Community engagement is not only a key part of a customer marketers role, but is one of the most important components to supporting your business and its growth.
In this article we’re going over how customer marketing supports these frameworks, including:
- What a business framework is and what a community framework is,
- How marketing campaigns involve and engage the community,
- What community marketing is and its function, and
- How customer marketing supports the community framework.
What is a business framework?
When we talk about business frameworks, we’re referring to any process or strategy that makes up an organization's structure. They usually help outline certain company policies, goals, or procedures.
The overall purpose of having these processes in place is to help the company achieve innovation and growth.
Frameworks such as these (provided by leaders) should work effectively and efficiently for everyone involved, both as an individual and within a team. This way, your framework should support both your employees’ independent thinking and cross-functional collaboration.
What is a community framework?
Community frameworks essentially work in a very similar way to your business frameworks, with the key difference being that it involves interaction with your customers as a part of these processes.
In this case, the relationship between you and your customer community is mutually beneficial, as these frameworks work toward your customer's individual goals, which, in turn, gets you closer to your business goals.
There’s an emphasis on collaboration within a community framework. It also works toward a more authentic relationship with your customers by helping build networks, learning spaces, and mutual exchanging of ideas.
How can marketing campaigns involve and engage the community?
With how competitive the business market has become, companies of all sizes are looking to create unique connections with their target audience. Large corporations are looking to imitate and build a unique identity and customer relationship framework usually held by small businesses.
To build a more customer-centric outlook, and interact with customers directly in places like social media, business owners must develop a more personalized marketing strategy that improves customer loyalty.
As a result, more community-focused brands build up a solid customer base, stabilizing their bottom line and supporting new growth.
What is a community marketing strategy?
So, let's get into the nitty-gritty. What actually is a community marketing strategy?
With customers having more power than ever over your business' success, community marketing puts customers at the front of your marketing efforts by developing a two-way conversation and building meaningful relationships with the people buying your product.
The aim of community marketing is to advertise your marketing in a way that is non-intrusive and transparent. It focuses more on building up your customers and their goals than it does on making a sale.
Simply put, it’s about them, not you.
But, as customer marketers, you already knew that!
What are the benefits of a community-based marketing strategy?
A community is made up of a group of people with a common interest; in this case, your brand. So, improving the relationship with your existing customers can improve your company in a number of ways.
Involve customers in the direction of your business - Interacting with customers means that you get direct insight into who they are, their pain points, and their needs. This can show you where best to expand your business and where your products or services might be lacking.
Allow space for the voice of the customer - When you interact with your customers, their insights can help improve your internal processes and customer journey. Allowing space for your customers to express their thoughts on your brand can help invite new customers into your community through referrals, and word-of-mouth marketing.
Reduce advertising costs - Having a presence on social media, forums, conventions, and other spaces can help reduce the need for traditional paid advertising. Community gives you a direct line of communication with your customers, which can often be more effective than traditional advertising.
Examples of community marketing strategies for social media
Polls are a great way of getting customer engagement on your social media platforms, most significantly with platforms like LinkedIn. You can cover a number of topics with polls, including customer experience, pricing, features, and more. They're more simple to put together than a survey and, most importantly, require a lot less effort for your customer.
Livestreaming is a great format to interact with your customers, and offers them a direct line to you in real-time. Livestreams can be general or specific. You can use them to answer some FAQs in the form of a Q and A.
You can also use them as a type of content marketing for educational purposes. Livestreams can be used like webinars. Use your knowledge base of your companies internal process to teach your customers how your product and services work.
Commenting on posts, on your own, on your affiliates, and on your community members’ pages is a great way to easily keep the customer-business relationship strong. This way, you’re keeping your name in the conversation and letting them know you’re invested in their journey outside of their purchase. Comment sections are a good way to get the conversation started too.
All kinds of digital marketing help to create more awareness of your brand, but offering unique opportunities and content can help elevate the commitment customers have to your brand.
As a part of the awareness stage of the customer journey funnel, content marketing that’s free to consume for both potential customers and existing ones can offer more for your customers without asking them to spend extra money.
Subscriptions to blogs, forums, newsletters, and the like can also be a good way to keep connected to your more valuable customers. It can also give you a direct feed into people's inboxes where you can then advertise new and upcoming products.
In terms of advertising, your customers are the most effective voices for garnering interest in potential customers. Customers that are loyal to your brand will be more likely to want to recommend you to someone else.
Unlike your marketing team, these customers have gone through the customer lifecycle and understand the user experience with your products to a T. More than any other marketing efforts, getting your customer base to refer you to others is a great way to ensure growth and customer retention.
How does customer marketing support the community framework?
Customer marketing is all about the community. The existing customers are the target for customer marketing and, so, community frameworks benefit from the relationship customer marketers have with the existing customer community.
Their insights can not only help to set up a strong online community from the start, but also ensure its longevity. Customer marketers have the customer data to know what makes your target customers tick, so use this to your advantage.
Initiatives like these can also offer customer support directly. Customer marketing is not only about advertising your brand and your services to your customer base, but also about keeping this customer base satisfied and loyal. They work with teams such as customer success to create brand advocates that rave about your brand from the rooftops.
Community marketing is also a good source for customer marketers. Creating a community online allows them to:
- Talk to their target audience directly,
- Offer opportunities to improve current processes with things like focus groups and surveys, and
- Can present unique insights into the way your brand’s community of consumers works.