Today, brand communication has changed massively, and brands are constantly innovating how they communicate with their customers.
One such marketing trend that has garnered the likes of both large enterprises and up-and-coming brands is Influencer Marketing. So much so that brands have already started allocating their marketing budgets and including it in their marketing mix.
Not so far behind, is a relatively new yet significant marketing strategy that brands have started leveraging to achieve their objectives, i.e. Community Marketing.
Thanks to the new wave of social media platforms and digital communities that has brought about this transformation!
And it is this change that’s shifting our focus to metrics like ‘reach’ and ‘engagement’, giving priority to the awareness stage in the marketing funnel.
While Influencer Marketing is a surefire way to tap into these metrics and attract both customers and potential customers, brands have started to realize that while brand awareness is crucial, it is far more important that people trust them because the route to brand advocacy is via consideration.
And that’s where community marketing comes in. It helps brands meaningfully engage with their customers who are already talking about them in digital communities across platforms.
With so much to learn about these marketing strategies, deciding which one to implement for your brand communication can get overwhelming. This is why we’re here with a guide that will help you make sense of it all.
As you scroll down, you’ll learn about:
- What is Influencer Marketing and Influencer Marketing examples
- What is Community Marketing, its examples, and how it is helping brands achieve their different objectives
- Influencer Marketing vs Community Marketing (the difference that you should know)
- Top FAQs about community based marketing and influencer marketing
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing means getting your brand endorsed by individuals with a significant following on social media.
It is perceived that since people “follow” these individuals, they would have an “influence” over their followers’ choices.
If you think of it, influencer marketing is pretty similar to traditional celebrity advertising.
But, the main issue with these celebrities/ influencers is that the brand gets overshadowed by these big names. Let’s have a look below how.
Influencer Marketing Examples
Here’s an example of a branded influencer post done by a renowned fashion influencer. She collaborated with Maybelline India to promote their newly launched sky high mascara.
This popular influencer has over 1.7 M followers on Instagram. And as you can observe, this post got:
- Over 70K likes
- 236 Comments
- Comments as % of likes is 0.33%
Taking another example of a branded influencer post done by a beauty influencer. She collaborated with the brand – Love Beauty and Planet, to promote their shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask from the argan oil and lavender range that keeps frizzy hair at bay.
This popular influencer has over 169K followers on Instagram. And as you can see, this post got:
- 1.6K Likes
- 23 Comments
- Comments as % of likes is 1.4%
But, how many of these comments are about the brand? Are people actually concerned about the product she’s endorsing or are they talking about the influencer and her appearance?
Let’s have a look at a few comments from these two posts that will help gauge this.
Comments on the first post
Comments on the second post
Clearly, there are almost zero queries about the brand or product in question.
These brands have generated awareness about their new products among millions of people, but that’s all. The post metrics certainly do not point towards ‘consideration’.
And that’s the thing with influencer marketing – the Comments: Likes ratio is often less than 5% in brand collaboration posts.
Even if the Comments: Like ratio is high, most of the comments are not relevant to the product at all.
That’s because influencer platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok are “broadcast channels” with “one-way communication”.
Consideration requires convincing, which does not happen with one-way communication.
You need to have spirited discussions where people are posting about their issues and queries and getting effective solutions in return.
Now about the “Reach” itself, the organic reach of Instagram influencers varies from 25% (10-50K followers) to 14% (>200K followers). Even if a brand is paying for “relevant” reach, the actual reach is as boosted as a standalone brand post/advertisement.
However, category-related topical influencers do help in creating awareness and consideration. The watch out here is that these influencers often endorse competitive brands in the same category. Eventually, followers tend to disbelieve these seemingly “real” brand experiences, which can be understood by reduced comments in brand-included posts.
Hence, it is safe to say that Influencer Marketing does get your brand name out there, but has little to no impact on ‘consideration’.
Now, let’s understand:
What is Community Marketing?
Community marketing means getting your brand in front of your consumers across digital communities in a meaningful and non-intrusive way.
Before we go into the details of it, let’s first understand what a community is.
Whether physical or digital, a community is a “tribe of individuals” who come together over a common cause, pain point, or shared interest.
The advent of the digital age has increased the scope for the number of communities a person could be a part of. If you are a woman with children, you can be a part of parenting and beauty communities.
Similarly, if you’re a woman author who is inclined towards fitness, you can be a part of a fitness community and a literature community.
Each of these communities will have something valuable to offer since these are associated with the different aspects of life.
Communities are where “real and honest” conversations happen. Members have open and transparent conversations with one another without the innate fear of being judged or trolled. They trust each other for any sort of advice and suggestions for things they need help with.
Have a look at this post from one of the most trusted parenting communities on Facebook.
Sharing a few comments from this post.
Imagine if you could get access to these conversations and position yourself as a solution to the discussed issues and problems!
