The Importance of Community Strategy
A community strategy is not just about building a network of customers; it’s about nurturing relationships and creating a shared sense of purpose. It forms the backbone of community development efforts, fostering brand loyalty and enhancing customer experience. An effective community strategic plan can maximize the benefits for both the community members and the business, providing tangible value.
Like a master conductor guiding an orchestra, a successful community strategy orchestrates the interactions between the business and its community members. It ensures effective communication, strengthening brand identity, and providing the framework for delivering real value. And just like an orchestra, a successful community requires careful planning and coordination. It starts with asking the right questions, articulating the go-to-community strategy in conjunction with the go-to-market strategy, and thoroughly outlining both plans.
Building Brand Loyalty
Imagine a business as a castle. A strong community strategy is like a moat around that castle - it protects the business, secures its position, and fosters loyalty among its residents. Take Sephora, for example. The beauty retailer has built a formidable moat around its brand by investing significantly in their community of makeup aficionados. By prioritizing community features in their mobile application, they have seen a substantial increase in community membership.
But how do we fill this moat? One effective way is through user-generated content. Power users, such as Adobe Creative Cloud users, act as creators with their own audiences. They generate content such as tutorial videos, which are then shared on community forums, further enriching the community experience. It’s essential to understand the content preferences of the audience to ensure the relevancy of the content being created and shared.
Enhancing Customer Experience
Customer experience, or CX, is like a journey that a customer undertakes with a business. It encompasses everything from marketing to sales to customer service and beyond, including social media outreach. A well-planned community strategy enhances this journey by providing customer service, addressing inquiries, and furnishing helpful resources.
Addressing customer concerns is like navigating a ship through stormy waters. By actively listening to feedback, promptly addressing issues, and offering suitable solutions, businesses can effectively steer their ship, ensuring a smooth sailing journey for their customers.
Along this journey, businesses can enhance the customer experience by delivering:
- Valuable content
- Educational materials
- Useful advice
Key Components of a Successful Community Strategy
An effective community strategy, like a well-tuned engine, requires several key components to operate smoothly. These include clear objectives, an accurately identified target audience, and content that resonates with community members. Comprehending business objectives before constructing a community is like setting a destination before embarking on a journey. It ensures that the community strategy is in sync with business objectives.
The first step in developing a community strategy, akin to selecting the right vehicle for the journey, is choosing the appropriate social media platform where the community will be managed. Over time, just like tuning and maintaining an engine, the go-to-community (GTC) strategy might need refinements and updates. This could involve generating new workflows and clarifying existing ones.
Establishing clear objectives for a community strategy is like setting the destination for a journey. These objectives should be:
- Time-bound (SMART)
They ensure that all departments or areas of the business are aligned and working towards the same goals.
These community objectives act as the North Star, guiding the community towards its desired outcomes. They ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page, preventing any confusion or misalignment.
Identifying the target audience for a community strategy is like choosing the right passengers for a journey. Recognizing who these passengers are is essential for the community strategy to be tailored to the needs and preferences of its members. By analyzing market segmentation, demographics, and price points, businesses can gain valuable insights into their customer base.
Personas, like detailed sketches of these passengers, play a crucial role in determining the type of content created for a community.
Engaging content is the fuel that keeps the community engine running. It adds value to its readers and encourages them to take some kind of action, such as:
- continuing to read
This content is essential for sustaining community engagement and encouraging dialogue among members in the community forum.
Engaging content comes in many forms - blog posts, videos, infographics, polls, quizzes, and surveys, to name a few. Strategies for creating such content include ensuring relevance to the target audience, incorporating visuals to draw attention, and offering value to the reader.
Community Management and Its Role in Community Strategy
Community management is like the driver behind the wheel of the community vehicle. It is essential for the successful implementation of a community strategy, with community managers taking the responsibility of establishing and maintaining connections with community members.
