Influential Predictions For Content Marketing: Building Online Brand Communities

8

MAY 2017

(Part II)

I remember back when the Internet was still so young, I and a group of book lovers would come together at a local bakery to share what we were currently reading. We were a small community of reading enthusiasts who talked about the literary world, in a realm all our own and we just kept getting bigger by the numbers. This kind of community was a safe haven for some and an outlet for others. I do miss this type of physical community but times have indeed changed and I am not complaining.

Now, we don’t have to wait for Thursday to come and get together and meet. We have an online community to connect with members, invite new zealots, strengthen relationships and just have a nice online conversation thru chat and video.

And we were not alone. There are millions of other interest groups interacting and existing in their own communities and connecting with other same-minded people. This opens up an emerging spectacle for marketers to take advantage of. By building communities, brands no longer just connect with their consumers. They also build relationships between consumers.

Why build a community?

Simply put, it’s going to be big in the future with a little help with content marketing. Whether you have only 17 people in your subscription list or you have 7,000, you’ve already started building your community. But starting is different from actual building and growing. Community building doesn’t stop at 17 or 7,000. There’s more to it than just counting members. If you’re satisfied with your members, you don’t really have a community, you only have an audience.

An audience will be interested in your product, read your content or maybe buy every so often. But there is hardly any direct interaction with you, the brand.

While a community on the other hand, are people who do everything an audience does plus have great engagement with you on social media, have conversations on the phone or thru Skype, email you, ask questions, etc.

There are many reasons why brands should grow a community:

  • They can help you create better products and services with the help of content marketing. If one has a query on a certain feature, the community is there to lend an ear and give a personal opinion or experience.

 

  • The engagement that communities create can help with your brand’s success. Having a lot of followers and subscribers doesn’t always spell profits.

 

  • Community members become good friends because of the relationships they form thru their conversations. And since they have similar likes and dislikes, friendships are forged.

 

  • You’re never alone. A home-based writer or a stay-at-home mom will never be lonely because someone’s always online in the community. You can always start a conversation, turn on a live feed or interact thru comments and replies.

 

How to build a community around your brand

Getting help with content marketing will make you decide which social media platform to use.

 

  1. Know your customers very well. Be genuine in getting to know your community members and make interactions real.

 

  1. Ask and listen to what they want. If you ask your followers what they want to read or know about, it’s much easier to get help with content marketing and create great content.

 

  1. Put your followers at the center of the community. Whatever input they do, retweet it, share it, reblog it and acknowledge them. This will create a sense of belonging and create more engagement.

 

  1. Invite followers to share your posts, reply to newsletters, answer surveys, etc. You will get plenty of useful information for your content creation.

 

  1. Use strategies like interactive live video chats, product launches, group discussions, user suggestions, and other activities where your followers play a major part.

 

Getting help with content marketing in the build

Building communities is indeed the future for content marketing but it must be done with the right intentions. Not only does a community build customer loyalty for the brand, it’s also doesn’t cost too much plus it gives the brand a plethora of insights to make the business grow. Through serious content marketing planning, concerted commitment and constant engagement and support, companies can build and maintain brand communities that can reap high returns.

The efforts to meet once a week in our book club during our days of old didn’t all go in vain after all.

 

The third part of the series about the future of content marketing will feature customer journeys and how marketers can use these to better understand the customer.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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