June 17, 2019
How to Create Community with Marketing
Even as the consumer world moves closer to home, with services and commodities available at the push of a button, we all still crave a bit of human interaction.
As more customer service models are going towards outsourcing or automation, industries such as fitness and food are providing options that don’t require customers to leave the house, and more people rely on their mobile devices for communication, it’s no wonder that we all get a bit lonely sometimes.
For this reason, more brands have been creating communities around their services or products. This allows users to have a way to interact and collaborate with one another while enjoying the services that don’t require them to leave the house.
It’s quite smart, really. After all, humans generally do crave interaction with others after a certain point. Brands such as Peleton and the New York Times have capitalized on this concept in massive ways, attracting thousands of users to private Facebook communities dedicated to talking about the brands and life in general.
So how is this concept of community best rolled out? There is no cookie cutter plan, however, and there are ways to start encouraging customers of a business to form communities with each other. Here are some basic tips on getting started.
Find What’s Missing
Popular, thriving groups such as what the New York Times created around its Cooking section were borne from a need that was clearly displayed by user behavior.
For the NYT, the comments section of the various recipes published online were known to be wildly pleasant, as opposed to the comments of countless other articles.
Editors from the Times watched this section carefully and decided that the amount of interaction there warranted the creation of a separate space. The page, which only started in February of 2019, has nearly 700,000 users.
So do an audit of your product or service’s web pages and social media platforms. Are users interacting with each other? Asking questions? Bouncing ideas off one another?
If so, perhaps there is an opportunity to create a community around this. But what does that community look like?
Finding the Right Platform
Not every brand’s community will fit into a Facebook group. Perhaps the users are younger and less prone to using Facebook than their older counterparts. Perhaps the product is a business to business product that won’t have millions of users.
Whatever type of business it is, take a look at what makes sense. A community can also be created from email lists, with in-person meetings, and even with smaller breakout groups such as focus groups or “super users”.
Remember: there is no one size fits all solution. Finding the right platform and delivery method for the community around a business or brand can be a process, but it’s worthwhile to invest the time into finding the right solution.
A community can serve several purposes. It allows businesses to have a peek into what their users talk about, what problems they’re having with the product or service, and what they’re happy about. For the users, the aspect of community gives them a way to collaborate with other users, which in turn builds brand loyalty.
Finding a way to engage with users in a communal way is a valuable way for brands to sustain relevancy and build trust and loyalty at the same time.