One of today’s greatest marketing challenges is building the community around the company, brand or product that you are marketing. It no longer works to keep your company distant from your customers and expect them to be loyal because of they have purchased from you in the past or because today’s products lead the market. Tomorrow’s customers will be looking for something else and will want their supplier to listen to their changing requirements and to adapt their products and services accordingly. Good marketers will always have been listening to customers and asking for feedback as they test new ideas. But there is less and less room to hide for companies that do not connect with the market.
Social media provides us with the tools to connect and discuss. But how do we get the enough of our customers and prospects to engage in conversations and to comment on our website, blog, Facebook page or YouTube channel?
The good news is that a small core of followers can make for a lively debate. Ning’s recent POV research showed that 20 people engaged in conversation with your company and with each other brings a reasonable level of activity and encourages others to participate more. If you take the rule of thumb that 1% of visitors become engaged advocates, you are looking for 2000 to visit your sites. Of these, 20 will then become excited enough to share regularly their enthusiasm, concerns and suggestions and form the foundations of a lively community.
Of course, you have to demonstrate that you are willing to listen to them and take notice of their views as well as producing content to interest them. But engaging the community feels like an achievable goal for all companies on this basis.