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  • Finn Hodgins

Why Community Marketing Is A Gold Mine

Sephora, one of the biggest beauty brands in the world, has a thriving, private online community of over 5M people. While social media is also a huge part of Sephora’s marketing strategy, this private community was developed for their brand and is not hosted on a social media platform.

So, why would a huge brand like Sephora not use a traditional platform, like Facebook Groups, and instead invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to create their own community platform? This question has two parts to it:

#1: Why create a community?

#2: Why own the space?

To tackle Question #1, community marketing is vital for a brand's success, especially for the long term. By creating a community, you are able to interact with your community on a deeper, more personalized level. You have direct access to your customers, and significantly increased engagement with them.

You control the narrative, and steer the conversation in a way that benefits your brand. If a person is willing to join your community where the conversation is solely about your brand or niche, that should tell you something about the person. They are highly interested in what you do and already really like you… So much that they are willing to join your community, where your narrative is the sole focus. Any brand owner should know, that is a clear cut sign of a hot prospect, meaning they are very close to purchasing. These are the people you want to engage with, as they are the easiest and cheapest to convert.

As Sephora perfectly demonstrates, creating a highly engaged community also creates social proof and builds tons of hype around the brand. Members who first see the content are going to feel a sense of excitement to be a part of such a like-minded community, and a sense of urgency to buy whatever it is the conversation is revolving around. Seeing so many people engage creates social proof, as nobody wants to be the first person (or only person) to buy something. When a brand wants to launch a sale, or new product, or anything exciting, they can leverage this engagement to create lots of hype…

The value of being able to listen to your customers' conversations about your brand in real time is priceless as it allows you to create a better experience for them. No one will argue that having happy customers is the key to any brand's long term success. Engagement with your customers can be taken to another level by interacting through polls, Q&A’s, discussions, and more.

Another way to leverage this close-knit interaction is to provide your community faster, more personalized customer support. All of this significantly builds customer loyalty, brand rapport and will increase sales, especially in the form of customer lifetime value (how much a customer is worth to you after their first purchase.)

For all of these reasons, communities are a great way to bridge the gap to a sale. Whether it be turning prospects into buyers, or re-engaging current customers and driving repeat purchases.

According to `The Business of Belonging,” a book written by David Spink, members of a brand's community spend 2x more than an average customer, and the most active members spend 10x more than the average customer.

Those are some serious numbers. Now do you see why brands are willing to invest so much to build these communities? Building a successful online community is a gold mine for any brand.

Now to tackle question #2, why own the platform when Facebook and other community platforms are free? Ownership is priceless.

So what does owning your community mean? It means that you will have a completely private space that you own in entirety, from the content you create, to the backend analytics, to all of your members' data. You’ll have priceless backend insights that can accelerate your growth. Owning a customer list is one of the most important assets for any brand. Once you acquire this customer, marketing to them becomes free for life.

You won’t be limited to the resources that another platform provides, and you’ll be able to brand your community your way. You’ll have the complete freedom to use your voice and speak with your community on a more personalized level, on your terms.

Most importantly, you’ll have direct access to your customers. Instead of renting their attention from a platform, you own it. You’ll never have to worry about competing with other content, advertisements, algorithms, or any other interference from the platform. You’ll have the full attention of your community with a direct touchpoint to them.

While it may take a bit more upfront effort to have members join a private community off of a social media platform, the results will be well beyond worth it for all the reasons stated in this article.

Now, while gigantic brands like Sephora have the resources to spend hundreds of thousands to hire their own development teams to code out their own community platform, most personal brands, e-commerce brands, and non-profits do not.

That’s why we created Grouped, to give all brands the opportunity to create their own private community, with an extremely low barrier to entry.

To conclude this article, building a successful online community is a gold mine for any brand, and we want to help you build yours.

To become an early adopter on Grouped and learn more about how we can help you, click here.


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