The power of content to help build communities isn’t anything new. It’s an opportunity that keen marketers have been pushing for some time.
And why wouldn’t they? A community based around users of specific content means that you can easily reach your target market, spending less time and resources tracking down customers. You’re saving money and expanding your marketing – it’s a win-win!
And it’s an opportunity that is currently skyrocketing. During the COVID pandemic, YouTube (arguably the world’s biggest content community) recorded an 8% increase in usage by US adults. It seems likely that marketing will become more and more content focused as time goes on.
If you haven’t already, it’s probably time to start focusing on building your content community. It’s something that your competitors will be doing before long (if they aren’t already), so why not get ahead of the curve?
But where do you start? Here are some tips to help you build an effective content community.
Identify your focus topic & platform
It might seem obvious but before you can build a community, you need to know what topic you want to focus on. Whether it’s supercars or bee keeping, make sure you know what your focus topic is.
Have a clear set of goals that you want to achieve through your community. Knowing exactly what you want to gain will help structure the kind of posts that you create.
Next, you’ve got to find a platform that works for your community. There are numerous platforms that you could go with. Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest – the list goes on.
Think about the demographics that use different platforms. If your marketing is aimed towards an older audience, Twitter, with an average age range of 30-49, is probably a better choice than Snapchat, which has an age range of 13-34. If you already have an audience built around your site, then running your own forum can also be a great platform.
Identifying the right platform for your community is probably the most important step to reaching your audience.
Learn from others
Join as many content communities as you can. They don’t necessarily have to relate to the same topics that you want to cover, although this helps. Preferably join successful groups, as you’ll learn more from these.
By joining as many communities as possible, you can get a sense of how content communities work, and the kinds of posts that are likely to excite an audience.
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Foster a sense of… community
It can’t just be one big marketing stunt. People should feel at home and part of the community. The kind of content you post should be light-hearted and invite responses from your audience. A focus on evergreen content will mean that your posts stay relevant for a longer period.
A key part of an online community is building a trusting relationship with your audience. To do this, you’ll need to know them inside out. Spend time researching their interests and the kinds of content that they respond to. If you want to grow your brand, you’ll need to do this anyway.
By focusing on topics that members of your community care about, you’ll be helping to foster a trusting relationship that, in turn, will improve confidence in your brand.
Listen to your audience
A content community is a great place to get honest feedback from your core audience. This means they should be your first port of call to test future branding and marketing.
Listen to what your audience have to say about you and use this information to structure your future marketing and product development.
If your community hates your branding, it’s a pretty good indication that it won’t work in your wider marketing. By listening to your audience, you could be saved a costly (and potentially humiliating) failed ad campaign.
Make a safe space for your community
Make sure that you maintain a clear set of rules around your community. People won’t be thrilled to find that it’s filled with trolls. Employ moderators and make sure that everyone knows what the rules are.
If you’re running a community on a forum or group, you can make sure that everyone signs up to the rules before being permitted entry to the group.
Obviously, if you’re community revolves around a social media account, it’s much harder to enforce these kinds of rules. However, there are steps you can take.
For example, with Twitter, you can enable follower-only commenting. This reduces the amount of spam and trolling you’ll receive. You can also block any commenters that break your rules.
Don’t forget to promote
So, you’ve decided on a platform and done the research into your target market. Great! But how do you reach your audience? There are numerous ways to market your content community.
One way is to partner with influencers that relate to your product or identity. If you want to build a community around cosmetics for example, contact cosmetic influencers to promote it. They are likely to have a large following in the market that you want to reach. They could bring a large influx of members to your community.
One thing that people typically respond to is the concept of rewards. If you reward people who introduce new members to your content community, you’ll likely see an influx of people. Just make sure that your reward isn’t too costly!
Finally, don’t forget about word of mouth. A strong call to action can encourage people to spread the word about your community with their friends and family. There’s literally no downside to this strategy – it’s free and can bring new members to your community.
What are you waiting for?
Maintaining a content community is an insightful and cost-effective way of growing your brand. By carefully considering your platform and focus topic, you can tap directly into your target audience.
By fostering a sense of community, you can create a relationship with your audience and gain insights in ways that simply aren’t possible with a traditional ad campaign.
Above all else, it can put you ahead of your competitors, both in terms of customer relationship and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. So, what are you waiting for? The potential benefits of a content community are endless. Start yours today!
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