How to Properly Market in an Online Community

By November 25, 2016 Marketing No Comments

Companies have been using online marketing communities to spread the word of their brand since the internet first began.  Its is a great way to collaborate with other minds and advance knowledge in specific areas as well as of various products.  Before you dive into this marketing approach, however, it is important to be aware of several factors.  Even if you are acting with your best intentions, things can go awry with the wrong approach.

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Tip #1: Participate rather than Pitch.  Do some searching for the perfect online community.  Once you’ve found one that truly makes you feel at home, make sure your profile reflects you as an actual person rather than a brand. Include a photo, biography, and make sure every available field is filled out. When people join online communities, it is typically because they want to gain more information, research, network, and advance their learning.  The last thing people want is to feel like they are being sold to.  It is imperative to keep this in mind, and participate in conversations: resurface outdated ones, start fresh ones, and circulate new content.

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Tip #2: Expert Like Contribution.  Give people educational pieces that are actually helpful and informative, rather than a bunch of pieces filled with sales tactics.  Publish articles such as how-tos, product reviews, tips and tricks, and so forth.  This is a great way for people to be introduced to your brand and begin to form a relationship with you and what you have to offer.

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Tip #3: Accessibility.  Being able to engage with your customers via conversation online is huge, so make sure you are active with this.  Act as a thought leader by controlling the topics revolving around your brand.  This will help you build rapport and establish trust with your audience.  A quicker response will make you look like the active community member that you are.

Tip #4: Turn Influencers into Ambassadors.  This will come after you are established within your community.  Once you are, determine which members are influencers over others.  From there you will be able to engage with them and seek their help to be an ambassador for your brand.  If they feel a connection with your brand, the likelihood of them supporting you will be much higher.  Having brand ambassadors that people trust and know will help spread news of your brand via word of mouth.  This will expand the knowledge of who you are within the community as well as increase your organic search rankings.