Show Love to your Community Through Marketing
Love is in the air! Many brands are always looking for new ways to show love to their audiences. In an all digital age, this can be challenging – copywriting can seem impersonal, and memes can only do so much. Still, using your brand’s marketing prowess to nurture relationships is extremely important. Communities that have formed around your brand can be a great tool to reach out and engage new audience members, not to mention these communities are probably some of the most loyal customers you have. So if you haven’t started nurturing your existing community as part of your marketing strategy, now is a great time to start!
This may sound basic, but it’s a great reminder – communities are about belonging. And at the end of the day, everyone likes to belong to something. This can be difficult using digital mediums because we aren’t all in a room talking to one another, but social media channels like Clubhouse are aiming to change that. There are also forums like Facebook, Reddit, and even Twitter can help with fostering a sense of community. As marketers, we are constantly putting emphasis on converting leads, website clicks, and ad views, but it’s about more than just the data. Listening to conversations about your brand is important, too. Making your customers feel like they are wanted will take you far – and that means connecting with them beyond the initial sales pitch.
Why Community Marketing?
It may not be immediately obvious why community marketing is a valuable strategy. After all, the goal is usually to get the brand in front of as many eyes as possible to get new customers. So why would you spend time and resources around customers who you’ve already secured? The answer is Brand Loyalty. The fact of the matter is that customers that you have already sold to or engaged with once or twice aren’t necessarily your customers. In many cases, they may have been looking for a specific product or service and your brand just happened to be there at the right time. And that’s great! Being there for what your customers need when they need it is important. But since more and more customers are interested in making purchase decisions based on what they need at the time, it’s up to the brands themselves to make sure these customers stick around for more instead of flocking to the latest trend.
Even if you aren’t aware of it, virtually every brand has a community of followers built around it. Why? Because buyers like to compare their experiences with each other. Remember – consumers are much more likely to trust their fellow consumers. People are eager to share their opinions and experiences with a product, and they are more likely to do so in a comfortable environment (such as a community forum on Reddit, Facebook, or other non-branded social media page). Think of it this way – it’s not that you aren’t getting honest feedback when you ask your customers, ‘tell us how we’re doing!’ in a feedback email, but the likelihood of getting any strong details is much higher in an informal social media community forum. If you want to take advantage of building a community for your brand, you’ll want to do so in a way that seems personal, non-invasive, and welcoming.
Brand Loyalty leads to Brand Growth
If community marketing focuses primarily on building relationships with your existing customers, how will you reach new customers? It may seem circular, but your community will be the answer. Ultimately, what you put into the community is what you’ll get out of it. The better you treat your community, the more likely it is that they’ll want to share their great experiences with others.
For example: imagine that you are part of a group that serves a great cause. Not only that, but the organizers care about the people involved on social media, personally talking to them and addressing concerns, and overall encouraging positive relationships within the community. If a friend asks you for a recommendation because they’re looking for something new, you’ll probably be excited to tell them about this group you’ve been a part of. Why? Because you’ve had a positive experience, and you want your friend to experience that, too. Not only that, but you wouldn’t bring your friend into something you didn’t trust.
This type of customer journey is becoming more and more common as we see the traditional sales funnel die out. The majority of customers are becoming less patient with the sales process and more skeptical of empty brand promises. Using community marketing can help you build brand loyalty and get your existing customers excited about your brand. Connecting with them authentically and making them feel important and heard can make your brand their go-to when it comes to a particular product or service. On the other side of the process, your community can use their positive experience to help your brand grow as they tell their friends about your brand. You get new customers, your existing customers feel appreciated – everyone wins!
Connecting with your Community means Talking With Them, Not At Them
As a marketer, you may focus a lot on conversational copy, memes, and videos – all things that get messages out to the people – to connect with your audience. But when you’re having those conversations, are you talking with your audience, or are you just talking at them? It’s a common mistake – we’re so excited to tell people about our message and mission that sometimes we forget to make them feel included. It’s ok – but now that you’ve identified the mistake, make sure that you take the steps to fix it.
An important part of successfully building a community around your brand is making your customers feel like they are a part of your brand. Their voice matters, and they not only want to have an opinion, but they also want to feel like they are being listened to. Write copy with them in mind, but be more interactive. Respond to their comments, really listen to their questions, and be a part of the conversation. That means no form responses on social media! Responding may take more time, but the payoff will make it worth it.
Building a community and fostering relationships requires brand authenticity, something that will continue to help your brand in the long run. Yes, in our blogs, we’ve talked a lot about brand authenticity – and that’s because it’s one of the foundations of building a solid brand, and not just in terms of community marketing. Spread love to your customers and let them know that they are an important part of your brand. They’ll continue to stand with you and help your brand grow. You want to create a great user experience, and community marketing can be a big part of that.
Don’t worry – community marketing isn’t necessarily the first thing people think of when it comes to marketing, and many brands aren’t taking advantage of it. Still, it’s something you’ll want to add to your strategy if it’s not already in there. If you find yourself wondering how to work community marketing into your company’s marketing efforts, don’t be afraid to contact us! We’ll help you spread the love. 🍑