The ever-evolving world of marketing has paved the way for community marketing, a powerful way for brands to connect with their audiences and foster long-lasting relationships with their customers more deeply. Traditional marketing tactics and strategies no longer cut it. Consumers want brands to have a human touch, and this is where community marketing steps in.

Nowadays, consumers prefer a more personalized experience with brands. To give you a glimpse of the power of community marketing: roughly 76% of users online are part of a digital community. A staggering 1.8 billion users engage in community groups on Facebook each month, making the platform an excellent space to build your brand’s following.

Building a community is an excellent way for a brand to spark a conversation, engage its audience, and keep tabs on consumer wants and needs. However, to be able to efficiently execute a community marketing strategy, brands must have a deep understanding of their community and how to effectively do community-centered marketing.

What Is Community Marketing

Community marketing is a marketing strategy centered on enhancing a brand’s presence by fostering a sense of community among the brand’s customers.

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Typically, community marketing is done on the following platforms:

  • Facebook groups
  • Reddit forums
  • Online forums
  • Twitter
  • Message boards

The presence of these communities on these platforms allows the brand to directly communicate and interact with its customers. Community members can tell brands what they want and need, and in turn, brands can respond to their customers.

Community marketing, however, is more focused on customer retention rather than acquiring new customers. Getting new customers is more expensive, costing brands six or seven more times the resources they would spend when dealing with existing customers. That is why engaging an existing customer base is more cost-effective and less time-consuming.

As mentioned, brand growth nowadays is powered by community engagement. Customers want to know that a brand cares about them and wants to give them the best customer experience possible. As a brand, it is important to remember that the brand experience must be customer-centric.

The Benefits of Community Marketing

Apart from fueling brand growth, community marketing can help brands skyrocket and expand their reach.

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Here are the other benefits of adopting a community marketing strategy.

Improves customer experience

As mentioned, community marketing humanizes a brand. Customers feel more cared for, making the brand a more authentic entity. This, coupled with personalized marketing tactics, helps a brand provide exactly what their customers are looking for, increasing the chances of a customer purchasing from them again.

Additionally, a brand can gather insights from community members to further improve its products, services, and community groups. This is a way for brands to develop a better customer experience because they get to learn firsthand what their customers need or want from them.

Fosters trust among consumers

In the digital space, trust is a crucial factor in the relationship between brands and customers because it is the basis for customer loyalty. Because community marketing fosters authenticity, customers are more likely to trust your brand and continue patronizing it.

Strengthens community base

Happy customers are more likely to share their experience with your brand to their peers, jumpstarting word-of-mouth marketing. A stellar brand experience not only strengthens your existing customer base - but also encourages new members to join your community. This boosts your brand’s growth.

How Can You Develop a Community

Community development requires a deep understanding of what makes a community and the members of that given community.

In the digital space, it also requires consistent posting and communication on the part of the brand.

The key components of a community

Communities have three key components. These components not only set them apart from other communities, but they also establish their identities as the communities of their respective brands, organizations, and entities.

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Communities have:

A shared consciousness

This shared consciousness signifies that the members of the community are connected. Their being part of a community fosters a sense of inclusivity, making members feel like they belong.

In the digital space, a strong community can pique the interest of outsiders. If they can showcase their unique culture and highlight the strength of their community, they have a better chance of attracting new community members.

Distinct cultural markers

Speaking of unique culture, communities have certain traditions and elements that outsiders are typically not privy to. These shared trademarks are often not found in other communities, and they further highlight the community’s unique culture.

Speaking of unique culture, communities have certain traditions and elements that outsiders are typically not privy to. These shared trademarks are often not found in other communities, and they further highlight the community’s unique culture.

For example, in community marketing, members of a brand community may have a shared Spotify playlist with songs or audio clips that further highlight the brand message. Members of the community have exclusive access to this playlist, and they can share their thoughts and feelings about it on their shared social platform.

Sense of community

Community members, as mentioned, have a sense of belongingness. They have their membership in a particular community in common, which helps foster trust and loyalty towards that community and its respective members.

Types of community marketing

There are two different types of community marketing.

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The first is sponsored community marketing, and the second is organic community marketing.

Sponsored community marketing happens when brands create their own communities and moderate them. Brands can create channels and platforms where their customers can reach them, and customers can provide feedback or ask questions directly to the community moderators.

Organic community marketing

With this type of marketing, customers interact with one another without the brand’s intervention. Customers may begin creating discussion posts or groups centered on their shared experience of a brand. They could then share their opinions and feedback, which could be either beneficial or detrimental to a brand.

Organic communities may be a cause for concern for some brands if they are formed out of negative experiences. If not amended, this could harm a brand’s reputation, preventing existing and potential customers alike from doing business with them.

Why is community marketing so effective

Community marketing enforces the key components of a community in the digital space.

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By doing this, the disconnect between brands and their customers is eliminated.

To effectively launch a community marketing campaign, brands must study what keeps customers interested in them and capitalize on that. Some questions to consider are:

  • What sets your brand apart from the rest?
  • What makes customers come back?
  • How can you enhance customers’ experience with your brand?

Creating a Community for Your Brand

At the heart of the best communities are people. Building a designated community group for your brand and employing a community marketing strategy is crucial for your brand’s long-term success.

Additionally, this will help strengthen your customer base, helping your brand secure repeat customers and boost revenue.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of this marketing strategy is not being able to accurately measure its success. Community marketing initiatives are often unquantifiable, so marketers often study them through qualitative means. It is considered a best practice for brands to set SMART goals in their community marketing strategies to have successful benchmarks.