Whether you are a corporation, nonprofit, alumni association, trade or professional association, event organizer or educational institution, what’s hot right now is engaging with your stakeholders and customers. Engagement prevents customer attrition, increases NPS, entices brand loyalty, and even encourages increased spend/incremental purchases. Our marketing teams work hard to build a brand that is worthy of customer loyalty, but brand cache isn’t enough in most industries – even brands like Starbucks rely on engagement practices to continuously cultivate deeper connections with their customers.
Community-led growth is actually quite powerful. Many brands think that community-building involves pulling people together on a platform or at an event. The real secret to community building isn’t bringing your audience together. It’s bringing your brand together with your audience. Your audience wants to hear from and engage with you. Think about this as more than just community moderation. This is real-time conversations with your customers that leads to unparalleled ROI.
What’s so amazing is that while your customers engage with your brand, your customers also organically come together which yields stronger connections. Why? Because they can rally around one cause…and that’s your brand. Your brand provides the motivation to participate and a reason to spread brand love. Without your brand acting as the focal point, brand-sponsored communities tend to fall apart. One fallacy is that a community needs to be about your customers. Mainstream social networks already address that need. LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook fall short on delivering access to your brand.
There are examples of community-led growth that have yielded incredible results and brand growth. Let’s take a look at two.
1. Notion: Notion is a notetaking and productivity software platform to better organize projects. Their customers love the Notion platform so much that they were independently talking about their experiences on other social platforms. Notion decided to harness this and work with evangelists to facilitate bringing more customers under their fold. Notion provided tools, such as a community platform, so everyone could have one consistent home to converse with each other and importantly with Notion. Leveraging their community tool, they have grown their community base to 244 million active users.
2. Figma: Figma is a design tool and one of my favorite examples to discuss. Figma created their own online community using a community interface (like CampfireSocial) where they encourage their users to self-promote! Designers, UX professionals and everyday users all share their designs with the community and help one other achieve their visions creatively & collectively. Figma gets to join the conversation and learn best practices in real-time. Win-Win!
My other favorite examples include Duolingo, Salesforce, Dove, Tripadvisor, Peloton, and the women’s network Chief just to name a few.
The biggest problem in community-building today is that communities are often built to check a box. Community-led growth strategies are the hot buzzword so therefore there’s pressure to launch a community ASAP. By adopting this mentality, you hope for the Field of Dreams – If I build it people will come, right? It worked for Kevin Costner so it must work for me too. Don’t we all wish that would be our reality? Unfortunately, it takes more than a vision; it takes strategy. Strategies may include brand advocacy, a product & service communication vehicle (email is a dying medium due to fatigue), using community as a customer insights tool, content generation, and monetization. No matter the strategy, clear goals are of utmost importance and total organizational buy-in is a close second.
Our team at CampfireSocial are community-building strategists that can help your organization create a community-led growth strategy and provide the community-building tools you need to engage your audience organically & purposefully in a manner that resonates with them. Reach out to email@example.com to learn more.
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Meet the Author
Erica Bishaf is an award-winning global brand strategist (24 years), market research professional, and a 2X tech startup founder. Her startup experience includes CampfireSocial, the private community & marketplace platform, and Pet Gotcha Day!, the immersive video platform for animal shelters. In addition to her passion for startups, she has worked for consumer-packaged goods companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, the Illinois Lottery, and MillerCoors in a variety of roles encompassing global product innovation, package redesign, brand equity, shopper & retail insights, and strategic planning. In 2015, Erica started her own consultancy where she led projects for startups, growth stage companies, Fortune 500, trade & professional associations, top 10 trade shows, and private equity firms that focused on building brand & communication strategies, strategic planning & workshop design, innovation, segmentation identification, UX/UI design, consumer journeys, A&U work, uncovering shopping & retail touchpoints, and more. Erica has also built teams from the ground up for three organizations. She enjoys bringing an entrepreneurial lens to her work to identify new opportunities for growth and using quantitative and qualitative methodologies plus financial data to accomplish her clients' goals. Her clients have said that 'Erica is a keen observer of human behavior who can translate observations into action and one who spurs others to better thinking and better results.' Erica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.