When you think of marketing, the community may not be the first word that comes to mind, even though it has always been a crucial part of any marketing strategy. Today, community isn’t just part of your marketing plan, it should be the central focus of your strategy. The community you build with your customers is key to finding customer success.
Why Community Building Is Essential in 2021
Social media and new generations of consumers with different values than older generations have ignited the shift to community-conscious brand building. Brand communities have become even more important over the last decade and co-creation with your community is the new way to build brands.
More and more consumers are making purchase decisions based on how the product or service aligns with their values, according to Cassandra Lam in an interview with American Express. Lam is the CEO and co-founder of The Cosmos, a community that helps Asian women thrive in the workplace and at home. Lam also says that the internet has created a more even playing field and that having a community allows brands to “break through the noise.”
Ways Building Your Brand Through Community will Bring Success
Community building creates several avenues for a successful marketing strategy. Word of mouth remains the most effective way to raise brand awareness and to grow a business. A Nielsen study found that 84% of people are more likely to trust a referral or recommendation from a friend. Communities shine when it comes to WOM marketing.
Communities also promote customer discovery. Your brand community is a valuable and honest source of feedback. Traditional marketing research like focus groups and surveys have been less reliable than once believed. Recent experiments found that many consumers will change their behavior when they know they are being studied. This is known as the Hawthorne Effect. User-generated content like reviews and comments are viewed by other consumers as authentic feedback.
Community building fosters customer success and brand loyalty. Most successful people are part of creative and supportive communities. Keeping customers is just as important as gaining new ones. Many of the world’s most successful brands rely on repeat customers to keep their businesses thriving. A survey conducted by Accenture found that two-thirds of consumers will spend more on a brand to which they have become loyal. The more time or effort a person invests in a product or service, the more likely they are to value those things.
How to Start Building Your Brand Through Community
We mentioned earlier that word-of-mouth is the most effective way for your brand to get discovered. Brand ambassadors can play a major role in helping you spread the word about your brand. Brand ambassadors use your product or service and then post about it to their social pages.
Brand ambassadors are typically influencers with a significant number of social media followers. In rural markets, brands rely on micro-influencers, influencers who have a smaller following than major influencers but are well-known in the brand’s local area.
If you can’t snag a brand ambassador to promote your company, try engaging your customers with a Facebook group. Groups are a great way to help your customers learn more about you and your brand. Your brand feels more human when your customers have a place to share honest feedback and to have access to exclusive product or service information and discounts.
Want to learn more about how communities can help build your brand? Click here to request a free half-hour consultation with our founder, Hilary Hamblin.