“Having an open and honest relationship creates a competitive differentiator that helps customers choose you over your competitors every time. As a result of all this, customers in communities spend 19% more than those not a part of a community.”
Whether it’s in Facebook or LinkedIn, a forum or a custom branded community, companies today must seek out their customers and engage in meaningful conversations. As a 24/7 connection to the businesses they endorse, social media users today expect constant connection and interaction with brands. This gives you the opportunity to use loyalty to better service your customers, increase your margins, and truly make your customers your biggest fans.
What’s The Value?
From exposure, influence and engagement—which all fall under the umbrella of brand awareness—many brands have the opportunity to move towards social lead generation. With social, it’s possible to generate high-funnel leads and hard leads, the first meaning you’re engaging with someone who may not have even known they had a problem, but they were doing some research; the second, a customer close to potential sale. In either situation if you are approaching social correctly, you are getting to end users before the competition, and starting them down the conversion road earlier than in a traditional sales process.
Community Building In Action
Communities come in two forms: organic and inorganic. An organic community is a community based either on your product or on what makes your product necessary. These communities spring up naturally in different places such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Much of our extensive work in social media management and facilitation has led to as much as 531% increase in social traffic and 1,125% increase in social conversions, or leads in partners like Ariens and Gravely.
On the other hand, inorganic communities are the ones you create to fill the void. In January 2013, as work with an international manufacturer of heavy equipment, Envano developed a strategy around community development to fill a void in reaching and engaging a niche audience. Opting to leverage social media integration but stay outside of channels like Facebook, the manufacturer is able to connect with operators who use other equipment and in-turn host an operator community that builds camaraderie as well as brand equity.
Instead of building the community a traditional way via forums or in social channels, we chose to build a custom community that was tailor fit to that specific audience resulting in more than 40,000 visits and an active and growing group of current and potential customers.
Giving the manufacturer complete control, this project demonstrates how a specialized community site is used to build loyalty and brand awareness while avoiding the temptation to sell something.