August 6, 2018

2.7 : Communities focused engagement

2.7 : Communities focused engagement

Dr. Tahir Rashid, Senior Lecturer, Salford Business School, UK

Continuous engagement with the communities that the organization is interested in or the communities that are interested in the organization – we want to know who are these communities? What are they trying to achieve? What’s their demographic, geographic, and digital fit? Where are they in terms of geographic?

An online community is a virtual place where individuals engage with one another and share a common identity and interest

Building trust and developing long-term relationships is the key to developing long-term partnerships with these communities. Maximizing favourable mention of the company, brand, and products on third-party websites, and responding perhaps to negative messages or complaints that may occur on social media platforms.

#passion4digital is an example of a community of individuals interested in Digital and Social Media Marketing

Users across different social platforms identify themselves with others using the #passion4digital hashtag

We need to engage with these communities to give them the right kind of information at the right time. And if there is any negative aspects that is being broadcast on these digital platforms, we need to respond to them by the right kind of messages.

Alex Charalambidis, Digital Marketing Strategist, MONKS, Greece

First of all, it’s starting from the objectives.

What are your community engagement business objectives?

If you need awareness, you can find people on communities or even on social media. So if you are using softwares like social listening, you can identify positives sentiments for your brand. So it’s very easy to find “Super Fans” we call them.

If your objectives is to amplify the positive messages from existing customers and influence the ZMOT for future customers – identify the Super Fans or Brand Advocates in communities and reward their behaviour

Rewards could be: recognition, acknowledgement, offering special information and consultation on your new products and services

One part of paid advertising is identifying the audience, different segments. So based on your product or service or your list of products, you have to create different personas so you have to think like a customer so you can say this is a generic audience, I need a message like this or an offer. These are more loyal fans so we need to give them loyalty. And these are let’s say people preferring competitors. So different creative, different messages, different segments.

Community engagement activities:

  • Reward loyal brand advocates
  • Develop trust for new customers

E.g. openly encourage and address both bad and good feedback

Another part of online context, which is paid but without PPC or something standard model, it’s a part of e-public relations like try to find ambassadors on Twitter or on Instagram and give them some incentives to write something positive for you. So yes, an online community can be crucial because the main element for trust online is recommendation.

Main element for online trust is user-generated recommendations from past customers – remember ZMOT?

Kristina Chokoeva, Marketing Director, DINO, Bulgaria

We’re also involved with online communities like Easy Art or News Stars Bulgaria which organize events for children and aim to create a stable environment for the children in Bulgaria through art, festivals, conferences, or games. Their values align very much with our brand vision so we are extremely happy to be part of their online and offline initiative.

Think beyond online communities – in some markets this might have more impact

Cultivate positive relationships both online and offline to have as many brand advocates as you can – they are your “sales” team!

#passion4digital community

Think about the concept of Communities of Practice and apply it to this course. Write your thought below and comment on the thoughts of others:

What do you think makes this course a community?

Additional materials

Using communities to help your brand

The concept of Communities of Practice helps to understand what a brand can do as part of its engagement on social networks.



Poor Rezaei, SM and Heinze, A 2014, SME competitiveness through online brand communities: An exploration of brand loyalty , in: Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), 5-6 Nov 2014, Manchester…

Ferneley, E, Heinze, A and Child, P 2009, Research 2.0: Improving participation in online research communities , in: European Conference in Information Systems, 2009, Verona, Italy.

Ihm, H. (2013). Mining consumer attitude and behavior. J. Converg, 4(2935.19).…

What is the 1% rule?…

Please see following pages for chapter 2:

2.0 Understanding the different nature of digital channels based on geographic, demographic and digital fit for a campaign
2.1 Search Engines – differences in countries – based on the case study examples
2.2 Social Media platforms differences in countries and how to they can be used
2.3 Email marketing and how it can be used
2.4 Affiliate marketing and how it can be used
2.5 Mobile marketing and how it could be used
2.6 Paid channels overview – search and social

If you want to advance to chapter 3, follow these links:

3.0 Buyer persona development
3.1 The importance of understanding who the target audience is
3.2 Planning integration of search and social media
3.3 Keyword research for buyer persona
3.4 Social media channels for buyer persona
3.5 Develop keyword plan for a campaign
3.6 PPC keyword vs organic keyword plan
3.7 Develop social media editorial calendar