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Tapping Into the Power of Digital Communities

Online brand communities can be a great way to drive sales and brand engagement. 86% of consumers say that it is authenticity that motivates them to like and support a brand. With that in mind, we’re taking a deeper dive into some of the strategies, campaign ideas, and contests, and giveaways that community managers create for their brands’ communities; campaigns that drive ROI, engagement, and positive brand affiliation.

Unique Campaign Ideas

  • Do things differently. Facebook and Instagram are drowning in competing brands and messaging. While many brands create Spotify playlists or podcasts, very few brands create original, niche audio content for channels like Spotify. Mattress store Casper has created a social media campaign to engage its target market through an audio playlist designed to help people sleep better.
  • Think outside the box. Look for ways to utilize newer social media platforms, especially if your main target audience is 18- to 35-year-olds. PwC wanted to increase awareness of its role in counting the ballots for the Oscars and appeal to a younger demographic. So the firm came up with a prop — a ballot briefcase — and gave it its own Snapchat account. The briefcase took a six-week journey around the country, making “celebrity appearances” in different locations and arriving back to Los Angeles in time for the live Academy Awards ceremony.

“Always On” Evergreen Ideas

  • Encourage user-generated content. Engage your target audience and create an online movement. Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” campaign encourages users around the world to share a part of themselves and their culture. This movement (#shotoniphone) gained huge international traction, spanning 25 countries and a new community of everyday consumers who became brand ambassadors without ever knowing it. Genius! The hashtag has already accrued more than 22 million posts.
  • Show your followers you get them. Nurture loyalty and bond with your target audience over shared values. Dove kicked off its #RealBeauty marketing campaign 16 years ago in 2004. Since then, it’s created a storm of interest and has taken on many different forms, eventually evolving into a corporate mission. Their latest social media campaign is called Project #ShowUS. After discovering that 70% of women don’t feel represented in media and advertising, Dove partnered with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women everywhere to create a photo library to shatter beauty stereotypes.
  • Don’t be afraid to play and create. Develop entertaining videos that are easily digestible, relatable, awe-inspiring, or funny. Tasty (part of the BuzzFeed family) shares videos of simple recipes and infuses them with beautiful shots of the cooking process. They’re short, creative, and are just perfect for social sharing, with their useful tips and hacks, easy dinners, and one-pot recipes — exactly what people want. If your industry lends itself to playful content, now’s the time to experiment.
  • Stand out from your competitors. Seek out opportunities to connect with your audience in a unique way. Chipotle does a great job of this with their TikTok campaigns, which are particularly enticing to their vast under-40 clientele.
  • Break industry stereotypes. Change the way you exhibit the various themes in your brand’s personality, and experiment with different topics and formats that could help you widen your audience. Run campaigns on platforms not popular in your sector. GoPro has done a great job of defining their brand as adventurous and extreme. However, this video of a firefighter saving a kitten from a fire doesn’t fit that mold; instead, it helps them appeal to a wider audience outside the brand’s typical athlete persona.

Communities In Action:

  • Airbnb created a community for one specific segment of their customers — their hosts. The host community has close to one million members and is featured on their website, so it’s an owned online platform. On their community’s landing page, alongside stats about current members and number of posts, they preview discussions happening inside the community, to help prove that the discussions will be valuable and relatable. This builds credibility for their community as a place where Airbnb hosts can discuss local issues, get support, and learn new ways to level up their hosting.
  • Peloton was establishing itself as a new kind of leader, building a community of shared “virtual suffering.” With more than 1.4 million users, Peloton has successfully become a hip fitness brand, a subscription business, a tech company, a broadcast network, a hardware manufacturer, and a retailer all in one. Peloton uses their digital community to create a sense of motivation and connection in a few ways:
    • Setting shared goals: “Together we go far”
    • Incorporating diversity and inclusivity initiatives: #onepeloton
    • Weaving community and content through social integrations, leaderboards, and challenges (where good behavior is rewarded)
    • Unlocking personal and social competition (this is where their secret sauce is brewed)
    • Collaborating with personalities and brands like Shonda Rhimes, Beyoncé, The Beatles, and Westin Hotels
    • Frequently featuring user-generated content

Interacting with customers in meaningful and useful ways, these brands successfully connect with those loyal followers. Setting up a digital community takes effort on the front end, and managing and nurturing it requires ongoing attention, but the rewards can sometimes eclipse the community manager’s wildest dreams.

We’ve been an essential part of many successful communities, from building to strategizing to ongoing engagement. Contact us today to talk about what we can do for your community and your brand.

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