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Brands Building Business Through Social and Community

Every modern marketing professional yearns to bring attention to their brand and build a repeat customer base. Yet not every marketer recognizes the benefits that social engagement and building and nurturing an online community can have for your brand. From exercise tools like Peloton to AI refrigerators and television shopping, consumers are finding more ways to join communities and find social connections — even if it’s with folks they never expect to meet.

Social marketing is king, and the need to build dialogues and relationships with your customer base matters more than ever. Nothing builds consumer confidence and creates ongoing dialogue better than online communities. As a nationwide effort to work from home emerges — and social distancing becomes a top priority — it’s likely that folks will be relying on social communities more than ever. Let’s look at how some brands are achieving growth through focused work building engaging, rapidly growing communities.

A Dynamic Social Strategy That Works — Peloton

As many diet and fitness brands can attest, having a strong community can be a great selling point. There’s nothing like a little encouragement from others to motivate you to reach your goals. Peloton’s success is largely due to the fact that it tapped into this kind of social connection through its product.

Peloton is a relatively new face in the exercise bike and workout equipment scene, having launched its first model in 2014. If you’re not familiar with the brand, the primary difference between a Peloton bike and traditional stationary bikes is a huge touch screen used to livestream cycling classes to the users.

People spend a few thousand dollars for a Peloton bike and another $40 or so for their monthly subscription at retail price. At first glance, it might seem a little costly for an exercise bike, but sales have skyrocketed. A significant portion of this business is due to an exciting, supportive, competitive online community.

Users (whimsically called “Pelotoners”) are encouraged to reach workout goals and to compete and communicate with one another. Peloton provides users with videos of a host of prerecorded cycling classes and workout topics like yoga to keep it interesting. After all, there are only so many ways to ride an exercise bike until it gets tedious.

Instructors can call out class members by name to encourage them, and the Peloton forum provides a place for encouragement among members, discussions about bikes, and various other topics. It’s obvious that Peloton has mastered community marketing. Pelotoners are proud to take part.

Building a Global Community — Samsung

Some communities are formed by the need to share resources and information. Such is the case with Samsung, where the combined subject-matter expertise of millions of consumers serves as an impressive resource to both current and potential customers.

While it’s not as dynamic as the Peloton community, Samsung’s community is worth mentioning because it’s simply massive. As of March 2020, the Samsung community boasts nearly 14 million members from around the globe. We’ll assume you’re familiar with at least some of Samsung’s home tech products, which range from smart refrigerators and microwaves to cell phones and home theaters.

Like any great online social community, Samsung allows for customers to communicate with one another about their technology: asking and answering questions, avoiding unneeded calls to tech support, and finding solutions for genuine hiccups in their product programming. The forum is so successful because it’s well organized by product, so those with cell phone questions talk with other cell phone users and TV owners relate to other TV owners.

Beyond customer interaction, Samsung encourages users to create how-to videos on YouTube. The power of user-generated video content is marvelous when building an online community.

Growing an Audience from TV to Digital — JTV

Making a successful shift from television-based retail marketing to selling across the digital landscape is no mean feat. But JTV (Jewelry Television) has figured it out.

JTV has been around since the early nineties. Even if you haven’t purchased from them, you’ve likely seen their turntables of sparkling jewelry on television. Their business model sprung from other home-shopping experiences but focused on reducing the incredible markup on jewelry and gold by cutting out the middlemen and broadcasting affordable jewelry pieces into millions of homes.

JTV started its social marketing adventure in 2013, and the omnichannel retailer now broadcasts live 24/7 to more than 84 million homes. Business is transacted online through their website, mobile apps, on streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV, and via extensive use of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. They also take advantage of YouTube influencers in the form of JTV Ambassadors. By reaching younger audiences through mobile and streaming apps, the company has become “one of the largest non-bridal jewelry ecommerce websites in the U.S.

The JTV community sprung up from cable television and grew alongside emerging technology. TV hosts call out customers by name and state, adding to the genuine feeling of camaraderie that has always been a part of their marketing. Customers are encouraged to share photos, videos, and meaningful stories about their jewelry, and an impeccably honest rating system in their platform builds a sense of community among their customers. Looking at JTV’s customer reviews reinforces the old marketing adage attributed to P.T. Barnum — there is no such thing as bad press. By allowing customers to publish bad reviews of specific items, JTV has built a reputation for honesty and transparency.

In a time of social distancing, internet usage and online community involvement have grown exponentially. Reddit traffic has surged, and more Facebook groups are springing up every day. Companies are seeing the increased power of digital connectivity through social marketing and by growing a dedicated and involved customer base. Whether you choose Facebook Groups, Twitter, YouTube influencers, a new forum hosted in-house, or all of the above, there is truly no time like the present to grow your online community.

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