As the global market tears away all of the boundaries between businesses and customers, brand communities emerge as the meeting point of these two worlds. The question for you is: how can I join the party? By building a social community!
Why Build a Social Community?
One of the more common ways of gathering customer insights is to wait for your customers to leave a comment or review on your product or service. This is also the slowest and ineffective way. Probably a clear marker of a business that is not adequately dealing with its marketing and sales. What you want is to be proactive. You have to reach out to people, offer them a platform in which they feel heard. Do this by listen to their opinions on what you should do to improve your service or product. To establish a proper line of communication with your audience, you need an online platform where you can gather your followers in one place. And, that’s where the social communities come into play. By basing your marketing strategy on your social community, you cut costs, save time and increase business efficiency.
Social communities have become the staple method for interacting with your audience. The ancient ways of marketing, like simple advertising, are no longer profitable enough to justify relying only on them.
Related: Private Social Network
They have become dated and are being quickly exchanged for social media. Social media marketing along with private social networks are the most affordable. Most are direct and the fastest way to interact with your customers. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of opting for this route. Phew, where do we even begin?
Benefits of a social community
- With the space that you provide your community, you empower them to communicate, exchange experiences, and spread your brand through the market. You’d normally have to spend a royal sum to achieve this kind of buzz through advertising. Social communities organically create this for you and for free!
- Generating leads and boosting conversion rates is another free perk; since organized online communities affect not only the PR side, but the technical aspects of sales and marketing as well.
- There is no cap limiting your growth; no need to hire more managers and marketing experts. And to sacrifice your personal life to micro-manage all of the aspects of audience-interaction. Social communities have mechanisms for self-regulation, which you only have to observe and adjust to from time to time.
And, these perks are just skimming the surface of the potential benefits.
For even more insight into this new age of marketing, consult Richard Millington’s Book Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities. This information presents a data-driven approach to community building. It is a must-read for anyone wanting to build effective online communities.
Insights into the Customer Journey
Another plus of the social community: it can help you meet and befriend your customers through the Customer’s Journey. Through the eyes of your private social network, you can watch your now fledgling group flourish into a thriving community united around a common theme: your brand. As they ask questions about your product or service, you can map their trail of thought and utilize their comments to upgrade your service and business in general. Diligent and loyal customers will become spokespeople for your brand as they answer questions, contribute with their own content, and provide assistance to potential newcomers. Apart from creating a hearth for your followers to gather and talk around, you diminish the work of your customers support department just by giving your target audience a voice!
Read more about incentivization through gamification here.
Sharing should be the soul of your community; it’s what will make it big and cozy.
Give Your Customers the VIP Experience
Don’t we all love to be heard? Especially when what we speak of makes an impact. Your audience isn’t an exception. Look back to the first days of social media. Do you remember the feeling of exclusivity you had just because you were being shown your favorite shows, bands, and content? Your profile helped discern what you were most interested in. You no longer had to hunt for info on TV. The right brands found your digital doorsteps themselves.
Today, you can take it a step closer. You can establish a community where people who share the same interests can openly discuss your brand – and even get an answer from a brand representative. In fact, branded communities go even further.
They turn the whole idea of brand exclusiveness inside-out. There are no boundaries between the customer and the business in branded communities. Your brand and your followers are one and the same. Followers become members of the brand. While you as the business owner can now meet your customers on equal footing.
Gathering feedback no longer means gathering data – it’s about genuinely listening to your customers. That alone increases your credibility and the assurance that they’ll come to you again and again. And, don’t worry – there can be no negative feedback in branded communities if your organization is operating from the right perspective. Turn all feedback into positive, constructive tips from the best business consultant available: your audience. A win-win situation for both sides. Believe it or not, this simple tactic will facilitate a mind-blowing experience for your clients.
Related: Tools for Community Building
Make Your Customers Feel Special
Once you’ve built a social community around your brand, you achieve that special position where your brand and your customers fuse into an almost single entity. This is where the contemporary marketing business is born, and all of the biggest brands that you can think of are utilizing this as you probably already know. Conduct campaigns that make use of insights that you gain from your community. Analyze your audience’s habits and play the tune that they want to hear. Your audience will learn to identify your brand as one that solves their problems and meets their needs.
Numerous studies have continually shown that people get easily bored and repulsed with stats-and-numbers-only marketing approaches. Hard-selling marketing at once becomes nearly unnecessary, because your brand members already know your business as they are proactively building it themselves! You can inspire them, research their sentiments, and approach them with the content that resonates with them. This is regardless of whether it’ll increase your sales or not. Here is where all the beauty of a social community comes together. People ask – you answer. 100% success rate; fail-safety always on, with profit being the only possible outcome for you.
Learn to inspire them. They will learn to inspire you.
So, why build a social community?
To empower your customers with their own voice, with you cultivating trust in return. To gather precious insights upon which you can navigate the course of your business towards success. To give your customers the feeling of being special and to see how they return the favor by making your brand unique.