What Is Community Based Marketing? An Explainer

We all know communities are important places to connect with others, but did you know businesses can connect with communities, too? 

This article will explain community-based marketing, how companies use it to build relationships, and some examples of community-based marketing campaigns.

What Is Community Based Marketing?

In community-based marketing, brands connect with and build relationships within a specific community.

As marketers, we engage directly with existing groups or create our brand communities. The goal is to foster meaningful connections and loyalty.

Rather than just pushing products, community-based marketing focuses on interaction and cultivating a sense of belonging. 

We share valuable content and experiences with community members, listening to their needs and engaging in authentic conversations. 

Over time, strong relationships and trust are built, leading to a dedicated following.

Some of the ways we implement community-based marketing include:

  • Partnering with influencers and leaders within a community to spread information about our brand organically.
  • Creating social media groups, online forums, or in-person meetups where people can connect over shared interests related to our brand.
  • Featuring user-generated content from community members on our social platforms and website to highlight the human side of our brand.
  • Collaborating with community members on product development, content creation, or events. Their input helps ensure we’re providing real value.
  • Offering exclusive perks, products, or experiences just for community members to show our appreciation for their support and loyalty.

Our communities may be based on location, lifestyle, experiences, beliefs, or product usage. The options are endless. Most importantly, the community rallies around our brand purpose and values. 

When community-based marketing is done well, customers become brand ambassadors, and the community helps strengthen our brand identity and fuel growth.

Community-based marketing is a highly effective strategy for building lasting relationships, brand affinity, and evangelism. 

We can achieve deeper customer loyalty and true brand devotion by authentically connecting with the right communities.

The Importance of Building a Community

As marketers, building a strong community around our brand or business is crucial. Creating a sense of belonging and connection among members increases social interaction and engagement

A close-knit community can be a great resource for information and help. Community building allows people to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences.

When we build a community, we create a network of like-minded individuals. Community members care about the same topics or products as we do, so they are more likely to support our brand and spread the word. They feel invested in the community and want to see it grow and succeed.

As community managers, our role is to facilitate discussions and connections. We share useful content, start interesting conversations, and ensure everyone feels included. 

The key is to be authentic and engage with members personally. Respond to their comments and questions, get to know them, and make them feel heard.

A strong community only happens after some time. It takes continuous effort to keep members active and involved. 

We have to provide value and build loyalty. Exclusive perks, live events, Q&As with experts, and member spotlights are ways to strengthen the bond between members. The more we interact and engage, the more benefits we reap.

When done right, community building meaningfully enhances our connection to customers. It allows us to build trust, gain valuable insights, and increase brand awareness and goodwill. 

Our community members become our biggest fans and supporters. They help spread our message to new potential members, creating a network effect.

Building a community is a long game that requires work and commitment. But by facilitating relationships and focusing on engagement, we can develop a sustainable community that benefits our members and brand. The rewards of a strong, loyal community make the effort worthwhile.

Engaging Your Target Audience

As community marketers, we must engage and connect with our target audience. How do we do that? Here are some proven tips:

Meet Them Where They Are

Go to where your audience already spends time online, whether it’s Facebook groups, Reddit communities, or forums. 

Become an active member by starting discussions, answering questions, and building trust. A great way to understand their pain points and interests.

Create Valuable Content

Develop content like blog posts, videos, and social media updates that provide useful information to our audience. For example, if we’re marketing to new parents, create content on child development milestones. 

For small business owners, provide tips for increasing revenue or productivity. The more we can establish ourselves as a helpful resource, the more our audience will appreciate and engage with us.

Foster Community

Encourage interaction and build connections between members of your target audience. 

We can do this by:

  • Hosting live Q&A on social media where people can ask questions and get advice from each other.
  • Creating private Facebook groups or forums for people to network and support each other.
  • Featuring user-generated content like photos, stories, or examples from your audience.
  • Highlighting and recognizing active community members to make them feel valued.

Be Authentic and Consistent

In our communication and content, speak honestly and openly to build trust. Please respond to all comments and messages to show we care. And stick to a regular content schedule so our audience knows when to expect new information or ways to engage. Consistency and transparency are key.

