This post was sponsored by Experts Exchange.
Marketing in an online community is one of the most effective ways to garner brand loyalty. But before you begin, it’s important to approach community interactions the right way. Act too aggressive, and you risk leaving a bad taste with users. Neglect to post interesting and relevant content, and users will go elsewhere for information.
Here at Experts Exchange, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to engage with users and communities, and we can help you get started, so you can use community marketing to draw in users today who will come back tomorrow.
Don’t Pitch, Participate
People contribute to online communities to share information, network, research, and learn. Most people are members of a community because they’re passionate about certain topics. Nobody wants to get hit with a hard sell when they’re browsing their community of choice, so take off your marketing hat and really participate in the conversations that are happening.
Contribute Like an Expert
As part of your content marketing strategy, begin publishing educational articles to online communities. Providing tips and how-to examples not only highlight your company’s expertise but also help you reach your target audience in their natural environment. Publish educational pieces that are informative and helpful rather than laced with marketing jargon.
Participating in online communities means you have the chance to engage with your customers on a platform built for conversation. Focus on the customer and their needs by communicating with authenticity. Show you are human and not a marketing bot by helping them find solutions.
Turn Influencers Into Ambassadors
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. Discover the respected, positive influencers within a community, engage with them to establish a relationship, and make them feel like a part of the team. This process of interaction organically creates brand ambassadors.
Use Community Advertising in a New and Different Way
Find and use advertising opportunities that cross-promote educational and thought leadership content. Make these placements more about the content than making a sale. You’ll experience significantly higher engagement with educational information that keeps viewers on-site, compared to standard sales pitches that send viewers off-site.
By publishing and participating consistently, not only will your clout within the community grow, but your understanding of your own target audience will grow as well. Getting consistent feedback from current and potential customers is worthwhile, so listen, engage, and adapt.
For an in-depth overview of our recommendations, check out our advanced Community Marketing 101 white paper! Download this white paper for 20 years of data and insight gleaned from managing one of the largest technical online communities.
Featured Image: Image by Experts Exchange. Used with permission.
Source: Search Engine Journal