In today’s social media-driven world, communicating with fans and building a community can be one of the most effective ways to market products and services – especially those connected with the world of gaming. Today, we’re going to talk about why community marketing is so important, and how you can get started building a community for your brand.
What is a community marketing strategy?
A community marketing strategy focuses primarily on growth. This can be in terms of sales, awareness, or brand loyalty.
Whatever it is you’re looking to grow, having a community marketing plan can bring together existing and potential customers involved with, or interested in, a specific brand, product, or service in an engaging and non-intrusive way – often by forming a two-way conversation that can create and strengthen brand loyalty and awareness.
Community marketing looks to connect with groups of people and build long-lasting relationships. Making your community feel recognised, engaged with, and heard essentially bridges the gap between what your brand sells and the people you’re selling to.
Why is it important?
Building any kind of community around what you do is crucial in today’s marketing world. With content being so readily available via online sales and streaming services, customers are not only consuming more content than ever before but are also interacting with that content in new ways.
Customers have opinions, views, reactions, comments, and reviews at their fingertips at all times, so it’s more important than ever to have dedicated channels where you can communicate with your audience and define the narrative. Moreover, fans want to feel like their voices are being heard, so having a place where their thoughts can be heard and engaged with is crucial to advancing those relationships.
Due to this, marketers have to mix up the way they focus their efforts. Many brands have delved deeper into relationship building in recent years, understanding that more profound connections with a brand can impact consumer behaviour.
Gamers, in particular, value having their voices heard. We’ve talked in the past about how gamers are the most influential audience in the world right now – they’re opinionated, informed, and loyal – and they want a space to share their feedback. Having dedicated social media channels for brands helps these audience members form an emotional connection with the brand, which in turn makes them more receptive to learning about new products and services.
How do I get started?
So, how exactly do you start to build a community on social media? Let us talk you through our steps.
Come up with a plan
It’s important to have a plan before starting up any new social media channels for your brand. Make sure to define your goals – are you looking to sell a product, build awareness, or attract investors? Once you’ve identified your goals, devise a tone of voice that fits the audience, and goal and content types that will be repeatable.
This isn’t going to happen overnight. Marketing is a challenging game and can often only yield results three to six months down the line. If you’re building a community organically, it will take time, but the thing to remember is that all the members of your community are there out of choice, which is a great place to start. To give your brand’s community a boost, consider investing in paid social media advertising to get the word out.
Once you’ve laid out your tone of voice and content types, it’s time to start posting. Start by figuring out what topics your audience is interested in which align with your goals. For example, a high-end gaming hardware brand will want to talk about high-end demanding games, rather than indie titles that could be played on any device. You will also want to keep up with current trends related to your product or service.
Sometimes you may find unexpected sources of success which will help your brand get more attention. For example, when working with GAME Retail Ltd, Project N discovered that nostalgic content performed exceptionally well. Paying close attention to updates on cult-classic titles like The Simpsons: Hit and Run yielded some fantastic results, which helped the brand gain more followers. Returning to this topic was an excellent way to keep the audience engaged, and even helped the brand pick up traction with gaming news sites. Try many different things and pay attention to the results, then hone in on the content that performs the best.
Give the fans a voice
It’s not enough to simply create content and put it out there – you’ll need to get your audience involved. Responding to feedback is a good way to do this. It shows that you’re constantly looking to better your brand and that you’re truly interested and invested in what your community has to offer. Giving an audience space to do this can often give customers a real buzz and further strengthen that deep connection between them and your brand.
During working hours, we strive to reply to all messages or comments within an hour if they have a specific query. Responding to general comments or replies with gifs or memes is also a good idea – but always be mindful of your brand’s tone of voice and the meanings of content that you are sharing. There’s nothing worse than sharing a meme without realising that it has toxic connotations, which is a common pitfall of using social media.
Like, follow, comment, tag. Posting once a week isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to show consistency and engagement with not only what you’re posting, but who you’re posting to. Find followers who are fans and give them a shout out, reshare their posts about your product or service, host giveaways, and drop teasers for future announcements. Doing these things will be vital to growing a community around your brand.
All a community wants is to enjoy whatever it is you’re marketing, and we now know it’s no longer just about the end product. It’s all about the journey and customer experience that goes with it. So put the time and effort into your posts, blogs, and videos. Show the community that you’re as invested and as passionate about what you do as they are in what you sell, and you’ll see it come together.
At Project N, we aim to help you become a part of the conversation and connect your brand with a vast audience of gamers worldwide, even if gaming isn’t your focus – get in touch today to find out how we can help you.