Relate To A New Generation With A Solid Community Marketing Strategy

Founder and CEO of FiveChannels, specializing in creating brand awareness, traffic and lead gen, marketing funnels, social media and more.

No one likes ads, especially young people. In fact, according to one study, 82% of Gen Z say they skip video ads when they are able to. These younger generations prefer genuinely valuable content and learning about products from influencers and social media videos. 

So how can you build authenticity around your brand for younger generations who are quickly becoming a driving force within the market? One solution: By implementing a community marketing strategy that focuses on providing value and building loyalty.

What Is Community Marketing? 

Community marketing is all about cultivating a community. It seeks to engage individuals through meaningful conversations that are not intrusive. When you’re looking at community marketing, you’re trying to meet the needs of your existing customers. While you can draw in new customers with this tactic, it’s more about keeping the ones you already have.

There are two types of community marketing: organic and sponsored. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the latter. With sponsored community marketing, companies invest funds into community growth. They use platforms like Facebook to create conversations between other customers and their brands. An example of this would be a gaming developer who creates a Discord channel where users are able to interact with each other and with the developers. It allows companies the opportunity to create non-intrusive conversations. How you communicate matters, too. Younger generations want authenticity. 

Benefits of Community Marketing

The first benefit is the cost. Community marketing costs far less than cold outreach such as brand awareness campaigns and search advertising. Remember, it’s about keeping your existing customers happy. This means you are not tossing money at ads and market research to continually replace customers you have lost. You are focused on keeping your current customers. While you may continue to focus on bringing in new customers through other facets, you do not want to lose the customers you already have. In addition, happy customers will ideally spread the word about your business.

The next is increased loyalty. A company that makes customers feel like they belong is likely to have repeat customers. As a business, your goal should be to make your customers feel like you care about their business. You can do this by building trust and mutual understanding. If your customers feel heard, your relationship with them grows. A good relationship with your customers can inspire loyalty, and loyalty means your customers keep coming back to you.

Another benefit of community marketing is building authenticity. Gen Z and millennials are a force within the market, and they relate to companies and their products in new ways that older generations did not. Part of it is that they are highly digital generations. Social media drives many decisions for these generations. With that, they want to see real people having real experiences with you, your company and your product or service. They want to hear about what they are getting, and that your goal is more than making money. 

Community Marketing Strategies

So, how do you build effective community marketing strategies? There are many different ways to do it, and you should choose a route that makes the most sense for your company and brand. With that in mind, here are a few strategies I often suggest for my clients:

• Build relationships with influencers.

Influencers can provide a lot to your community marketing strategy. Because Gen Z and millennials are very likely to buy products they see on social media, influencers can help get your name out there in an authentic manner.

Younger customers are more skeptical about traditional advertising; they recognize that what they see is not always what they get. When you build relationships with the right influencers, your brand is more likely to come across as authentic instead of just looking like a paid advertisement.

Your influencers do not need to be stars or people who have gone viral. Target influencers within the community you are seeking to reach who have powerful voices in their niche. 

• Research, research, research.

Knowing how to reach your community is important. Maybe this involves you doing research regarding how to effectively communicate with millennials or Gen Z. Maybe it involves doing research regarding social media platforms and how to use them effectively. Researching different factors of customer psychology can also be a big benefit.

You need to know what your customers respond to positively in the marketing space. You can do this by A/B testing different marketing ideas with customers who have signed up for a newsletter, or even customers in your store.

• Participate.

Participate in the community. When you engage within your community, do not do so as a marketer. The individuals who partake in these types of communities are not looking for a sales pitch. They are there because they have a passion for that topic or a desire to learn more. 

If you do community marketing incorrectly, you can send the wrong message to your customers. A brand that looks like it is all about itself is a brand that younger generations want nothing to do with. 

• Share your expertise in a way that helps customers.

Online communities are great places to provide educational content. This can include videos or blog posts. These educational tools should not be about marketing your product or service. They should be about giving your customers powerful insights related to your products or services. Take things a notch down, forget the jargon, and just educate your consumers. For example, if you own a tea shop, you can post information on the health benefits of different types of tea. 

Build Your Community Marketing Strategy

As Gen Z and millennials take over as the driving force in spending, finding ways to encourage loyalty is essential. Community marketing can allow you to build real relationships with your customers, which will keep them coming back to you time and time again. 

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