Communities are nothing new. They’re simply a tribe of people who connect over a common cause – be it pain point, interest, hobby or anything alike.
However, the importance of online communities has grown exponentially ever since the global pandemic, and this trend continues even today.
Reddit is home to more than 130,000 active communities aka subreddits, and there are more than 1.8 billion active monthly users in Facebook groups.
In fact, more than 50% of all Facebook users are active members of five or more communities.
These are just a few numbers that suggest online communities are where people have been spending their time.
Over 75% of large companies realize this and have at least one online community.
No wonder community marketing is attributed to be the next big thing!
And this makes it all the more important for every brand out there to explore online communities as a marketing channel.
If you’re a brand marketer who’s heard of community marketing already, but haven’t been able to test out the waters, or if you’re curious about what community marketing can do for your brand, this blog is for you.
I have found there are five primary reasons why community marketing should be on top of your brand’s marketing strategy.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right into them!
1. Community Marketing is a more authentic alternative to Influencer Marketing
Okay, first things first. Community marketing and influencer marketing are two completely different concepts.
More often than not, people use them interchangeably and are not aware of how the two differ.
Influencer Marketing means getting your brand endorsed by people who have a significant following on their social channels.
Since people “follow” these individuals, the underlying assumption is that they’d have an influence over their choices. (Hence, they’re known as influencers.)
In influencer marketing, it’s only the brand page owners or influencers that provide information to members and post stuff to keep them engaged.
Therefore, it comes under the traditional balcony approach where there’s just one-way communication at the follower and not a two-way conversation.
Here’s an example of an influencer post.
Sharing a few comments on this post below.
Likes – 1.7K
Comments – 80
Comments as % of likes – 4.7%
Queries – 0
The brand is surely getting awareness, but they have no clue as to what members think of their product and if they’d be willing to buy it.
Communities, on the other hand, are like halls where two-way communication takes place.
People choose to be a part of a community where they can talk with like-minded individuals about the things they care about.
It’s where the social interactions are largely in the form of conversations rather than simply just reactions.
Here’s an example of a branded post done in a parenting Facebook group that has over 37K members.
Sharing a few post comments below.
This branded post has got 114 reactions and 224 comments. The brand is not only generating awareness about its product but also driving consideration and understanding the top of mind of its consumers as the comments are way more descriptive.
And this is not all. One such post in communities leads to additional user-generated posts which in turn leads to increased engagement and brand impressions.
2. Community marketing generates more engagement than any other form of marketing
In addition to being a goldmine for real and authentic user conversations, community marketing also earns a reputation for generating the maximum meaningful engagement vs other social channels.
A typical post in a community sees over 50% of the engagement in the form of comments.
Here’s an example of a post done in a Facebook group.
It got 29 reactions and 134 comments i.e. almost 5x more than reactions.
You can check out the comments here.
However, with posts done on Instagram or Facebook brand pages, 95% of the engagement is driven by likes.
Here’s an example of a post done on a brand Facebook page.
Here’s the comments this post got.
Influencer marketing typically generates meaningful engagement less than 10% of the time, while community marketing generates 40-60% meaningful engagement.
If we talk about Facebook groups specifically, the content can’t be boosted in any way. So, all engagement in groups is 100% organic and interest and relevance driven.
Given the high organic engagement in communities and high engagement being a catalyst for organic reach, the Facebook algorithm determines the group members to be ‘inherently interested’ in the group content, and therefore the organic reach of Facebook groups tends to be very high. Hence, communities provide a cost-effective way to drive organic reach.
3. Community marketing offers the best product education and demo/use
Product education or how/when to use a product is a very common objective of a marketing campaign.
Other than YouTube, it’s hard to drive product education among consumers because of short-form content.
But, this is something that community marketing does well.
Have a look at this Facebook group post where the admin explains how easy it is to wipe off stains from walls painted with Berger easy clean paints. She even shares a video where she and her son are seen removing the stains from the wall with a cloth.
Here’s another example where a community leader talks about the all-new Samsung Galaxy smartwatch and the incredible features it has.
What’s common in these community posts is the level of detail and the way they are customized to the members.
The posts not only cover the important details of the product but the tone of voice and choice of features were crafted to ensure the content resonates with the community members.
The most effective way to create consideration is to focus on the most relevant features for this group and share this information in a voice that they trust.
It’s safe to say that community marketing is the ideal medium to deliver product education in your consumer’s voice.
4. Community Marketing campaigns increase ‘Word-of-Mouth Advocacy’ for your brand
People turning to one another for advice and suggestions is a tale as old as time, and continues to remain equally significant even in the digital age where new forms of marketing like influencer marketing and community marketing have picked up.
But as we know, influencer marketing entails one-way communication and is heavily driven by reactions.
Communities, on the other hand, are filled with strong advocates who are not afraid to voice their opinion and vouch for their favorite brands and products.
Check out these posts across different Facebook groups where members are seeking advice from fellow community members for new products they should try out.
When members respond to the comments with their preferred brand products, they are recommending their favorite brand products and driving consideration, loyalty, and advocacy.
P.S. Imagine the wealth of such conversations in communities and the impact brands will have on their potential customers when they run campaigns across relevant communities.
5. Community Marketing ensures a massive Share of Voice (KPI)
Most media campaigns struggle with the sheer volume of noise that surrounds a campaign because of the other media surrounding your campaign message.
Community marketing is one of the few mass media campaign types where a brand can dominate the share of voice because they are literally the only brand marketing in that channel at that given time.
With Community Marketing, you get the vast majority of your share of voice without the clutter of traditional media.
Got enough reasons to start harnessing the power of community marketing?
Get in touch with us and our community marketing experts will guide you as you unlock the potential of community marketing.
VP of the U.S. market at Convosight. He got his first job in marketing right when the dot-com bubble was bursting. He founded a digital agency when MySpace was still a thing, and helped brands launch their first pages on Facebook 👥 and Twitter. Brad has also navigated the early days of programmatic and influencer marketing and now finds himself again taking part in a seismic shift in advertising by helping scale Community Marketing at the first Community Marketing Platform.