Imagine the wealth of consumer insights you would be able to derive from these conversations!
Thinking of the platforms these communities exist on? Well, there’s Reddit, Discord, Telegram, Slack to name a few. However, the largest hub of communities exists on Facebook.
More than 1.8 billion people are connected by over 70 million Facebook groups.
In fact, sometime back, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is making communities on the platform at par with friend connections, putting Facebook Groups at the app’s centre.
In his own words, “Groups are at the heart of the experience.”
That being said, it’s more important than ever for brands to leverage the power of communities to communicate with their target audience.
Not to forget the 100% organic engagement that communities offer!
Yes, you read that right! All the conversations happening in communities are 100% organic and there is no way one can boost them. Even there is no such thing as paid reach or growth for that matter.
When brands engage meaningfully with these group members, the result is ever-increasing ‘Brand Mentions’. Within these conversations, your brand will be recommended more often, and you’ll receive glowing testimonials from your users.
That’s what community marketing is all about – purpose-led marketing campaigns done in communities by the admins and moderators, subtly integrating brands in community conversations.
If you’d like to learn more about community marketing, here’s a detailed guide that will help you understand everything about it 👇🏻
What is the difference between Community Marketing and Influencer Marketing?
So far you know what community marketing and influencer marketing is. Let’s now understand the key differences that determine how community-based marketing is different from influencer marketing.
1. Community Marketing is more targeted than Influencer Marketing
Let’s say you’re a brand looking to target moms of newborn babies.
How do you know you’re reaching your exact target audience?
Communities make it easier as there are communities specific to a pain point, cause, interest or any life stage. Just search for the relevant keyword and you’ll come across hundreds of communities around it. ‘
With influencers, you can’t be really sure. While there might be hundreds of mom influencers out there and you might even communicate your message to them via those, but you never know if you reached your target group specifically as moms with kids (no matter the age of the kids) would be following them.
2. Community Marketing increases organic engagement, Influencer Marketing boosts reach
With influencer marketing you can easily reach thousands and millions of people who ‘follow’ the influencers you choose to partner with.
However, the only drawback is that no real conversations happen about your brand or product that the influencer is endorsing.
Community marketing, on the other hand, offers 100% organic engagement, with people constantly talking about your brand and product by giving each other the desired tips and suggestions.
An oral care brand recently tried their hands on both influencer and community-based marketing to launch their new product. And here’s what they experienced:
- The influencer marketing campaign that ran for 15 days on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook Page attracted 7.5 M total engagement. Total comments were merely 15K, i.e. just 0.2% engagement on posts happened via comments.
- Their community marketing campaign that ran across multiple Facebook groups for a duration of 13 days attracted 50K total engagement, 21K of which were comments. This means comments make up for 42% of the total engagement on posts.
High engagement in Facebook groups translates to higher reach. This implies that the Facebook algorithm determines the group members’ interest in the content shared in the group. This way the organic reach of Facebook groups continues to grow!
3. Community Marketing offers actionable consumer insights
The conversations happening in communities are honest and genuine. Members share their unfiltered opinions on different brands and products, thus giving you a closer look at how your brand shines and where the shortcomings lie.
Here’s an example of a post from a Facebook group where a community member is inquiring about skin care products to hydrate her dry and rough skin.
Look at the comments this post got.
Meanwhile, influencer marketing does not give you any solid answers on how the audience reacts to your brand message.
Here is an analysis of audience response to the product launch of the oral care brand we mentioned above.
Influencers give the brand high reach but minimal consideration for the product whereas community marketing not only increases awareness but also drives high consideration for the product, giving them insight into conversion barriers.
4. Communities offer higher User Generated Content
Group members always offer value to each other, and when they are regular users of your brand, they tend to talk about the products they use and tell whether or not they like them.
Hence, the likelihood of mentioning your brand or product is extremely high. Be it a “before vs after” picture after using your product or a testimonial praising your brand.
Meanwhile, the chances of attracting UGC via influencer marketing campaigns are slim because people look at the influencer’s post or video once and move on.
Community Marketing takes the lead
Considering the benefits that both community-based marketing and influencer marketing offer, the former certainly takes a front seat.
Brands looking to build consideration and drive advocacy along with increasing awareness should definitely leverage the power of communities as they can help you achieve your different objectives.
If you wish to get started with community marketing for your brand, REACH OUT TO US.
Our community marketing expert will get in touch with you.
Community Marketing vs Influencer Marketing FAQs
Ques. What are the top influencer marketing platforms today?
Ans. The top influencer marketing platforms that exist are Instagram, YouTube, Facebook Pages, and TikTok.
Ques. Is an influencer panel the same as a community?
Ans. No, a group of influencers is not the same as a community as they are not connected on any community platform, and there is no conversation or two-way communication happening between them.
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