We’ll gain loyal followers and brand ambassadors within our target audience by employing these strategies. And when we have a new product, service, or initiative to share, our community will be eagerly waiting to support us. The power of community-based marketing is real if you take the right approach.

Creating Shareable Content

As community marketers, we need to produce engaging content that people want to share with others. Here are some tips for creating shareable content:

Focus on Value

Content that adds value to people’s lives is much more likely to be shared. We should aim to educate, inspire, or entertain our audience. 

Some examples of valuable content include:

  • Tutorials that teach a new skill.
  • Heartwarming stories of people overcoming adversity.
  • Amusing memes or videos that give people a quick laugh.

Keep it Brief

Focus on short attention spans, YESS less is more. 

We should keep our content concise and skimmable using the following:

  • Short paragraphs (2-3 sentences each)
  • Bullet points
  • Numbered lists
  • Visuals like photos, graphics, GIFs and videos

Brief, scannable content is much more shareable since it’s easy to read and digest.

Evoke Emotion

Content that makes people feel something has a high chance of being shared. 

We can evoke emotions like:

  • Joy or amusement with funny stories, memes, or videos.
  • Inspiration from motivational stories of achievement.
  • The awe, with stunning visuals and facts.
  • Anger or passion over an important cause or issue.

When we tap into people’s emotions, they will be compelled to share the content with others who may feel the same.

Optimizing for Sharing

Finally, we must make our content easy for people to share on social media. Means:

  • Choosing an eye-catching thumbnail image.
  • Writing a catchy headline or post title.
  • Keeping descriptions under 140 characters so the entire post can be shared on Twitter.
  • Adding social share buttons so people can instantly post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.
  • Using hashtags to make the content more discoverable on social media.

By following these tips, we can create content our audience will be excited to share with their networks. And when our content spreads, so does our brand awareness and community reach.

Encouraging User Generated Content

As community marketers, we want to encourage our audience to actively participate in spreading our message. One of the best ways to do this is by inspiring them to create content. 

When users generate and share content related to our brand or cause, it authentically amplifies our message.

To spark user-generated content (UGC), we first need to build a passionate community. We cultivate a loyal following by consistently providing value and engaging with our audience. 

When people feel a real connection to the brand or community, they naturally want to express that through creating and sharing content.

Some ideas to inspire UGC include:

  • Run contests and challenges: Offer prizes or rewards for the best content, reviews, stories, or social shares related to our brand.
  • Give people a platform to share: Launch a campaign on social media asking people to share their experiences, opinions, or creations. Provide guidelines and suggestions to make it easy for them to participate.
  • Share user spotlights: Feature standout community members and the content they create. This recognition and exposure motivates others to contribute in hopes of being spotlighted.
  • Make it fun: Develop interactive social media frames, filters, and lenses that people can use to create and share lighthearted branded content. Keep things casual and entertaining.
  • Provide resources and inspiration: Give your audience ideas, tips, tools, images, and other resources to help spark their creativity. The more you stimulate them, the more they will share.

User-generated content becomes a natural byproduct when we make community participation engaging and rewarding. 

The passion of our followers will fuel our message in a way that feels authentic to others. Through UGC, our brand story is told by us and championed by our biggest fans.

Building Relationships and Trust

As community marketers, establishing real connections and trust with our target audience is key. To build genuine relationships, we have to go where our community already is – online and offline.

We engage with followers on social media by liking and commenting on their posts, sharing related content, and hosting live Q&As.

We become active members of relevant Facebook Groups and Subreddits to provide value to discussions and make authentic connections. Over time, our consistent presence and helpfulness build familiarity and trust.

In-person, we attend industry events, conferences, and local meetups to make personal connections. We introduce ourselves, start conversations, and seek opportunities to help others. 

People appreciate it when we remember their names, faces, and what they do. These in-real-life interactions create bonds that strengthen our relationships.

Next, we must listen to understand our community’s needs and pain points. We pay close attention to comments, questions, reviews, and feedback. Then, we create content, tools, resources, and solutions tailored to our community’s wants and needs. When we provide real value, our audience recognizes we have their best interests in mind.

