One of the common questions we’re asked from business owners when we talk about Community Marketing is “who is my community and how can I reach them?”
It’s a great question because while the concept of Community Marketing isn’t new, we find it’s typically not a priority in the marketing mix. When business owners, and particularly small business owners and start-ups, have to do alllllll of the things, consistently creating and sharing high-quality content and engaging with your tribe falls further and further down the to-do list.
But it shouldn’t be that way.
Community Marketing is a long-term play - it’s not a silver bullet or a quick win. But it absolutely should not be overlooked or undervalued - it’s a powerful strategy for growth and longevity and it’s the way you can stand out from the crowd. We shared more information about what Community Marketing is and why it’s important in this blog post.
To help you serve your community and understand how to reach your community, we must first define who your community is.
Who is my community?
Your community is your followers on social media, the people who are part of your email database, your customers and the folk who have heard of your brand, but might not have joined your tribe just yet.
Your community is the people who actively follow and engage with your business in some way and are aware of your journey to some extent.
When you know who your community is, you can tailor your Community Marketing approach to them and start to add value across all of your marketing platforms and touchpoints, both online and offline.
How do I reach my community?
Now that you know who your community is, it’s time to focus your marketing strategy on reaching, growing and nurturing your community.
You can do this through all of your marketing channels, you just need to put the community at the core of the strategy instead of using them to push a hard sales message. When the community is engaged and growing, so too is your business.
Here we discuss 5 marketing channels that will help you reach your existing community, and bring newcomers into your community.
Public relations (PR) helps your brand get exposure in the print and digital publications that your target audience trusts. While your social media platforms and your onsite blog is considered owned media, any PR coverage that your brand receives is earned media, which is viewed by consumers with trust because it cannot be purchased or controlled.
PR enables brands to leverage the audience of big publications and media networks to reach a large audience and bring newcomers into their community. It’s an incredible opportunity to grow your community and get in front of your target audience, and media coverage generates credibility, awareness and exposure.
Like PR, influencer marketing is a great way to get in front of your target audience, particularly if your target audience is a demographic that “hangs out” on social media. It’s another form of exposure that is super powerful in reaching your target audience in mass and bringing more of them into your community.
By leveraging the public profile of influential people such as celebrities, reality TV hotshots, key opinion leaders, Vloggers and Bloggers, social media stars and sporting heroes as part of an influencer marketing campaign, brands can reach and grow their community.
Social media channels enable a two-way relationship with your community and is a space where you can educate, inform, entertain and inspire your community. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn can all be used to reach your community, depending on who your target audience and ideal customer is.
You absolutely don’t have to be on every social media platform though - pick the platforms that align with your business and use them to stay top of mind. After all, social media is an easy way for consumers to follow along and stay up to date with information, new products and updates without investing or committing to the brand. It’s a low barrier to entry and is a great marketing channel to grow your community and convert them further through the customer journey.
In addition to using social media organically to grow and nurture your community, paid ads on your chosen social media platforms are also a great way to reach more of your target audience and actively bring more newcomers into your community through targeted ads and segmentation.
It’s important to note though, that your social media platforms need to add value to both newcomers and your existing community otherwise your community won’t stick around. And churn is the last thing you want and need. Use social media to educate, inspire and inform through content that adds value, use it as a customer service tool to gather insights, testimonials and feedback and use it to surprise and delight your community.
Content marketing is an umbrella term used to describe marketing initiatives where written and visual content is shared on your own platforms. Content marketing includes email marketing, your onsite blog, downloadable resources, photography and video content and is an in-cred-ible way to reach more of your target audience and serve your existing community.
Content marketing can…
- Help your target audience find you
- Add value to your community
- Demonstrate your expertise and authority
- Position your business as the obvious solution when consumers are ready to purchase
- Provide valuable SEO benefits
- Convert the community to paying customers
- Nurture leads and keep them coming back for more
- Foster customer loyalty and retention
Content marketing is not only an opportunity to reach more of your ideal customers and bring them into your community, but it’s also a way to continue reaching your existing community.
Events and offline activations
And last but not least, events and offline activations can help you reach more of your community, or your ideal community, in real life. The digital space is crowded and oversaturated, which makes it increasingly harder for brands to stand out and reach their community if they rely solely on this space. So events and offline activations still hold value in the marketing mix, especially with a Community Marketing focus, and provide an opportunity to build real-life relationships with the community.
Ultimately, events and offline activations have a lasting impact on the community.
So, there you have it, 5 marketing strategies with a Community Marketing focus that help you reach your target audience and bring newcomers into your community. Once they are in your community, add value through every stage of the customer journey to convert these newcomers into recurring customers, because that is where the real value is.
Still not sure who your community is, or how to reach them? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you define your community and understand who you should be tailoring your Community Marketing strategy towards.