April 5, 2021
Many brands say they are about building better communities but they aren’t prioritizing the things that actually translate into more transparent, open, and authentic conversations, and ultimately, brand love and raving fans. They aren’t investing their resources in social media community managers, conducting daily social media listening, and doing the things day in and day out that can actually drive a real shift in engagement and their audience’s relationship to their brand.
Brand social advocates are the best marketing you get - they will support, rave, and share with others your message.
Here are 5 common pitfalls that prevent brands from creating a marketing community built on brand love and authenticity:
We all say we want a community management team but are you putting your time, money, and resources to build a community management team (whether it's internally or outsourced)? Community managers are one of the most underpaid and undervalued roles on a social team but yet they are often the first interaction and the first impression your potential customers have with your brand. They play a critical role in expressing and conveying your brand values. Make sure you are prioritizing the community management role within your organization - they have a huge impact on how your audience perceives and connects with your brand.
Regardless of how you define what matters most to your brand and the core goals and mission statement of who you want to be - make sure you are building content that ties back to your marketing goals. Often, this will go back to how diligent you’ve been through your digital strategy and goal-setting process. Once you’ve determined what you stand for and the goals you’d like to achieve - create content that is aligned with it.
Brands can get so caught up in trying to find trendy, fun, and viral social media content that they forget to make sure that they are building content marketing that reinforces their brand values. Take a look at your favorite brand’s social feeds - you will likely find that they are talking, discussing, and posting consistently with their central goal/mission in mind.
Peloton is one of my favorite examples of brand community. Their mission: use technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves anywhere, anytime. Now take a look at their social feed. It’s consistent and cohesive with one singular brand voice. They do a great job of building community through their instructors and Peloton bike technology (e.g. rider leaderboards) consistently showing transparent, open, and authentic communication with their riders, and the broader fitness community - tying back to their commitment to “connect” through fitness and empowerment.
Two-way conversations shouldn’t just happen on social media. Social media platforms are a great way to build, connect, and grow relationships. However, there is a fallacy that it stops there. SAAS messaging platforms like Slack are now being used as private and invite-only groups to grow the community once you’ve established a relationship. There is a give and take with this. While you want to be accessible to everyone - you also want to be finding ways to create more personal communication for people in your community who you’ve converted from subscriber to fan and reward them. There is no one size fits all but figure out the best way to be rewarding the people in your community who are your cheerleaders and nurture them.
Swag is another example of this. We’ve seen UGC content among younger audiences perform very well especially on Instagram. For high-engaging members of their social community, brands will reward those people with free swag, giveaways, and other free promotional content as a thank you. The bottom line is building a community shouldn’t just be done on social media - find the best ways for your brand to continue the conversation and build long-term relationships using non-social channels.
Creating personalized content is key across your digital marketing funnel from responding to social posts and private DMs/InMails to email marketing, find ways to create personalization and tailor your message to individuals. This is where social listening can be very helpful. Pay attention to priority authors and influencers who you want to participate in your brand conversation. Be the first to respond when they tweet and post, RT (retweet) content with a message that is tailored to them, and send private messages that show that you’ve done your homework. They’ll be more likely to respond back, and appreciative of you taking the time and thought to show that you’ve been listening.
The marketing and customer journey doesn’t end when someone becomes a customer. Don’t forget the most important part of the process. In the chase to constantly find new customers and drive customer acquisition - don’t underestimate retention. You’ve done the hard work you’ve converted them from a user to a customer. The final step is to make them repeatable, long-term, brand advocates. Make sure to ask them for testimonials, and re-engage with them frequently. They are a great source of consistent long-term revenue, and building brand love in your marketing community.
April 5, 2021