Community management also plays a vital role in maintaining the brand’s identity and voice within the community. This is what makes a community immediately recognizable as belonging to a particular brand.
Community management comes in various forms, including social media community management, acquisition and advocacy community management, and internal and external engagement community management. Engaging a community manager can kick-start community initiatives and guarantee a satisfying community experience.
Community Manager Responsibilities
Community managers are like the conductors of a symphony. They manage community platforms, engage with the members, and ensure a harmonious community experience. Platforms like LinkedIn Groups for community managers are intended for discussing industry updates, providing advice, and offering job opportunities, acting as a hub for valuable resources.
Social media community managers, on the other hand, have several important responsibilities.
- Ensuring that followers are acknowledged and respected
- Facilitating engagement with brand content and other followers
- Acting like the maestros, guiding the symphony of social interactions within the community
Best Practices for Community Management
Like a seasoned captain navigating through uncharted waters, a community manager should employ best practices to steer the community ship towards success. Selecting the right platform involves investigating available options, understanding the features and capabilities of each platform, and evaluating the needs of the community.
Building a moderation framework is like setting the rules of conduct on the ship. It involves establishing clear rules and guidelines, devising a system for reporting and responding to violations, and developing a plan for addressing complex scenarios.
Planning a launch requires creating a timeline, establishing objectives, and formulating a plan for engaging with the community. To increase engagement, think of it as a voyage of discovery. Create content relevant to the community, motivate members to participate in conversations, and offer incentives for involvement.
Leveraging Online Community Platforms
Online community platforms are like vessels that carry the community on its journey. They are virtual environments where individuals can communicate, exchange ideas, and collaborate. The selection of the right vessel, or platform, is crucial to the success of the journey, as it depends on factors such as the target audience, platform features, and usability.
These platforms are essential tools for implementing a community strategy. Choosing the right platform is akin to choosing the right vessel for a voyage. It can determine the ease of the journey and the success of reaching the destination.
Choosing the Right Platform
Selecting the right platform for a community is like choosing the right ship for a voyage. It should be based on the voyage’s objectives, the passengers’ needs, and the ship’s features and capabilities. From the vast ocean of platforms like Mighty Networks, Tribe, and Facebook Groups to smaller streams like Thinkific, Zapnito, and BuddyBoss, the choice of platform can determine the success of the community voyage.
Knowing your passengers, or the intended audience for the platform, can help in deciding the type of ship to choose. It should be based on the content and conversations that will be featured on the platform. The right ship should also offer certain features like:
- User profiles
- Discussion forums
- Private messaging
- Content sharing
Last but not least, the user-friendliness of a platform, like the comfort level of a ship, can determine the success of the voyage.
Maximizing Platform Features
Maximizing platform features is like fully utilizing the capabilities of a ship. Some features that can enhance the community experience include:
- User-generated content
- Mobile responsiveness
- User profiles
By utilizing these features, you can maximize the potential of your platform and create a more engaging and interactive community.
To promote community growth and success, community managers can utilize platform features like analytics and engagement tools. It’s like a captain using a ship’s navigation system and other tools to steer the ship efficiently and effectively.
Integrating User-Generated Content into Community Strategy
User-generated content (UGC) is the wind in the sails of a community strategy. It comprises original content created and published by customers on social media or other channels. UGC is a valuable component of a community strategy as it encourages community engagement and showcases the value of the community.
One of the most successful strategies to strengthen community engagement is co-creating content with the community, which is a part of community building efforts. It’s like inviting passengers on a ship to take turns steering the ship, making the journey more engaging and rewarding.
Encouraging Content Creation
Encouraging content creation within a community can be achieved through various strategies. It’s like arranging activities on a ship to keep the passengers engaged. From contests and collaborations to incentives for community members, these strategies can stimulate the creation of user-generated content.
Influencers and creators, like the entertainers on a cruise ship, can create various types of content for the brand, including:
- Social media posts
- Product-only images
This diversity of content can enrich the community experience, making the journey more enjoyable for the passengers.