We also have to be transparent and authentic in our communications. We share our wins, successes, struggles, and failures. We open up about who we are, what we stand for, and why we do what we do. Vulnerability breeds connection and trust.

Over-delivering on our promises and following through, building credibility and loyalty within our community. Whether it’s sending an eagerly awaited resource, providing helpful customer service, or hosting a highly anticipated live event – when we do what we say we will do consistently, our community knows they can count on us.

Trust and real relationships take time. But by showing up, adding value, listening, and being authentic and consistent, we build connections that turn an audience into a community. 

Community members become our biggest supporters, word-of-mouth marketers, and sources of referrals. Relationship marketing at its finest.

Using Influencers and Brand Advocates

Community marketing relies heavily on influencers and brand advocates to spread the word about your product or service organically. As a company, we should identify influencers in our industry and location and build relationships with them. 

Offer them free products or services in exchange for honest reviews and social media posts about their experience. Their followers already trust them, so they can authentically introduce our brand.

We should also encourage our happiest customers to become brand advocates. They can share positive social media experiences, write product reviews, refer friends, or even become affiliates. 

Brand advocates do this because they genuinely love the brand, not for compensation. Their passion and authenticity resonate with potential new customers.

To find and engage influencers and advocates:

  • Conduct a social media audit to identify influencers in our industry and location with engaged followings. Reach out and offer a free trial or sample of our product or service in exchange for a review.
  • Monitor product reviews and social media for happy customers. Reach out, thank them for their kind words, and ask if they’d be open to becoming a brand advocate. Provide resources to make it easy for them to refer others.
  • Create an affiliate program where advocates can earn a commission for referring new customers. 
  • Engage with our advocates and influencers on social media. Like and comment on their posts, and share their reviews or recommendations with our followers.
  • Host special events for influencers and advocates where they can experience new products before launch, provide feedback, and spread the buzz. Their exclusive access and inside peek will motivate them to share details with their followers.
  • Use unique promo codes, URLs, or discount offers for influencers and advocates to share with followers, making it easy to track the success of their recommendations and provide compensation or rewards.

Measuring Success With Analytics

As community marketers, we must determine if our efforts are effective and achieve the intended goals. Analytics provide the data and insights to measure our success. 

There are a few key metrics we focus on:

  • Traffic refers to the number of visitors visiting our online community platforms like a website, blog, social media profiles, or discussion forums. We aim to increase traffic over time through our community-building and outreach efforts.
  • Engagement looks at how people are interacting with our content and community. Page views, time on site, comments, shares, likes, and discussion posts are all signs of an engaged audience. High engagement means creating content and conversations that resonate with our community.
  • Conversions track how many visitors take a desired action, like signing up for a newsletter, purchasing, or becoming a member. Strong traffic and engagement mean little without conversions. We optimize our community and content to drive more conversions.
  • Loyalty and retention refer to how many community members continue to participate and return to our platforms. If people join but don’t stick around, we must improve the community experience. Surveys and interviews can uncover ways to boost loyalty and retention.
  • Sentiment analysis examines the emotions and opinions expressed in user comments, reviews, and social media posts. The positive sentiment means our community and content are well-received. Negative sentiment highlights opportunities for improvement to serve our audience better.

By frequently monitoring these key performance indicators (KPIs), we gain invaluable insights into what’s working, what’s not, and where we need to adjust our community marketing strategy

While growing traffic and increasing engagement are important, a successful community delivers real value to its members through conversions, loyalty, and sentiment. 

Analytics help ensure we build communities that people genuinely want to join and participate in.

Connecting with Customers = Community Marketing

Community marketing is a great way for businesses to build strong customer bonds. Companies can create loyal communities where customers become their biggest fans by being genuine, helpful, and tracking what works. 

With strategies like working with influencers and measuring success, businesses can keep improving and ensuring their customers are happy. Community marketing isn’t just about selling stuff—it’s about making friends and growing together.

Ready to make your brand stand out using community-based marketing? 

Let Creative Creation help you! We’ll work with you to create great content and build strong connections in your community. 

Get in touch with us today to start growing your brand!

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