What Is Community Marketing?

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Consumers see through branded content and want more relatable, transparent ads. Community marketing makes it easy for brands to market through their existing brand fans to create more authentic, human messaging.

Word of mouth is one of the most trusted of all forms of marketing. Consumers have a desire to learn about products from other real people: their friends, family, and those they share a genuine connection with. They’re even 4 times more likely to buy a product when referred by friends. With word of mouth being one of the most cost effective and trusted forms or marketing for brands, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to develop a community marketing strategy. 

Community marketing places the focus on having conversations that fit the needs of your customers, and can even turn loyal customers into natural brand advocates. Rather than focusing on acquisition, community marketing focuses on developing long-term relationships with current customers in hopes of igniting powerful and positive word of mouth conversation about your brand to their inner circle. 

The more a company integrates their existing customer base into marketing and messaging, the more engaged and interactive that customer base becomes. The collaboration that occurs will in turn help grow your community, as existing customers feel more naturally inclined to share your brand within their own personal communities. Community marketing allows you to transform loyal customers into natural advocates who employ word of mouth out of pure enthusiasm for your brand. 

Here are some community marketing tips to strengthen your strategy, and how brands are currently implementing those within their existing brand communities.

When It Comes To Community Marketing, UGC Reigns Supreme

User generated content is one of the easiest and most impactful forms of online word of mouth marketing. Not only does UGC encourage people to start conversations surrounding a certain brand, but it also increases brand exposure to potential customers in the most organic way possible. If people like your product, they will post about it. Where UGC becomes actually impactful is when a brand takes advantage of this content to increase ROI. 

With 75% of people feeling that user-generated content makes a brand more authentic, what better way to promote authenticity than by sharing images or videos made by your brand’s biggest fans. Breaking away from traditional advertising methods allows for humanization to take place, and that is what will turn visitors into customers. After all, consumers who interact with UGC are 97% more likely to convert than those who don’t. 

Keeping track of UGC may seem like a daunting task, but there are some approaches that can help. On Instagram, consider creating a branded hashtag for easy filtration of accurate content, or create an account people can tag that is specifically geared toward your brand community. Brands can also host competitions centered around UGC for easy access to a multitude of posts. There are a plethora of methods when it comes to discovering UGC, so lean into this form of online community building as a valuable asset to any marketing campaign. 

Community Marketing Focuses On Shared Values

Relatable and honest content is key to humanizing your company, and more brands are creating content based on their values. Consumers are no longer interested in forceful marketing techniques that talk at them and would rather engage in meaningful conversation with the brand about the things that are important to them. Glossier uses Instagram as a platform to create organic conversation about their products and invite customers to provide feedback, creating a greater sense of community. The company launched their body care line with the assistance of WNBA stars in an attempt to re-define the standard of beauty for female athletes. Through video content and insightful posts across social channels, Glossier showed its welcoming nature in a way that seemed natural. Not only does this shine a light toward a positive brand image, but it also sparked conversation in the comments section all about how women in sports often face little recognition, and how that needs to change. Humanization matters, and Glossier brilliantly used their platform to embrace that ideal.

Via @glossier on Instagram

Tapping Into a Community of Brand Ambassadors

Another popular community marketing trend is building a dedicated community of brand ambassadors who love your brand and want their friends to love it, too. Ambassadors are experts at utilizing word of mouth to generate authentic content and drive real conversions. A great example of this is Kendra Scott’s Campus Gems program. Kendra Scott looks to college students to identify potential ambassadors who have a strong circle of influence on their campus. Oftentimes, these “Gems” form a following similar to that of traditional nano or micro influencers, but are able to cultivate a much more natural conversation about the brand with their friends than traditional influencers are able to. Using SocialLadder to manage their ambassador community, Kendra Scott is able to assign tasks directly to ambassadors and give them greater access to the brand to deepen those relationships and steer the conversation from the inside. 

Community marketing enables your brand to create genuine, long lasting connections with your most passionate customers, helping to tell your brand’s story with authenticity and enthusiasm. By tapping into community marketing to market through your customers, your brand can more easily create organic relationships with existing and future customers.

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