The Return of the Branded Community

Social media strategies are considered an essential part of marketing plans today, but for a lot of brands their social media efforts are not paying off as well as expected. Many have been disappointed to realise social media isn’t necessarily the place to build any kind of meaningful relationships with people.

Fans

Despite having thousands of fans and followers, the money and time invested into social media marketing doesn’t always result in engaged consumers. Research shows that the majority of social media posts only reaches a fraction (2%) of fans and followers and is only shared or liked by 0.2% of those. The real interaction and engagement with consumers just doesn’t occur.

Nate Elliot, Vice President of market research company Forrester argues that Facebook and Twitter simply don’t offer the kinds of relationships that marketing managers desire. He urges marketers “to start building up strategies for social relationships around websites” in order to offer the connection that brands know they need and consumers know they want.

More than just a marketing strategy

It’s time for brands to stop wasting their efforts chasing likes and followers on social media, and focus on connecting with consumers in forums that actually work. A strong and engaged customer base is the ultimate asset for a consumer-facing business.

A branded community is a place for your customers and fans to unite over a mutual interest in your brand, and it’s important to acknowledge that the community does not exist to serve the business, it’s for the people who are in it. However, nurture your community the right way and it can turn your brand into a success by increasing customer loyalty, saving marketing costs, strengthening brand messages and stimulating tonnes of ideas for developing your business via co-creation. A branded community isn’t just a marketing strategy, to deliver powerful returns it has to be an integral part of the business strategy.

Technical solutions with the human touch

You probably already have a CRM in place. You have all the data - email data, purchase data, online behaviour - but often nothing really to join the dots, because at no point are the actual consumers, or consumer interactions integrated into the system. Most CRM programs render the potential of existing customers as an untapped marketing force. However, there are technical solutions covering content, data collection and measurement tools as well as community management and engagement, that enable brands to add a social relationship element to their own branded communities and opening a two way communication channel exactly where consumers are looking to engage.

Put the people centre stage of your marketing and communicate with them to find out what they actually want out of your products. Work to understand and meet their needs, encourage their conversations and listen to their opinions. With appreciation for your community and by truly engaging with your consumers you can nurture a branded community that delivers great returns.

Integration of trndsphere enables brands to work with their consumers at eye level and involve them at all stages of the product life cycle, be that driving awareness at launch via Word of Mouth, producing content, co-creation or offering insight in real-life research. This will help to unlock the true potential of a brand’s CRM. And the best news? The biggest resource that you need to get started – your consumers – is already in place!

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