Community Marketing: When Customers Grow Your Brand

Marketing Strategy
Aqueb Safwan Jaser
9 min read
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Have you noticed something unique about Nike? They are great at connecting to both athletic and non-athletic people. 

The secret to this unification is community marketing. Let’s discuss this in detail. 

What Defines A Community?

A community is defined as a social unit or a group of living things that share the same place, norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. 

They may also share the same sense of place in a particular geographical area. 

Such as a country, village, town, neighborhood, or virtual space through social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.

The Psychology Behind the Human Need for Community

The psychology behind the human need for community is to foster a sense of belonging. This enables us to connect and develop relationships along the way. 

In a community, there will always be the practice of advocating and supporting one another during adverse situations.

Why Are Brand Communities So Powerful?

Brand communities are powerful because they are composed of people instead of brands. 

These people have real needs, activities, and interests. Brand communities not only boost sales but nurture loyalty by catering to the needs of people.

What is Community Marketing?

Community marketing is a brand growth strategy. 

It is focused on gathering customers over a specific topic that aligns with a brand in an engaging and non-intrusive way that prioritizes customers. 

What Does Community Marketing Entail?

Community marketing entails the sole connection of a brand to a particular community. 

Generally, this kind of marketing uses a platform to communicate, exchange opinions, and create actual meaning behind the use of the brand. 

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Community Marketing?

Community Marketing Benefits

1. Better Customer Experience 

Community marketing enables brand builders to understand their customers thoroughly. 

This way, they better cater to their needs and complaints and deliver services that surpass their expectations.

Most importantly, community marketing helps to nurture a genuine humane touch.

2. Customer Empowerment And Information

Community marketing empowers customers with all the necessary information, tools, and resources required to put them one stop close to success.

The option for customer reviews and the rise of digital communication made it compulsory for businesses to listen to their customers. 

Powers have shifted, and it is vital to keep them satisfied. Otherwise, they can always change toward other alternatives.

3. More Relevance And Loyalty

Instead of having an ordinary buyer-seller relationship, community marketing helps create a more relevant connection.

Through meaningful contributions, brand values are brought to life and, in turn, gain a long-term competitive advantage. 

4. Word Of Mouth Growth

Perhaps, the best thing about community marketing is letting your customers speak on your behalf.

Customers who are satisfied with your brand make your community grow organically.

Also, they become the advocate of your brands; ‚ÄĒ voicing their opinion to people they know on why they should choose you over anyone else.

5. Brand and Customer Humanization 

The core focus of community marketing is to nurture genuine relationships so the brand experience feels humane. 

Humanization helps to foster meaning and disregards anything unnatural about the process.

6. Social Connection 

Since any community comprises members of various backgrounds, community marketing allows for diverse social connections.

This way, you can allow your brand to reach a wide range of demographics.

7. Authenticity 

All the previous covers above mostly speak about building relationships and creating a genuine connection. 

These are all the basis of trust and reliability. When a community finds your brand authentic, they will choose you over anyone else.

Drawbacks of Community Marketing

1. Unique Skill Set Required

While handling a community, it is necessary to have apt communication skills. There might be cases where the community will throw in negative remarks.

In such scenarios, brand marketers should be honest on every touch point. The skillset is necessary in this regard to fine-tune the conversation according to the context of the conversation.

2. Long-Term Approach

Building communities is not a short-term thing. Brand builders must be focused on taking a long-term approach to build a community.

3. Time And Effort 

Relating to the previous point, the long-term approach would mean investing time and effort.

While this is not a drawback, brand marketers should be aware of the repercussions.

4. Difficult To Track The Impact 

A community becomes ambiguous as it grows. It is not always easy to track your brand's impact on its customers.

This is especially hard if a brand marketer is looking to analyze the results.

5. Loss Of Control 

As the community keeps growing, the brand marketer can lose control. Opinions might go haywire, and there will be little they can do to stop it.

What Are The Tactics Involved in Community Marketing?

1. Create Advocacy And Ambassador Programs

Empowering the audience to voice their opinions about your brands is a great tactic. Ambassador programs will help them have a unique identity as they associate themselves with your brand.

2. Online Platforms

As of April 2022, there are more than 5 billion internet users ‚ÄĒ meaning a signification number of the entire population has moved online.¬†

This is especially true during the early stages of the pandemic when nearly everybody spent their time online. 

All the above factors make it evident that online platforms are an excellent tactic for building a community.  

3. Support A Social Cause

Many things are going on in the world right now ‚ÄĒfor instance, climate change, women empowerment, and racial injustice, among other things.¬†

When a community sees that the brand they support advocates for a social cause, they would be proud to be a part of it.

4. Gifting

Rewarding customers with gifts can be an excellent way to do community marketing. 

This is because it makes them feel valued and delighted to have chosen this brand over any other.

What Are The Components of Community Marketing?

