Through the rise of social media and the Internet, community and content have found themselves at a crossroads.
This progressive intersection has opened up doors for communication that traditional methods of marketing could have never brought about. The interactions between businesses and customers developing into something much more than just a sale.
Brands are focused on more than just offering up their latest product or service. They're connecting with customers on social networks, they're part of the dialogue, and they're creating something much more personal.
A sense of community has entered the picture.
Customers are feeling empowered and brands are finding that this type of environment is contributing to improved communication, efficiency, and growth.
If you are looking to get in on this brand/customer love fest, we've outlined the next steps that you should take.
Engage, Don't Broadcast
Go ahead, talk AT your customers, but I'll be the first to tell you, it won't resonate. Your customers are bombarded by marketing messages from the moment they wake up to the moment they turn off the lights, so who's to say that your message will be the one that sticks?
Rather than contribute to the noise, spark a new conversation. Don't try to sell them something, don't ask them for their email address, their phone number, or their home address, but rather ignite a conversation around their interests, wants, and needs.
The more you focus on meeting their needs, the less time you'll waste trying to find ways to bring on new customers. Spare yourself all the length market research by simply keeping up a consistent, and human-to-human conversation with customers.
One of the best ways to build a tribe of loyal customers is to provide them with solutions. Once you've uncovered their challenges through open floor discussions, start finding creative ways to help them get the information that they need.
Create content that provides them with the answers they need to complete an action, or remedy their concerns. While it's important that the subject matter is relevant to their needs, but you also need to present the content in a format that your audience will actually want to consume.
As inbound marketers, the goal is not to create demand, but rather put forth content that aims to fulfill it.
If you position yourself as a credible resource and a thought leader, you'll find it is much easier to maintain a close following of loyal customers.
While you may be an expert when it comes to seeing things through on your end, they know what it's like to be on the receiving end of your product or service.
By focusing and fully understanding the way your community reacts to your brand, you are setting yourself up to come about opportunities for growth and expansion. If you find a particular product or service hasn't been well received, consider how you can switch gears or eliminate it and replace it with something that new that caters to your communities needs.