The name ‘Community Marketing’ is somewhat misleading – because really, you aren’t marketing directly to your community. Instead you are engaging in conversation with them as an entity to help your brand and event. Direct marketing efforts for the purpose of “Community Marketing” may backfire. This is because people are quickly turned off by a insincere sales pitches or marketing efforts.
But what is spot on is the focus on the community – the currently existing community of loyal customers of your brand and events. Community marketing is for the people who have engaged with your company actively.
People in the world today won’t settle for a one-sided conversation- their expectation is interactive. People want a connection with you, the availability of communication, and an experience that furthers the experience from engaging your brand from your event.
Community marketing – organic and sponsored
Customers engage and interact with each other before, during and after the event to share their experiences. This is usually on online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or blog posts. Without any extra effort on your part, your customers automatically work on creating your events perception and presence which stems from their collective experience. This is great news right? Human nature of talking, word of mouth, is building this community presence for you without any extra effort from you from outside of your event.
However, if the your event experience wasn’t necessarily positive, the sharing from your community may not build a good image of you. A situation such as this one, calls for sponsored community marketing.
Sponsored community marketing essentially puts you in the position of better controlling the dialogue in your community regarding your brand or event. This can be done by creating online spaces for your community where they don’t just interact with each other but also directly with you. You can directly respond to any queries at any time – from before till after the event. This is an amazingly simple way to your customers with your brand persona. These engagements are also a great way to grow for your brand and events in new ways.
What platform to use?
Where do you want to build this community? This depends on who your event is targeting. If your well-being event was for the elderly, maybe an online platform would not allow for the connection you aspire to create. Sports events for younger children would benefit from online forums, pages, or platforms targeted at parents. Think about who your target is and think about the best way to allow communication between you and them. Find out where to find them, how to reach out to them and what platform allows an ongoing conversation between you and them, and among themselves.
What do your customers gain from your sponsored community marketing?
Will this solely be a place for them to come to you with queries, problems or any questions? Is this a space for them to communicate among each other, allowing you to be an observer? Is this where your customers can come to find more information about your sports activity, or more just upcoming events from you? Figure out what you want to this space to be and how much you want to incorporate it. Let this guide you in understanding the purpose of your community marketing efforts and how they can be achieved.
Be active, engage with them. Do not market to them
This is not a method for you to further sell your event to your customers. Forget about marketing and focus on communicating with your customers, creating an experience for them outside your event, further engaging them in your brand, events and mission. Actively pursue genuine conversation with them. Be mindful of the persona you want to create with your brand.
Share exclusive information with your community
Depending on the purpose of your community marketing direction, you can share exclusive information that will make your customers more likely to engage with your platform. This also ramps up their loyalty towards you, and helps retaining them as customers as they are still engaged with you outside of the event.
Show them the science behind your well-being or fitness events. Share special deals to upcoming events with them. Allow them a sneak peek of upcoming projects. There is so much you can share to keep your customers excited and looking forward for more.
Remember, the most important part of community marketing is your customers! This is about retaining your customers, engagement them in dialogue and giving them experiences outside of your events. Community marketing done right, is a powerful tool in customer retention and building their loyalty to you.