Targeting a niche community

Embracing a niche enables brand marketers to know they can make more of an impact by catering to passionate fans genuinely interested in the brand. 

This also helps to stand apart from the competition.

Doing proper research

Conducting proper research is fundamental to any community marketing strategy. 

There has to be a blend of both traditional and social research techniques. 

Even communicating with community members is an integral part of the research. It helps to acquire more meaningful data.

Establish relations with community influencers

Influencer marketing is more effective in conveying the message of a brand. Studies show that 92% of consumers trust an influencer's words rather than the general ads.

And the influencers don't necessarily have to be celebrities; they can be anyone with a strong voice.

Investing in customization

Doing this will allow the community to grow bigger. You can foster a much deeper relationship with the target audience by customizing a community marketing initiative according to the local standard. In that way, your brand will become more relevant as well.

How Is Community Marketing Measured?

But don't make it too in-depth as it's worth it to create another article about this section in particular.

Although there are several ways to measure community marketing, we decided to pick on two for now: Share of Voice and keeping a tab on the total campaign engagement.

Share of Voice

As we mentioned, the customer's voice is heard; let's talk about Share of Voice or SOV. 

How to calculate Share of Voice?

We divide brand measures by the total market measures. So, the formula would be:

Number of times the brand was mentioned / Total number of brand mentions x 100. 
Keeping Tabs on Total Campaign Engagement

Next up is pretty general, measuring the total engagement on the campaign. We take into account the sum of reactions and comments. 

This way of measuring community marketing is defined by the number of reactions and comments your brand posts (including admin posts and distinct UGC posts done across the campaign duration) get in communities.

Comments, in this case, are conversations occurring under a campaign post. Facebook reactions include like, love, anger, sadness, and wow. 

These help you get a perspective on how your campaign is performing.

How do you develop a community marketing strategy?

1. Define The Purpose And Focus Of The Community 

It is necessary to define the purpose and focus of the community to build the foundation upon which community marketers will have a clear direction to develop their strategy.

2. Build Trust And Authority

The essence of any community is trust. When brands deliver information, members expect them to be reliable.

They immediately lose trust if they sense they are based on commercial objectives.

3. Encourage Interaction And Networking Between Members

A community is only alive when members express their values and opinions.

You can do this through relevant articles, quizzes, and other engaging activities involving the members in interaction.

The discussions you start and engage with will help keep the community alive.

4. Host Community Events

Hosting events is a great way to bring a community together and strengthen emotional connections between members. 

Indeed, events are spaces to discuss relevant topics and brainstorm ideas but also unique environments where you can form long-lasting relationships.

Top Examples of Community Marketing

The following examples are considered the best. This is because of how they engage their customers to have meaningful conversations. 

They want their opinions to be heard. In this way, they feel valued.

1. Lego Ideas

Lego's Lego Ideas is an excellent example of community marketing. Since 2014, Lego has been fostering this community. 

They encourage the members to engage in meaningful conversations. Members nurture their creativity by sharing visual ideas for new products and presenting their unique Lego masterpieces.  

It’s a beautiful form of engagement.

2. Frugi Family

The community of the Frugi Family is indeed a family. It comprises parents who passionately share their families' ideas, stories, and photos. 

The community has the most humane and meaningful conversations through a dedicated Facebook group and a new advocacy program.

Frugi Family
3. Lululemon

Lululemon focuses on localized communities that perform in the real world. They build relationships with local yoga instructors and fitness studio owners exclusively. 

The emphasis on locality helps to build more powerful relationships.

4. Adidas Creator’s Club

The Adidas Creator’s Club takes a more dynamic approach to community marketing. It is built upon a rewards program. Members upload images or participate in a workout. 

In this way, they receive wonderful rewards. Such as early access to sales, product discounts, or exclusive event invites.

5. Duolingo Communities

Duolingo enables members to express themselves freely. They ask for their members’ suggestions on product alterations or community developments. 

This way, they feel empowered ‚ÄĒ primarily because their voices are being heard.

6. EventLand

EventLand invites people from around the globe to join its thriving community. They invite its members to befriend new people and join creative discussions. 

To put the cherry on top, they also have surprises and rewards for their members. They put their focus on content creation, interaction, and participation of members through a private LinkedIn group. 

There is also a monthly newsletter for members and a podcast.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four major components of community marketing?

The four major components of community marketing are as follows:

  • Targeting a niche community.
  • Doing proper research.
  • Establish relations with community influencers.
  • Investing in customization.
What is the role of community marketing?

The role of community marketing is to create a sense of belonging among existing customers to foster loyalty and build ever-lasting relationships.

How do you create a community marketing plan?

To develop a community marketing plan, the first step is to define the purpose and focus of the community. This will be followed by building trust and authority. Afterward, you should encourage members' interaction and host community events.

Final Thoughts on Community Marketing

Customers would love to be a part of something that reflects their values. If a brand can offer them a space to share their opinions, they would be more than glad to be involved.

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