If you’ve been managing a Facebook Business Page over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed the algorithm heavily restricts you to reach out to your community users. Today many brands who were heavily dependent on these social media giants are realising how dependent they’ve become on social media and are now building or investing in their own social community platform. With the rise of the “creator economy” the podcasting world has exploded with multiple platforms to choose from. But the key problem remains: Do you really own your audience as a creator, or does the platform own you? Let us first understand what do brands need community platforms? How this will help them in achieving their goals?
Here are the main reasons why brands need a dedicated social engagement community & loyalty platforms:
- Access to top customers – this helps brand to have an absolute reach over their audience and build rich & meaningful engagement without worrying about any algorithm
- Increase customer loyalty – Create custom personalised experiences for your audience in your own social space
- Turn customers into brand advocates – Advocates show outsiders what makes your brand community valuable to join. They are highly engaged within your community and share the joy of being a member with the outside world through the things they do, say, and share. In other words, they are involved with every step in the community building process.
ACCESS TO TOP CUSTOMERS:
Haven’t you already heard, never build your house on a rented space. Brand spent years and countless resources to build their audience on social media, yet they find it difficult to reach out to them as they have to fight the algorithm every time, besides…
Social reach is on decline
- 20% decline in organic reach in 2017, then another 34% decline in 2018, when Facebook decided to favour groups over brand pages
- 20% drop in engagement on Instagram after the platform removed likes (based on early metrics)
- To make up for this loss, brands are significantly upping their ad spend.
Email’s problem with long-term engagement: Email, the other big DTC channel, also shows real engagement problems:
- Over 75% of customers opted out of communication from a brand in the past 6 months
- For companies with European customers, some brands lost as much as 50% of their contact base with GDPR
Looking for new (and owned) channels
Email and social media will remain essential communication channels for any brand. But they’re no longer the most secure and future-proof channels to stay connected with top customers.
Brands need to develop new ways to access their best customers. Winners will be those that own the spaces their communities occupy.
INCREASE CUSTOMER LOYALTY:
Modern buyers, especially younger generations, no longer want ads, email blasts, or coupons from their favourite brands. Brands are rethinking how they’re treating best customers and if they’re creating an experience worth coming back for.
Custom experiences that engage customers:
With customers looking for unique experiences, brands need the freedom and tools to create tailor-made experiences. Social media doesn’t provide custom and branded features. Today, brands are testing these in physical stores through community-events (classes, workshops…), or doing this at scale on the platforms they own.
- H&M’s millennial brand, launched a beta community platform where customers can rate new collections and style outfits. The best styles (as voted by the community) get featured on the website & social media. Fans feel recognised and Monki’s team can easily spot what is trending.
- LEGO has a platform where fans can submit ideas for future sets. When they get 10,000 votes, the set gets made. This is a great way to make fans feel like they’re part of the brand and the LEGO team discovers new themes that interests their core fans.
Once you’re delighting top customers in a place you own, you can focus on ways to leverage their brand love and maximise their impact on sales.
TURN LOYAL CUSTOMERS INTO BRAND ADVOCATES
Brands have a real challenge in maximising the impact of their loyal customers, well beyond repeat purchases. This means loyalty programs need to revamped: the goal is not only to build loyalty, but to transform loyal customers into brand advocates.
Build a system rewarding every positive action
Many brands are turning their loyalty programs into systems that incentivise and reward customer advocacy at scale. Since traditional loyalty programs aren’t built with advocacy in mind, and social media doesn’t allow to do this effectively (not linked to the CRM, no custom advocacy features), they are relying on advocacy or community platforms.
- Glossier launched a referral program where top customers list their favourite products and generate new sales. This is what these profiles look like.
- Superdrug has their customer test new products and write reviews for product pages. Soon, customers will be able to upload pictures, how-tos, beauty routines and more.
What this means for brands:
The strongest brands will be those who create a system that incentivise loyal customers to go beyond repeat buying and become advocates of the brand. One trend for 2020 and beyond we’re following closely is brands upgrading their existing loyalty programs to next generation advocacy & community programs! Cohora is a complete package, a complete platform to manage your engagement with your users, grow your user base and then convert that into revenue.
If these echo your community goals and you want to hear from our team of community experts, book your 1 on 1 session or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org