Reaching consumers through their passions, interest, and conversation
In 2020, according to a benchmark report by Influencer Marketing Hub, it was found that 98% of people, between the ages of 16 and 64, access social media accounts. And Statista reported that social media usage time was nearly 2.5 hours a day globally and in just over two hours a day here in the U.S. While a majority of this time is spent on the big players in social media, like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, many social media users are finding alternate platforms to focus on for their online social needs.
Social Media Communities, Online Niche Communities or Niche Social Networks…no matter what you call them, these are the places where people are sharing their day-to-day moments and biggest interest. While many companies are still focusing their social media advertising on the larger social sites, I’m going to suggest that these niche areas may offer a better place to advertise. An area where brands can utilize these communities to reach consumers where they are and within the interest they have in a noninvasive way, if done correctly.
These communities are starting to become the new version of influencer marketing as the people within them tend to look to and influence each other. People are connecting with specific, like-minded groups to not only see the kind of content they are most interested in and interact with others but to reduce the noise of unwanted “clutter” that has seemed to creep in on the more traditional social media sites.
With communities like Untapped for beer lovers, ThirdAge for Baby Boomers, All Recipes for foodies, Madwhips for car enthusiast, and UFO Social for those with an interest in paranormal activity, there is certainly a community available to fit any targeted market. Marketers simply need to find the community that is right for their brand and determine the best way to become a part of it.
It is within these communities that marketers should look to connect in a meaningful way with the audience to help drive consumer interest in their products and ultimately increase sales. Just as traditional advertising means are important in helping to get the word out about a brand or product, “Community Marketing” allows for more of a conversation amongst their like-minded consumers. A place where they can feel like they are a part of a brand, and the brand is part of their world.
Companies can ask for feedback or suggestions, share product updates, listen to grievances and issues, and show that they, as a brand, care and appreciate being a part of the conversation. This is ultimately the best way to gain trust and loyalty.
It is important to note that while there are already a huge number of communities out there for brands to join, it may be worthwhile for some brands to start a community of their own. Give consumers a place to feel like they are a part of your brand, allowing them to be “in the know” and offer them a space to ask questions, get “sneak peaks” and special offers.
This community of people can also become your brand ambassadors as they are more likely to repost your content, “like” your posts, and help you get more consumer attention. Along with the traditional means of advertising that “push” your message to potential consumers, these ambassadors allow the messaging to come full circle with their own discussions and recommendation to friends and family.
Ultimately, for this form of marketing to be successful and create real social media ROI, it simply needs to be authentic and engaging. Remember, the people within these groups are there because of their passion, interest and of course, the conversation. So don’t use it to simply sell to them.