I recently had a consultation session with a street ball company. I was amazed with their passion and drive to really build and strengthen a street ball community, with clear objectives in mind: encourage targeted market segments to experience the fun, fulfilment, and the discipline that street balling gives.
Anyway, I won’t explain their entire marketing plan here (hehe). But I would like to discuss in this article the gravity of community building when it comes to marketing. Communities are VERY important, but surprisingly, a lot of brands still overlook this.
I’m defining community here as: a group of people with the same interests and some demographics in common, usually found in organisations. And a million thanks to social media, it’s very easy to reach thousands of communities today!
I’ve harnessed the power of communities, online and offline. And here are some of the things I did:
Search in social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger forums/ groups) for group names that are related to your product. The products I market the most are books. So I join several book related forums in Facebook. I follow book sellers on Instagram. I know bloggers who do book reviews. Why is it important to follow these? 1) You can sell products here, and there’s a higher possibility that they will buy because it’s already within their interest. 2) You can observe what they are discussing about, products that they need and are looking for. 3) You can see what competition is doing, and other trends you need to know.
Join organisations that have members within your target market. If your product or service is finance related, you might want to explore organisations or events that tackle financial literacy. The people who are in here are already into financially related services. They are also most probably looking for one! If your product is beauty related, then join women-centric events– for mothers, single women, etc. Network and build relationships.
Seek partnerships. After you’ve built your rapport with the members of the community, and hopefully the decision makers, then feel free to ask for support in marketing your brand. Maybe you can have a booth space for selling or promotion during their events. Or you can give away/show promotional materials to the members. Or it can be as simple as asking the members to follow you on Facebook or subscribe to your website updates.
And of course, this is a given– make sure your product and service delivers. Communities are very effective in building good PR (public relations) and word of mouth. But it can also easily do the opposite. Communities can also easily spread bad PR and bad word of mouth. So be careful about that as well.
Have you tried penetrating communities when marketing your product? Let me know your experience by commenting below!