We’re working our way through the
ways marketers can use branded communities to engage customers.
Previously, we’ve learned how branded communities can generate leads, grow revenue,
create valuable content, engage customers and build a robust database of
contacts. Now, we’ll explore five more ways marketers
can further leverage the power of customer community.
Branded communities can serve a variety of purposes, but marketers
are rarely able to maximize their effectiveness. In order to unlock their full
potential, marketers need to look beyond the most obvious benefits.
1) Event Marketing: Promote upcoming events
Online event marketing can help attract new customers, build your
company brand, and increase revenue. However, coordinating an event, whether it’s
an online webinar or networking event, requires strategic promotion. By using a
branded community to promote an event, marketers can maximize registration and attendance, as well as create
workflows for following up and converting participants afterwards.
Furthermore, a community can be used to promote an event on
behalf of a company. Events can
be targeted strategically to give new and existing community members a voice to
let them share their stories, which can motivate others to attend and
participate. After an event, a branded community offers a
familiar and trusted environment for attendees to connect with one
2) Sales ENABLEMENT: Share customer insights from the community with your
Who knows more about how your company’s sales process
works (or doesn’t) than your customers? After all,
your sales pitch and engagement played a role in converting prospects. A
branded community provides an opportunity to learn just how big a role. Asking
community members for feedback about the sales process can give them a voice
and make them feel more connected to the company, while providing valuable
information that your
marketing departments can learn and grow from
3) Reference & Testimonials: Build relationships with customers and
A branded community offers members a safe and trusted platform
through which they can recommend, refer and leave testimonials. Regardless of
the type of relationship you’ve built with your customers, you’re
still a marketer. In order for them to make a well-informed decision about
products and services, they’ll want to rely on the advice from
others just like them.
Local Consumer Review Survey 2013, BrightLocal.com
found that consumers tend to trust what they read, with about 8 in 10 saying
they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. By incorporating
customer-generated reviews into your branded community, members can trust that
they’re getting the right information they need to make the best
4) PR & Announcements: Create a bigger buzz by making major announcements
in the community
A majority of company announcements may never get shared with
customers. Whether it’s a report about quarterly revenues,
mergers and acquisitions, or information about new products and services, most
customers can benefit from the stories your company tells.
5 Incredibly Valuable Ways Marketers Can Use Branded, Online Communities
releases may still be relevant to the media, but to your customers they seem
stale and outdated. A branded community
unique opportunity for companies to share news and information with
members in a way that encourages them to comment, ask questions and learn more.
Don’t just post a press release, though;
instead, write a blog post explaining the impact of the sales reports, post a
video featuring the new CEO or host a live discussion with a product team. By
positioning your announcements in a more engaging format, marketers can
more buzz within the community
, which can result in more support and increased
5) Social Sharing: Encourage members to share content on social sites
A recent study from the
NewYork Times Customer Insight Group showed that 94% of consumers
carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the
recipient, while 68% said they share to give people a better sense of whom they
are and what they care about. As marketers, it’s essential to give customers
something worth sharing.
At the most basic level, branded communities should allow members
to share content via social networks through social sharing buttons. Branded
communities can also offer more advanced opportunities for facilitating social
sharing. By identifying, recognizing
and rewarding customers’ social sharing behavior,
marketers can engage with super fans on
a regular basis, while making them a part of their marketing mix.
Most importantly, marketers can learn from what customers are
sharing and what they’re saying. As a result, marketers will
need to rethink how they reach their customers and recognize that they play a
significant role in how a company’s message is developed.
10 Down, 11 to Go!
By now, you have learned about ten ways to use branded
communities to boost your marketing efforts. But your toolbox isn’t
yet complete: eleven more compelling ways still remain.
Have a look through the full infographic, “21
Incredible Ways Marketers Can Use Branded Communities.”