The modern world has a digital marketplace buzzing louder than a beehive in summer. Here, standing out is about more than just having great products. It's about creating meaningful connections, fostering communities, and surprising customers to elevate their experience with your brand. There are plenty of eCommerce marketing tactics a brand can leverage, from digital marketing to social media and community marketing.
Community marketing fosters connections and nurtures relationships with existing customers, leading to brand advocacy and customer loyalty. When integrated with revenue marketing, this approach can have powerful implications for eCommerce businesses.
You may question, what is revenue marketing and how it works with community marketing for eCommerce. Revenue marketing is more than just drawing a direct line between marketing spend and revenue. It's about aligning the sales and marketing team and optimizing the entire customer journey to maximize return on marketing investment.
In eCommerce, where competition is fierce, and you invest more in eCommerce competition monitoring tools to drive sales and retention, take notice of the power of community marketing. It can become an invaluable asset in achieving these revenue goals. Therefore, in this piece, we will explore five top tips to help you amp up your game in community marketing.
Let’s begin! Tip #1. Create a safe space for discussion
Set up a Facebook group, Discord server, or a community forum on your website to give your audience a space to express themselves. Do not simply use it as a platform to answer product Q&A; instead, use it as a community hangout spot. Share behind-the-scenes looks, invite feedback, or host weekly AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions here.
But then, depending on the region or nature of your eCommerce business, there might be specific regulations and guidelines that your community marketing initiatives need to adhere to. For instance, if you’re collecting user data or feedback, you need to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Here, connecting with GRC software vendors helps you pick the right tools to keep the business compliant by offering tools to monitor, track, and report on various regulatory standards.
The idea is to build a community that feels secure sharing their thoughts, opening up to the brand, and sparking conversations.
Pick the platform that suits your audience's demographics. For instance, younger crowds (especially early millennials and GenZ) prefer Discord, while a broader demographic might lean toward Facebook groups.
Set ground rules
It's crucial to lay down the law early by nurturing a well-moderated community that thrives in mutual respect. Ensure that members are also aware of consequences for violations, and highlight the importance of positive interactions to keep the community's spirit alive.
Consistency breeds familiarity. Therefore, host-themed days foster interaction and build anticipation. They can also act as reminders for passive members to check in and engage, nurturing a routine of community involvement.
Lastly, offer users the necessary space where you can host the expert sessions to add value. Apart from external experts, spotlighting internal community members elevates their status, making them feel valued. It also promotes the idea that the community is not just a space for consumption but also learning and growth. Tip #2. Slide into users’ DMs the right way
Remember, the first look and impressions matter, even in the digital world. While sliding into DMs has become a modern interaction, doing it right is the key.
As an eCommerce brand, you can use social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., to connect with potential customers. Now, whom to connect with?
Well, check users who always engage with your posts. Hit them up! A part of this job can be done through social media audience analysis to find the right audience and connect with your followers to say thanks, offer exclusive promo codes, or chat about shared interests. It’s all about genuine connection.
Here are some of the tips to connect smartly with customers through DMs.
Personalize: Instead of sending generic messages, identify what they care most about and add a dash of personalization.
For instance, If Mary from Minnesota just posted about her love for eco-friendly products, and you sell those, start appreciating her values by connecting via DMs. Ideally, you’ll skim through Mary's profile to gauge her interests and ensure your message is aligned.
Drive engagement and avoid spamming: Don't just push for a sale through DMs. Instead, drop a little sneak peek about an upcoming product or ask for their opinion on something to drive forward a dialogue. This way, you avoid unnecessary messaging and showcase a sense of purpose in communicating over DMs.
Build trust: Consider sliding into your social media followers’ DMs to offer behind-the-scenes content. Seeing the real hustle behind the brand creates trust amongst people who share the same values as your business. Tip #3. Offer lucrative loyalty programs
Over 90% of businesses offer some sort of loyalty program, but there are hardly a few that engage users. An interactive tier system incentivizes community members to engage more, fostering loyalty and driving community spirit. It provides a clear path of progression, fueling a sense of achievement as one climbs the ranks.
