Globalization processes have resulted in greater complexity, interdependence and limited resources. Non-government organizations and corporations are increasingly engaging each other in recognition that shareholder and societal value are intrinsically linked. For both sectors, these partnerships can create an enabling environment to address social issues and can generate social capital.
This is because entrepreneurs and the business sector has realised that the true potential of customers is not with the size or the number of customers but most importantly, it is with the depth of engagement and interaction. Thus, there has been a global trend where brands have put community building at the heart of marketing strategies.
Why community building is important?
There is a growing genuine desire among business people to run a business for a profit, but at the same time to be contributing to the investment and the growth in the community, of a strong community. This is because the entrepreneurs have realised that they actually derive their profits from within a society, they live in society, their employees are citizens within a society, their customers are citizens and they abide by the rules of society. That means they have the same responsibilities and duties to society as anyone else who lives and breathes in the society.
Why should Community building be followed by the entrepreneurs?
Corporate social responsibility is the commitment of business to pursue policies, make decisions and follow directions for actions that are congruent with the overriding objectives and values of the societies in which that business is embedded. The business benefits for doing this are convincing.
Socially responsible behaviour within a community minimizes the possibility of regulation and tighter controls that will inhibit performance. Loss of reputation, criticism and distrust from the community inevitably threaten the sustainability of business. In this view, therefore, economic performance is dependent on social performance and thus it is important that entrepreneurs dedicate themselves to engage with the community.
5 Strategies to build community
In a nutshell, community engagement strategies are a process to help your customers to gain trust in your service. Behavioural studies show, human beings are more attached to groups where they feel more respected and cared for.
You can use these simple strategies, in your daily business to keep up with your customers within the community and spread a smile.
Provide a platform for your community members to freely express their needs:
First, plan and chalk out why do you need to have the community and then work towards it to build a space where the members of the community can express and provide opinions. A big part of the community building strategy is understanding the community members.
Your feedback form must always consist of these few things:
- Whether they liked your service?
- Do they think there is any scope of improvement, if yes what?
- How can you serve them better?
- How has the behaviour and overall service of the employee been?
- Will they recommend your service to any of their friends?
These questions would help your customers to gain trust in your service and they would feel cared for. Also, feedbacks would help you build upon your business easily and fill up any gaps which you weren’t aware of. The more the community members feel that they are being heard and valued, the more likely they are to remain loyal to your company and express their needs. This makes community engagement a very interesting tool for retention.
Also Read: How to track customer acquisition in SaaS?
Build Loyalty, Leads, & Sales in Your Community:
If you are working on creating an idea and spreading your art into the world, you would definitely want it to grow. You would obviously be looking for attention among the community. This is simply, what marketing does. Be it a small-scale banner that is put along the roadway of a steel bar or having a fashion icon speak about a particular beauty secret, there has been various ways of promoting business which entrepreneurs follow.
But you need to keep in mind, what appeals most to your community. Is your community a fan of cricket, then you can use cricketers as models to advertise your product. If most of your community members are at an older age group, you must invent ways so that it is beneficial for them. For example, you may introduce a door step delivery of your product to the old members of your community. You can also arrange and sponsor for programs around your community.
Providing sponsorships engage a lot of attention as it mutually benefits both the businessmen and also the community members. The community members can rely on your service and would continue to reach out to you whenever they need. Some of the benefits in building up the loyalty for your community are listed below:
- Grow brand awareness
- Reduce churn
- Increase ascension
- Improve customer satisfaction
- Increase customer loyalty
Also Read: How to make customer loyal?
Creating user generated content
Always keep in mind, business is like a democracy, the power is in the hands of the customers, if they do not like your service, they can very well provide bad ratings or give negative feedback which would affect your business in a tremendous way in the future. Thus, always keep in mind to do the best from your end.
Creating user generated content implies, you design a tailor-made service or product that is best suited for your community members. For example, not all requires the same shampoo which protects against hair fall. Some might need the shampoo to enrich their hair or have a better shine. Some just need to retain the colour of their hair while some might need a shampoo for their pets. Demands differ according to the needs of your community. Going out of your way to adjust with the desires of a customer makes them feel respected and controlled. Whenever possible, try to provide your customers more than what they expect.
Use social media to build your own community
Most people with a fanbase have derived their customers easily from the social media. Social media can be a great way to engage in building a brand community and attract fans. Digital marketing does not imply only reaching through blog post, but also other mediums such as a YouTube video or simply a social media shoutout. Facebook, Instagram, Twiter, Youtube Channels, LinkedIN are some of the most trending areas where you can freely open up your page and promote your work by attracting attention to the vast majority of people without any political barriers.
You can also be extremely adored by your community members if you follow up their posts, like and share your followers’ posts, comment on them and get to know your followers.
Communities are all about interaction. So, it is insane to expect that you can be unresponsive to your customers when they need help and support.
Relationships between organizations and clients develop with trust. Thus always be patient and Listen and Respond to the problems of your community members regarding your services. We have always been taught to respond and not react, but it becomes quite a challenge to follow this on our daily lives, especially when we deal with customers who provide us with monetary benefits. Whenever there is complaint raised from the end of customers, always listen to all the problems they have been facing, take their side and ask them generously what solutions do they want. See if it is possible for you to provide the community with their demands. Try and do as best as possible for them.
Community involvement includes contributing money, products, services and human resources such as time, skills and leadership to meet the social and economic needs of the community by connecting the objectives of the business with the communities. The strategy is to devise new ways in which business interests can be aligned with community interests so that there is a win–win solution to community problems and issues. The commitment to working together strategically, in order to grow business together sustainably, is good business sense and can create an enabling environment to address social issues.
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