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Community Marketing
Tom Welbourne

Tom Welbourne

Helping Small and Medium Businesses Achieve Their Full Marketing Potential | Digital Marketing Expert




What Is Community Marketing?

Deep down, everyone wants to be part of a community – it’s a fact that humans thrive on interaction with others. Yes, even you!

Whether it’s support you are looking for or a community that will allow you to explore your hobby further, there is something out there for everyone. Especially with the help of social media marketing, it’s extremely easy to become part of a community nowadays.

Community marketing is a strategy that will not only create loyal customers but result in a number of consistent sales over the year, and a bunch of people supporting your business! 

But is that simple?

If you’re an online business, like an eCommerce store or some sort of agency, the community you should build will definitely be online. It’s easier, faster, and has a lot more potential.

Community marketing is often done on online groups via platforms like Facebook, Instagram, PInterest ads and various others across the web, but Facebook is definitely the most popular method to use.

A Facebook group would consist of a number of customers and a member of your business moderating the group. Once your community outlines their needs and desires, you have a chance to respond, and hopefully, win them over!

Although the most typical objective for online marketing campaigns is to build your audience and attract new customers, community marketing develops your relationships with existing customers to increase their loyalty.

Once you’ve got a large community backing your business, your ad spend can be reduced along with other advertising costs!

Community marketing also means that both your business and your community members receive value in the exchange. Your business gains feedback on the products and services you offer, and your community members feel appreciated and have access to exclusive content.

Before we get into the next steps, and you learn how to take action and build your community, it’s important to know how impactful community marketing actually is.

Key community marketing statistics you should know:

  • 86% of Fortune 500 companies report communities provide insight into customer needs

  • 96% of companies see the value that customer collaboration presents for the marketing department

  • 66% of companies say they turn to brand communities for product development

  • 71% of companies use customer collaborations for market research

  • 64% of companies state the brand community has improved their decision-making

  • 33% of companies report that branded communities alone have changed marketing plans and products

  • 80% of marketers indicate that building brand communities has increased traffic

  • 80% of consumers say that authenticity of content will influence them to follow a brand

 

Our 4 step guide to community marketing

Community marketing should always be focused on the consumer. The content you post and the comments you like should always have an underlying intention that will primarily benefit the consumer in order for your business to benefit in the future.  

The 4 step guide that we have created will allow you to find your audience, get them to support you, and teach you how to become an active member yourself.

Step 1: Who 

The first step in building your community is to identify your audience. Depending on your marketing experience, you may have a collection of detailed analytics that can tell you the type of person that engages with your content best. 

If you don’t, you need to create a ‘customer persona’, otherwise known as your ideal customer. They will be the person that engages with your content, buys your products, and joins your community.

Alongside demographic information, like age, race, sex, education, income and marital status, you should include detailed information about your customer’s buying habits, hobbies, preferences, and other key variables shown below.

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Step 2: What

Once you know who you are going to target, this step should be really easy.

You need to decide what benefits or value you intend to deliver to your community members to keep them engaged, entertained, and an active participant.

It doesn’t have to be a £50 gift card, it can be as little as a daily quote or tip to help them have a better day. 

It will be specific to your community, just make sure you deliver something that will spark an interest with your customers.

Think, what are my customer’s needs? 

Step 3: Where 

Deciding on what platform is best to host your community on is hard, but knowing your audience inside out will make the decision a lot easier. 

Once you know your audience demographics, doing some market research into social media platform demographics will quickly tell you if your audience is active on that specific platform. If they’re not, move on to the next one.

Agencies often recommend facebook marketing because it is renowned for having extremely diverse audience demographics, making it a successful platform for community marketing. But don’t feel forced to move straight to Facebook if your audience isn’t there.

Statista is a great platform to research social media platform audience demographics among other things.

Step 4: Participate

After completing steps 1-3, your community should be up and running, but it’s time for you to start participating.

A community without an active voice from your business will fail. You need to be engaging with your community on a daily basis, trying to gather feedback from your customers, and creating content that keeps them engaged. 

One thing that you should always remember when participating is to carry a consistent tone of voice and promote your business’s key morals and values. 

Your customers joined your community for a reason, don’t let them forget why!

Conclusion 

Community marketing is a long process that requires you to know your audience inside and out. 

If you’re willing to rise to the challenge, you will benefit tremendously from it, and so will your customers.

The statistics above show you that community marketing is extremely effective, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try. Your audience is out there, they’re just waiting to be found!

Despite the current pandemic, now is a better time than any to build a community around your business, take the leap and you thank me for it!

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