What comes to mind when you think of community? It could be your weekly book club, your team’s section at the football game, the professionals you work with, or even the Facebook groups you’re a part of. While each of these groups look different, their function in your life– the reason you continue to invest your time or money into them– likely boils down to one of three functions: support, inspiration, or education. A community is somewhere members feel a sense of belonging because of shared beliefs, interests, goals or attitudes.
You might be thinking “What does this have to do with my marketing, advertising, and brand strategy?” As it turns out, everything.
According to the “State of the Connected Customer” from Salesforce, a customer’s loyalty is harder to earn than ever before, but that 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. The report states “Winning customers today requires demonstrating a firm understanding of their unique needs, objectives, and circumstances.” A great place to start? Understand and engage your brand’s community– your past, present, and future customers.
Tips to start:
- Identify the common habits, traits, and interests of your community. This includes understanding how, when, and why they use your product.
- Establish which channels you are already reaching your community through and which have potential for growth. Examples include social media, email newsletters, print and digital advertising, website messaging, etc.
- Utilize your social media platforms to not only tell your community about you and your product or service, but to ask them about themselves!
- Use what you’ve learned to add value. For example, a retailer who specializes in home decor should engage their community by creating content that caters to the interests of their buyers by building out a blog with helpful decorating tips or next season’s design trends. This content is also shareable, inviting others who see it to join your community.
Brand communities aren’t built overnight, but then again, neither are any of the best communities you belong to. Taking the time to get to know your community, identifying growth opportunities, and letting your community know you hear and understand them pays off with customer loyalty. We’d love to hear how a company has made you feel like a valued part of their community or how you’re striving to support, inspire or educate yours this year in the comments below!