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How to create a community that will attract new users, raise awareness of your brand, and drive sales of your goods and services? The concept of your community will depend on the aim you pursue. Let us study out what communities let meet what business needs.
The social media where you are going to build communication with customers does not matter—first and foremost, you need to define a consistent idea, on the basis of which your content plan will be built. The idea, in its turn, depends on the aim you pursue. In general, we can come up with 4 key ideas that are formed on the basis of a classic purchase funnel:
In Russia, most communities are devoted to certain companies, and the whole content turns on their goods or services anyway. This approach is just right for such brands like Coca Cola; however, if your brand, product, or service is known to far from everyone, it is worth starting from the very first want formation. That is why the first development stage for a social media community is creation of a concept that is interesting for users and solves their problems.
If you can clearly answer three questions set below, you will be able to form a concept of your community with no trouble:
We recommend building the concept on the problems of your target users, somehow connecting it to products or services of your company.
Traditionally, there are three types of social media communities:
The name speaks for itself. The main purpose of such communities is sales, and the whole content is devoted only to goods and services. At that, it does not mean at all that the whole content must consist of pictures of goods on the shelves accompanied with boring descriptions.
A great example of a selling community is lamoda, in which posts users can find styling advice and season trends supplemented with professional pictures of products that are, needless to say, sold in the marketplace.
1. Micro businesses.
2. Love brands (mass market).
The latter got this name because they are favorite brands of the audience: people are ready to overpay and even buy goods of not the highest quality because this is that very brand.
By all means, it is not so easy to become a love brand—this is a long way to go. So, now the most popular communities that let do it are branded and themed. Let us talk about them.
In such communities, people do not only discuss topics of their interest, but also communicate with the brand. Here you can use any types of context: expert, inbound etc. Users often offer content for publication themselves, they are ready to upload pictures and share reviews.
1. Manufacturing brands that sell goods via distributors
The advantage of such brands is that they are recognized and have armies of admirers in social media. Consequently, they may publish not only branded content, but also thematic one with no fear to lose the lion’s share of the audience: the brand goods will be bought anyway and they will not raise dust on the shelves.
2. B2С local services
For example, you have a local travel agency. You create ‘Travellers’ Club’ in your city and promote your services. In this case, you can simultaneously publish useful content (tips, interesting reviews, beautiful pictures of various places) and information about specials, last minute deals, and other offers that will attract the attention of users and drive sales.
3. Brands which theme is popular in non-branded communities
For instance, you sell children products. Your target audience is moms. There are a huge lot of non-branded communities in social media where they discuss various issues, tell about their problems, share their experience. So, why don’t you make this community a branded one? In such a case, apart from discussion of thematic issues that can be monitored in non-branded communities, you will be able to promote your goods.
This action plan can be used in any other theme that gathers interested users, be it pet owners, tourists etc. For this, check what groups your audience have joined, what it is interested in, what bothers it, and then address all these issues in your community.
This format is chosen by the process of elimination when neither a selling option (the company does not sell directly or the product is complicated and there is no one-click buy) nor a branded and themed one is not ok for the brand. Why then does this business need to go to social media, you can ask?
A social media community can be a great platform to communicate with the target audience in its territory, an indicator of the company’s certain level. The content of such communities is completely related to the company, and that is why posts are published only when the company has a deal to say.
A concept is only a start in life of a company in social media. Always remember about three major components of the community: content, engagement, and promotion.
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About the Author
Marketing Director, editor-in-chief of the RMAA Agency Blog