Building niche communities online

By Tamsyn Friedman, Group Marketing Manager, CBR Marketing Solutions

Online communities are places where people choose to be, where they interact with others who share a specific interest – be it cars, bikes, parenting, scrap-booking or any crafts, any number of health topics, books, nature, sports, art, politics, fashion, gardening, pets – just about any area of interest. By virtue of the digital world, there will always be someone somewhere willing to share with, teach, learn from, and connect with others who are on their particular wavelength.

It could be niche communities within the greater Facebook platform, blogs, vlogs, or websites. Some bigger ones include Letterboxd for movie lovers, Goodreads for book lovers, Wiser for those dedicated to a more sustainable world, Curbly for DIY enthusiasts, or BakeSpace for bakers. The point is that people within those communities feel like they belong, which makes their experience positive and personal.

Businesses can benefit by connecting with people in relevant online communities or – taking it a step further – creating new niche communities, to get to know their target markets better, to listen to what they’re saying, and to learn to speak their language.

Marketing is no longer a monologue from advertiser to potential customer; it has become a dialogue – with two-way (or more) conversation or discussion the rule. Taking this into communities that represent target markets could be value adding for both sides. The marketer gaining a better understanding of the market by listening, processing, sharing, and listening some more, all while maintaining authenticity in order to remain relevant and reputable. The community members (target market) would be exposed to useful information, putting them in a position to discuss and debate its value.

It is vital for a digital agency to find new ways to connect with the target markets of their clients and ensure that the right people are being targeted, either through established niche online platforms or by creating specific and successful campaigns for niche communities, using influencers who appeal directly to the audience and speak their language.

The bottom line is that it’s a worthwhile ‘getting to know your customers’ exercise for marketers and it requires focus, patience, interest, listening, and dialogue, to ensure that content will be genuinely adding value – and not be irritating – to the community.

CBR Marketing Solutions is a Digital Marketing and Advertising agency inspired by ensuring a brand, idea or service’s place in the ever-changing market.

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