The future of digital marketing will be around community or will it?

The future of digital marketing

Eminence, digital marketing agency in Geneva, discusses Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statements and highlights the issues related to community marketing. What does this shift from networks to communities mean for digital marketing?  Why and how to create a community around a brand? What are the challenges and keys to success?


Let’s first look back at Mark Zuckerberg’s recent statements at the annual F8 Mass in San Jose on April 29 to refocus his network on private conversations while collecting less personal data. This is when he declared his famous phrase “the future is private” to address two major issues: concerns about the management of personal data on the one hand and the growing attraction of users for private interactions on the other.


In addition to his statements and the announcement of the new Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg also presented the main axes of the new Facebook, which aims to make “groups” more visible and to develop communities.


What is a community?


First of all, let us note the difference between community and networks. A network is a group of individuals who have weak ties to each other while a community refers to strong ties between participants who are known to all and who all have a place and a role to play.  Let us add an essential point: belonging to a community is a fundamental need for every human being. The digital age has changed the way people connect to different communities. Before, an individual belonged to his local community (his village, his neighbourhood), his work and/or an association. Today and even more so tomorrow, individuals are linked to virtual communities that they can choose from beyond their borders, geographical boundaries and traditional belonging.


In terms of social networks, a community is therefore a group of individuals who come together around a common interest, which can be linked to a cause, a product or a project…


How can a community be used for a brand?


The cornerstone of communities for brands is that they create a participative experience for the customer, which makes it possible to articulate a message around the “we” and no longer the “us” versus “you”. Thanks to interactive communities, brands now have the opportunity to listen to the customer. A community allows brands to engage their customers and take an active part while developing a sense of belonging.


How to build and manage your community  


1.Adapt your strategy and map your customers’ communities.


Forget the classic and obsolete approach to marketing, which consists in segmenting your market and sending each of your targets a specific message. It will be much more useful for to map communities, which will show that a single individual can belong to several communities without belonging to several marketing segments. The community approach makes it possible to capture the binding and unifying factors around a brand beyond a simple study of gender, age or location. Consequently, it is imperative to no longer focus on what people “are” in a static way, but to reflect on the interests and understand their different communities and to develop a new segmentation by community.


For example, an individual may belong to a community of use (cooking blog), a community of value (religion or political party), a community of passion (sports club), a state community (student, retired), etc…..


  1. Identify the right cause and develop a common vision for your brand

First of all, ask yourself the question: why would an individual join my community? Think about the added value you will bring to your community. 


  1. Think about social recognition

What reward will your community members receive? You can offer material rewards (gifts, goodies), personal enrichment (education, information) or social recognition. 


  1. Consider structuring everyone’s roles

You have several options. Either you decide to manage and administer your community yourself. The advantage is to keep control, but this task will be very time-consuming. Or you decide to delegate by giving several people specific rules.


  1. Establish simple and precise rules of the game

Create obvious landmarks. For example, consider gathering your members each week during the same time slot. Think of strong symbols that unite the community.


And finally, here are 3 examples of successful community marketing strategies:


Beauty Talk by Sephora

Sephora has launched an online community, Beauty Talk, a massive and well-organized forum where users can ask questions, share ideas and have their beauty problems solved by other enthusiasts. Their Beauty Board offers another way to engage with products and the community. Users upload photos of themselves wearing Sephora products. The photos then link to the product page of all the items used.


Legos Idea de Lego

Thanks to Lego Ideas, Lego enthusiasts can have their design idea developed by the brand and be allocated a percentage of the product’s sales. Anyone who likes Lego, from 5 to 95 years old, can view the proposals, vote on their favorites, leave their comments and submit their own ideas and the most popular ones go on the market.


My Starbucks Idea

Starbucks offers coffee lovers a forum where they can exchange and discuss their ideas through My Starbucks Idea. The appeal of the platform is to present them and vote for the ideas of users. Through this platform, the brand cultivates a sense of belonging by ensuring that it highlights customer ideas that are put into practice.


If you wish to create a community around your brand, Eminence, a digital marketing agency in Geneva, will support you in your approach.