This creates a unique blend of gamification and community spirit, encouraging members to interact, purchase, and evangelize more. Therefore, gamify yours to level it up and let customers unlock achievements or provide exclusive member events like early access. All such initiatives can help make your customers feel like they're part of an elite eCommerce club.
Here are some tips to begin this in the right direction.
Interactive tier system: Start them off as a “Newbie” and let them climb the ranks. Maybe to “Aficionado” and ultimately “Master Shopper.”
Source: Starbucks rewards points system
Each rank unlocks new perks that boost sales and create a thriving community that continuously promotes and supports the brand.
Surprises: Unexpected rewards deepen the customer-brand bond. As customers share their delight, it fuels positive word-of-mouth, driving loyalty and attracting others to the community, enhancing overall brand engagement.
Social integration: Allowing members to showcase their status on social media and rewarding them for shares taps into their need for recognition. As they earn points, they become brand advocates, boosting customer loyalty.
Their endorsements attract peers to the brand community, strengthening community marketing as satisfied customers become influential brand ambassadors. Tip #4. Leverage user-generated content
Your customers are your best promoters. Therefore, encourage them to share photos, videos, or reviews of your products. Host monthly challenges, offer giveaways, or showcase the "fan of the month." This provides you with content and boosts community vibes big time.
UGC is like the free PR machine you never knew you needed. Your customers become brand advocates; here's how to use it best.
Themes and challenges: Instead of generic posts, create themed challenges. For example, a "Summer Beach Look" challenge where customers showcase outfits from your line.
Feedback and collaboration: Be receptive to feedback, as it can be helpful when launching your new product line. Create a feedback loop to identify where key issues prevail. For instance, are customers voicing their opinion about the customer service? Are they sharing concerns about eCommerce order fulfillment like delayed shipments or damaged products? Or is there an issue that’s not helping them achieve their goals?
The community will be the first to inform the brand through immediate feedback, allowing eCommerce businesses to quickly address and rectify issues, bolstering customer loyalty and trust. And then, there are other inputs like the community to vote for color, design, name, etc., on social platforms to make them feel a part of it.
Feature your audience: A dedicated fan corner on your website or social platforms can help create a sense of belonging. Alternatively, weekly or monthly spotlight segments enable picking exceptional UGC to feature in dedicated posts, stories, or newsletter highlights. Also, encourage long-form UGC testimonials and transform them into feature stories or mini-documentaries, emphasizing the personal connection between your brand and its users. Tip #5. Collab with micro-influencers
Forget those mega-celebs demanding mega-bucks. Micro-influencers have a niche, engaged audiences that trust their recommendations. Partner up, co-create content, or host takeovers wherein their fans can quickly become your followers.
Big celebs might have the numbers, but micro-influencers often have the community's pulse that helps you reach the active audience. They’re relatable, trusted, and often more cost-effective for brand collaborations.
Identify the right fit
Dive deep into their content and audience demographics. The micro-influencer should resonate with your brand’s ethos and target audience.
Brainstorm with them instead of just sending products and hoping for a shoutout. For instance, a behind-the-scenes look at how they use your product or a day-in-the-life feature.
Takeovers & live sessions
Allow them to take over your brand's social account for a day. It’s a fresh perspective and a fantastic way to introduce their followers to your brand.
Affiliate and commission programs
Incentivize influencers to push your products because they earn a bit from every sale. Over to you
The eCommerce market is highly saturated, therefore, it is necessary to infuse the brand identity with authentic community engagement. Your dedicated followers won't just be passive purchasers but will become ambassadors who champion your brand with fervor.
Put community at the heart of your strategy, which is not just about selling products but curating memories, fostering trust, and building a legacy. Dive deep, break the mold, and watch your brand become a household name by driving the community forward by providing unparalleled customer journeys.
Carl Torrence is a Content Marketer at Marketing Digest. His core expertise lies in developing data-driven content for brands, SaaS businesses, and agencies. In his free time, he enjoys binge-watching time-travel movies and listening to Linkin Park and Coldplay albums.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/torrence_carl
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