Why Building Your Community Matters
To begin let’s define what community means today. “A community is a social unit sharing a sense of place or in virtual space united by the social media communication platforms they use.”
These are all important, however, there’s one asset that is usually missed when companies are asked this question. Your communities. It’s because there’s a simple equation: bigger communities = more revenue.
Community is what your business is built on. Before your customers became customers, they belonged to a community that was exposed to your products and services.
Growing Your Community
Why is a community is so important for marketers?
When you talk to most marketers about their communities, they don’t seem to have a digital marketing strategy designed to develop their community. In most cases their idea of a strategy involves their Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers and email subscribers.
For many marketers, their marketing strategy is often an afterthought or the outcome of a momentary campaign.
Marketing has traditionally been organized around a campaign. Many marketers strategy is to simply throw something against the wall and see if it sticks. Depending on your results, you would adjust your message and repeat as necessary.
It’s not a very scientific approach.
Developing Your Community has Changed
Before the internet became part of our daily lives, companies depended on print, radio and television to reach communities. Today, it’s a new world where everyone can build their own global community using websites,mobile apps, email, and social media.
Social media permeates our lives with giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest dominating the conversation. Each of these social media giants has developed their own distinct type of community. The rapid merging of social media with mobile devices allows visitors to communicate back to you in real time. That’s a game-changer, which is often done in a very public manner.
This all seems very familiar, doesn’t it? After all, you use email marketing. You might have made some videos and put them on YouTube. You’ve got a profile on Linkedin and a page on Facebook. Your website even “sort of” works on smartphones.
So, you’ve got this covered and must be building your communities correctly. Right?
Developing Your Community is a Marketing Responsibility
Originally online marketers delivered their message using emails. However, today you have to also deliver your message via social media platforms or your mobile channels using tools like Mogreet, Heyo, or Convirza. You have to build your own proprietary communities helped by the available technology. If not, you’ll have to pay in the form of advertising.
Before the Internet, creative thinkers only had to worry about being creative. They didn’t have to assemble a community because mass media did that for them. Advertising’s “Mad Men” found reaching a community much simpler before the Internet.
The difference today is that you not only coming up with the creative content, but you also have to think about distribution. And building a community that belongs to you.
A community that nobody else has access to. So when you have that great piece of content, you are ready to push the button and immediately reach your community.
My message is that you have to look at everything you do in marketing. Then you have to optimize your content to build your proprietary community, because it gives you a huge competitive advantage.
Who Are Seekers, Amplifiers and Joiners?
These are the three top-level communities that marketers have exclusive access to.
Seekers Look for Information
Seekers are people who are looking for information or for entertainment. You’re a Seeker when you turn on your TV and flip through the channels to find something to entertain you.
Seekers live in the moment. Once Seekers have their fill of entertainment or find the information they need, they go away without a trace. What do you think you need to do to engage and convert Seekers, getting them to act?
Social Media is Built on Amplifiers
Amplifiers are what social media is built upon. It’s where your customers turn into your best form of marketing. Amplifiers can be part of a community within a community.
With most communication models, there is usually a sender, a receiver and a message. The sender sends the message and the receiver receives it. However, the communication theory didn’t anticipate that the receivers themselves can then send their own message.
Social media has changed this and has added another layer to it in terms of distribution and reach of these messages. Amplifiers are the ones you don’t have a direct relationship with.
You have no means to reach Amplifiers directly, unless you convert them into the third group, the joiners. Amplifiers look for access to information and want to bring their first-to-know experience to their own audience. You’ll discover how to do well with Amplifiers.
Joiners Give You Permission
A Joiner is somebody who gives you permission to communicate with him or her directly through a specific channel. Your Joiner community is your customers, because they purchase from you.
Product-related messages allow you to communicate with your customer. A couple of other Joiner communities are employees and partners.
When you look at it from a marketing perspective, Joiners are subscribers, fans and followers. These are communities with whom you have a pushbutton relationship. Joiners give you permission to send them an email, as long as you meet their expectations.
Converting Seekers to Joiners
You have got to look at it as a desired outcome and measure against that goal and objective. Many companies implicitly expect to grow their subscriber base, fans or followers, but they don’t have an explicit plan to get there. Become the Social Media Marketing Rockstar for your business.
One of the first things you will want to do to convert seekers by turning them into email subscribers. The inbox is critically important.
The first thing you need to do is examine your website for the places that seekers come and look at what your capture mechanisms are. You also need to understand how you ask people to join your audience.
Too many of us get focused on creating content that will be popular rather than how it will convert. It can be called “the empty calories of content marketing.”
How can you measure the value of your Facebook fans? Although Facebook fans aren’t revenue producers for every brand, the Facebook page for PetFlow has been used to grow its fan base astronomically.
What is Proprietary Community Development?
A collaborative and cross-channel, Proprietory Community Development is how communities are built that your company alone can access. This new marketing method is built on what I call The Community Imperative.
You have a real advantage in the marketplace with building your own proprietory communities. You are now able to with the push of a button, to drive consumers to your content. Meanwhile your competitors fight for customers attention, depending on ad placement and bidding for keywords.
Developing your own proprietary communities gives you several advantages. Your proprietary communities help lower your costs to reach new prospects and existing customers. Your sales are driven in a more on-demand manner.
Personalization helps treat consumers as individuals rather than faceless masses. Your comunity development optimizes your budget maximizing the benefit from you paid, owned, and earned media.
Your Communities are Assets
Your communities are assets, valuable business assets. Though not tangible assets, your proprietary communities can quickly be turned into paying customers.
It’s easy to see the value of physical assets, however it’s much harder to understand the actual value of your proprietary communities. In addition, several factors affect how most value their proprietary community.
- The concept of proprietary communities is relatively new.
- We focus on channel management rather than community development.
- Our channel choices are still evolving.
Since your proprietary communities aren’t reflected in your financial statements, they are often undervalued. In the near future this will change with your communities becoming part of you ledger. Being officially recognized and their actual value noted.