of event to hold. Ask them what excites them, what event formats they like, and the speakers they want to hear from or see. Remember to go through community analytics to determine popular topics for your event track.

Collaborate With Influencers

Younger audiences can be cynical about traditional advertising. In a Harris Poll survey commissioned by Lithium Technologies, 74 percent of Millennials and Gen Zers do not want targeted advertising on their social media feeds.

A way to prevent yourself from making this mistake is to work with influencers. With influencer marketing, you will work with people who have powerful voices in your industry. You can tap civic leaders, social group members, coaches, or niche influencers within an online community.

How to Create a Brand Community

Brand communities today can be identified by three key characteristics. Understanding these elements can help you when you are coming up with a community marketing strategy.

  • People: These individuals with common interests and goals come together and differentiate themselves from those not part of the community.
  • Behaviors and acts: The people in the community act in ways that solidify their culture and the community's meaning.
  • Accountability and a sense of belonging: People understand the need to support other community members and work together to reach goals. This element fosters a sense of belonging to the group.

Now that you know the three characteristics of a community, you can create your own by considering the tips below.

Define Your Brand

If you want to create a community around your brand, you have to know what your brand is all about and what identity you want for it. This goes beyond what you sell or offer your customers. It involves your brand's mission, vision, voice, and personality.

To help you define your brand, answer the following questions:

  • What is your business trying to achieve?
  • Who are you trying to reach? Who do you want to help? What are your target demographics?
  • What do you want your brand to be known for?

Answering these questions is crucial before building a brand community. The more you underscore what your brand is all about, the more you can attract the people you are looking for.

Outline Your Goals

A brand community can serve as a way for you to make customer-driven decisions while spreading the word about your company.

But before you create one, you should ask yourself several questions that can help you highlight your goals. This way, you will have a clear-cut picture of success in terms of your community-based marketing campaigns.

Below are sample questions you should ask to point you in the right direction when creating a strategy for your brand community.

  • Why do you want to build a community? What is its ultimate purpose?
  • Do you want to help customers get answers to questions about your product?
  • How do you plan to keep community members engaged?
  • How can you measure the success of your brand community advertising efforts?
  • What specific metrics do you want to focus on? Is it lead generations or conversions?
  • How will your community goals align with your company goals?

These questions can help you create a community with a purpose that will not change even as your potential customers evolve.

Decide on a Platform

After outlining your goals, you will have to choose a platform where you will build your community. Today, there are several options for creating your community's home base. Below are successful examples.

  • Social media

There are two effective ways to manage a brand community on social media: creating a group or engaging through your platform.

For example, the jewelry retailer Ring Concierge has an Instagram business account run by the company's owner. The owner is hands-on and transparent with the brand's audience. She uses the account to communicate with customers, often holding Q and As to engage with followers.

Hashtags can also be a good way to foster a community on social media. You can use this feature to collect posts from followers under a unique hashtag associated with your brand. This way, you are spreading the word about your business while engaging your social media followers.

Another way to use social media for community marketing is by creating a group that your customers can join. Through Facebook pages or LinkedIn groups, your loyal buyers can interact with you and ask you questions about your products.

  • Forum

A forum can be an excellent way for a large community to interact about shared interests, whether they are directly about a specific brand or not.

For example, Spotify's community is based on an online forum, which works perfectly since it is a massive music streaming platform and has a wide audience. In the community, people discuss new music and share artists or playlists on the platform.

The forum is a smart way for the brand to spark conversations around their industry, with their music platform being right in the middle of it.

  • Third-party community solutions

For some businesses, third-party platforms can be the best way to foster a brand community. Options for this include sites like Discord, Mobilize, and Slack. These solutions allow users to create various channels and topics for community members to start conversations.

Engage With Your Community

To create long-term relationships with community members, you have to engage actively and interact with them regularly. This is the secret to a successful community marketing strategy. This constant attention gives members a reason to stay involved and support your brand.

You must respond to any and all questions, make up interesting discussion posts, and encourage new conversations within the community.

Pro Tip: Customer acquisition is much pricier than customer retention, so foster your brand community and nurture loyal customers.

Achieve Successful Community Marketing With Archive

Customer retention is essential now more than ever because buyers are more discerning, and their needs evolve faster. With community marketing, you can create a space for your brand's loyal supporters to stay with you and stay engaged.

To develop the best community advertising strategy, download Archive App today! With our help, you will surely find success in your content marketing and digital promotion efforts.

Reach out to Archive today and foster a successful brand community! With our help, tracking community members' discussions about your products can be easy and stress-free.

FAQs on Community Marketing

Who can use community marketing?

Community marketing can be helpful for companies with products that need regular maintenance and updates. Brands that offer products that can be confusing to consumers can also benefit from having a space where clients can ask questions at any time of the day.

Examples are personal computer companies, car manufacturers, pharmaceutical organizations, and credit card companies. But ultimately, any organization that values brand reputation can use community marketing.

Can community marketing grow my business?

Community marketing can help grow your brand by reducing your dependence on sponsored advertising while boosting customer retention. It can also help by giving your most loyal buyers a voice. Plus, it allows you to sell directly to your community members.

What types of customers can you target with community marketing?

Community marketing can be most effective for people who enjoy having a sense of brand loyalty and who put value in interactive customer service. These buyers value others' opinions and will readily discuss their buying experience with their friends, family, and co-workers.

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