Showcasing User-Generated Content
Showcasing user-generated content is like displaying the talents of the passengers on a ship. By highlighting the unique contributions of the passengers, it can foster community growth, establish credibility, and illustrate the advantages of being part of the community.
To showcase user-generated content effectively, businesses can follow these steps:
- Establish objectives
- Be organized
- Acquire authorization
- Credit the original creator
- Be precise about what is desired
It’s like organizing a talent show on a ship - ensuring all talents are recognized and appreciated, and promoting a sense of community among the passengers.
Measuring Community Success
Measuring community success is like charting the progress of a voyage. It’s critical for assessing the efficiency of a community strategy and making decisions based on data. Various metrics, like the distance traveled, the speed of the ship, and the satisfaction of the passengers, can be used to measure the success of the voyage, or in this case, the community strategy.
Key performance indicators, like a ship’s compass and speedometer, provide insight into the success of the community strategy. These include engagement metrics and community growth. Feedback tools like forums, surveys, and focus groups, akin to passenger feedback forms on a ship, are useful for gathering feedback from a community.
Key Performance Indicators
Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide the measures to track the success of a community strategy. They are like the coordinates on a map, guiding the community towards its destination.
These KPIs, like a ship’s logbook, record the community’s progress. They include measures like:
- Customer acquisition and retention
- Churn rates
- Support tickets
- Community growth, such as new users and posts per week.
Adjusting Strategy Based on Data
Adjusting the community strategy based on data analysis is like a captain adjusting the course of a ship based on weather forecasts and other data. It’s critical to ensure continuous improvement and alignment with business objectives.
Tailoring a strategy based on data can involve the following steps:
- Determining business objectives
- Evaluating the current status
- Designing a data strategy structure
- Selecting the appropriate data
- Constructing models that forecast and enhance business results
- Observing and revising the data strategy
It’s like a captain reviewing and adjusting the ship’s course, ensuring a successful voyage.
In conclusion, a robust community strategy is like a well-planned voyage. It requires a clear destination, the right passengers, a capable ship, and a skilled captain. By following the principles and practices discussed in this article, businesses can embark on a successful community journey, fostering brand loyalty, enhancing customer experience, and driving growth. Bon voyage!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the community strategies?
A community strategy is a long-term plan to develop and nurture a healthy community, with the aim of achieving business objectives.
It should be tailored to the specific needs of the business, taking into account the size, scope, and goals of the organization. It should also consider the needs of the community, such as the type of people.
How do you build a community strategy?
To build a community strategy, define the business objective, articulate the community purpose from the members’ perspective, gather research to help build a business case, conduct a competitive audit, build a business case, and secure investment.
This process requires a comprehensive approach that includes understanding the target audience, defining the desired outcomes, and creating a plan to achieve those outcomes. It also requires a clear understanding of the resources available and the timeline for implementation. Finally, it requires a commitment to ongoing evaluation and refinement of the strategy.
Why is community strategy important?
Having a community strategy is important because it provides clear direction for how your organization will achieve its goals, enables you to stay focused on what you want to do, and encourages the formation of values-based relationships between you and your community.
It can help you identify and prioritize the needs of your community, create a plan for how to meet those needs, and measure the success of your efforts. It also helps to ensure that your organization is working towards a common goal and that everyone is on the same page.
Having a community strategy in place.
What is the role of a community manager?
A community manager is responsible for maintaining an online community platform, engaging with members, and creating a positive user experience.
They must be able to effectively communicate with members, respond to inquiries, and ensure that the platform is running smoothly. They must also be able to identify and address any issues that arise. Additionally, they provide additional training.
How can businesses encourage content creation within a community?
Businesses can encourage content creation in a community by hosting contests, fostering collaborations, and offering rewards to community members.
These activities can help to engage the community and create a sense of ownership and loyalty. They can also help to generate more content and increase the visibility of the business.
Rewards can be earned.