How to Leverage Digital Communities to Stay Connected to Customers

June 4, 2020
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When customers feel unheard or undervalued, their brand loyalty diminishes.

Responding to an audience’s needs is one of the key drivers of not only how a company retains its steadfast customers but also how it evolves over time. But without engaging with an audience and learning about their concerns with a brand or product, opportunities to turn those opinions and questions into wins are missed. 

Companies that build and support strong, feedback-based digital communities around their business situate themselves well to maintain relevance with customers, even through immense market change and spending cuts. Engaging with users via social media, email, client communication, even an in-house community platform can help marketers adjust the resources their companies provide, like new content, products, events or expert advice. 

These adaptations can evolve how users interact with a brand. Companies that position themselves as attentive and responsive — especially during challenging times and market fluctuations — can work to improve their customer relationships and fortify their brand within the lives and businesses of users. 

 

Tareen Alam
Editor

What was the most important strategy you used to build a digital community around Planoly?

To build a strong digital community, marketers should head back to a brand’s origin story. What prompted the company to get started, and what problem is it trying to solve for its community? An online community should mirror and complement a real-life community through social media. An audience wants to feel just as connected to a company and its mission online. With that idea in mind, focus on educating, listening to, inspiring and relating to the audience. Weave in the right tone, values, authenticity and kindness throughout everything that’s published or posted online.

Over time, keeping a pulse on an audience’s needs and feedback will inform how companies evolve and speak to their community online and offline. Teams don’t need a fancy tool for this sort of social listening. Every week, marketers should keep a mental note of the types of direct messages, comments and emails they’re getting. Overall, is the audience excited or confused? Are there recurring questions from the community? What type of content seems to garner the most comments or reshares? Take all of those answers into consideration when working on new content or products to make the community feel valued. 

 

An audience’s needs and feedback will inform how companies evolve.”

How have you recently leveraged that community to connect with customers?

Our first response was to discuss as a team what our users and social media community were feeling. We realized that many of them needed expert advice on digital marketing, wellness, content creation and brand building. We also knew that our webinars were the primary source for our users to learn, ask questions and feel heard. So our team developed a seven-week digital event series called PLANOLY Presents. Each week, we host two to three webinars featuring experts in their field that educate our users, inspire ingenuity and build community. 

 

What are your team’s most important considerations around the current tone and messaging of your content?

We paused our scheduled content and campaigns and took a few days to reset. It was important for us to listen to and empathize with our users who were settling into their new realities and facing new challenges. 

The first notable change was our tone; we established that we were going to keep it positive and uplifting across all our digital channels. The second change involved taking proactive measures with our email marketing, blog content and community outreach. People were already getting bombarded with emails and redundant messaging. Instead, we focused on providing helpful resources for business owners like content creation tips, advice on driving online sales and how to go digital for the first time, and emphasizing wellness content.

 

Lauren Saar
North American Field Marketing and Events Manager

What was the most important strategy you used to build a digital community around LumApps

One of our most successful channels is our customer-specific website that hosts all customer resources, tutorials and assets to help them make the most of their LumApps solution. Rather than just an email that can get lost in an inbox, the customer platform hosts multimedia such as images, videos, articles and regularly updated documentation so our customers can easily find the tips and solutions they need. We’re also adding a feedback button to each page, so any thoughts, questions or issues can be reported and quickly updated. 

We use a multichannel approach to build our digital community by involving a combination of social media, webinars, videos and content, as well as newsletters and email messaging. 

 

We tailor our content around the specific needs our business audience might have.”

How have you recently leveraged that community to connect with customers?

Especially during this time when so many are working remotely, we want to ensure our customers are equipped with the resources they need to communicate effectively, support their employees and ensure business continuity. So we launched a calendar of complementary weekly training sessions for our customers. Every Tuesday, our experts provide tips and best practices on a specific topic. Then every Thursday, we host an interactive Q&A session for customers where they can also share best practices that have worked well for them with others. 

These sessions have allowed us to stay in constant contact with our customers and learn what’s working well or how we can make adjustments to what isn’t. 

 

What are your team’s most important considerations around the current tone and messaging of your content?

This time has raised a lot of questions for businesses and marketing teams. Do we continue our campaigns as normal or draw attention to the situation? At the end of the day, we always do our best to look at the situation from our customer’s point of view and what will be best for them. We tailor our content around the specific needs our business audience might have right now. Especially during this time, we aim to communicate frequently, with transparency, utility and empathy. We’ll communicate in this way through all of our channels of communication.

 

Ryan Ginand
IDR Central Sales Team Lead

What was the most important strategy you used to build a digital community around your Rapid7

The theme of our “Central Meetup” is for customers to have a platform built and continually tweaked by them. The purpose is the creation of a grassroots forum for Rapid7 customers to meet with their local security practitioners and share challenges, learnings and best practices. Through bimonthly virtual meetups, these regional security groups will be able to communicate directly and expand their local peer networks. 

 

Our sales team won a request for proposal and one section of it called out our community presence.”

How have you recently leveraged that community to connect with customers?

The team built confidence with prospective clients by sharing the idea of our virtual meetups as an avenue for reaching out to others who may be experiencing similar challenges. Through these proposals, our sales team won a request for proposal and one section of it called out our community presence. The company cared about whether we gave back to the local information security community. 

 

What are your team’s most important considerations around the current tone and messaging of your content?

We want to balance persistence with professionalism during this time of adversity. We work to be empathetic to situations that an individual and their family may be in, while also highlighting business as usual to increase confidence so urgency is not delayed.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog6 open jobs
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