Community building is a fundamental pillar of any company's marketing today. So much so that no one can ignore that only those companies with a close relationship with their consumers are in an excellent position to succeed. Thus, the acceleration of marketing processes has only accentuated the need to address customers’ and users’ interests.
The first thing to have in mind when defining the community engagement strategy is the message you want to communicate. This is usually determined via product management and should also consider branding inputs to reinforce the effect on your community.
But not everything is about having a communication channel with the maximum number of users possible. It is also necessary that this is a healthy group with a positive culture towards the company, reinforcing behaviors that encourage the exchange and growth of the community while avoiding the most toxic and harmful elements of social networks.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
A key goal in an effective community engagement strategy is promoting diversification and rewarding group cooperation are aspects that make a community a win-win for everyone, making it grow organically.
On the negative side, the appearance of mind guards who impose their criteria by manipulating group acceptance or toxic dynamics that isolate the group are undoubtedly problems that must be managed so that the community does not become a harmful gathering of people.
In this sense, it is crucial that the practices of community engagement strategy avoid processes that lead the group to the illusion of invulnerability, unanimity, or self-justification of anything acceptable to the herd. All this is reinforced by the role mentioned above of the mind guards who defend the orthodoxy of the group and attack dissent. Because not every engaged community is a good tool for your social media marketing.
Putting Community to Work
Focusing on the more positive aspects of building an engaged community can highlight several actions that encourage participation and control trolls and spammers from taking over the discourse.
Decide on the Hot Topics
With this aspect of the community engagement strategy, you ensure that you are the one setting the theme of the conversation in the community. It is important not to lose control of the narrative in any media, and community management is no exception.
An engaged community is an ideal audience to promote educational content about your products and services. Not only can it improve the quality perception of these thanks to the correct use, but also, with the right approach, it can become a means to instigate quality community engagement.
The community is also a good source of information about your product for any potential members, as well as you as the project. Therefore, knowing how to interpret the mood on different topics can help you to know which parts need to be worked on in terms of information or defect correction.
Not all channels work the same from the community engagement strategy perspective. When you pass the barrier of a social network to turn it into a community, you are acquiring a powerful tool to have more direct contact with your audience. This allows you to have a better knowledge of which groups your product or service reaches better.
All initiatives aim to better segment your consumers put you in a better position to make better decisions on how to engage them.
Interaction with users can make certain groups react differently. To get the most out of your community engagement strategy, you want to know what interest awakens one action or another. This applies to events, periods/seasons, geographic areas, age groups (generations), habits detected in the community, and other typically demographic variables.
This information is beneficial to optimize the communication to reach precisely the "Personas" that we are interested to target. It is also helpful to adapt the content of the messages to the group and the social and popular references that most reach them.
Gamification is probably where you can be most innovative with your community engagement techniques, but a good knowledge of the population and how they perceive the value of your product is essential to make it happen. The most significant benefit of gamification is the reward of collaborative behavior in exchange for reputation, perks, discounts, early access, or customization of online identity.
Gamification can be great to encourage the community to compete in spreading the message by starting rewarding competitions in sharing content or bringing leads.
Hype Where the Hype Is Born
We call it hype curve or hype cliff. A good community engagement strategy helps you to manage how fast and intense the hype is. Overpromising is the easiest way to underachieving so again a close collaboration with product management is very important to make sure that expectations are set right.