B2C marketers have been talking about community for years now, and perhaps that’s no surprise. Building a community around your brand helps you to create an army of brand advocates who will go out of their way to sing your praises to their peers. For example, smoothie manufacturers can create forums and discussion boards where people share recipes with each other.
But for B2Bs, community building has always taken something of a back seat. For many people, that’s because they think that they work in a “boring” industry that people won’t want to talk about, but that’s not necessarily the truth. In fact, we’ve always suspected that people who say that are in the wrong job. There’s ALWAYS something interesting to talk about.
That’s why you’ll see communities popping up around all sorts of areas, many of them specialising in specific subsectors. For example, as well as big discussion forums dedicated to the finance industry as a whole, you’ll also be able to dig in and find communities around specific topics such as carrying out tax returns or providing financial advice to tech start-ups.
How to build community
The good news, then, is that there’s no topic too dry to create a community around it, and B2B companies are no exception. The trick is to find new ways to talk about your industry. If you’re just toeing the line and doing the same thing that everyone else is doing, you’re not going to stand out and so you’re not going to attract those people that your community really needs if it’s to grow and thrive.
If you work in a traditionally dry industry then perhaps you should break the mould by creating humorous videos and images. If it’s very statistic driven then consider illustrating those statistics by telling true stories or even just by creating attractive visuals that bring those stats to life. And it goes without saying that you should encourage other people to repost your content. If bloggers are embedding your videos and linking to your charts then it’s going to help more people to find you and help that community to grow.
And of course, remember that community building is all about a two-way dialogue. In other words, it’s not enough to simply create the content that you think people are going to enjoy. You need to create a dialogue in which they provide their feedback and you listen to it. You need to involve them in your content creation and to invite people from your field to take part by writing guest posts or appearing in videos, vox pops and more.
When it comes to marketing, whether we’re talking about B2B or B2C, community is one of the most powerful tools that you have available to you. In fact, if you build a community around your brand and the industry it deals with, the community will even come to your defence if you make a mistake. It’s a powerful asset to have. Start building it today.
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