A BtoB community is the gathering of professionals with common interests and shared concerns around a specific subject: a profession, an industry, the use of a specific tool, for example. These professionals gather on a defined online space, accessible only for members, to share best practices, sector news, content or to get in touch with their peers.
Going far beyond a simple professional social network, the BtoB community concept is based on maximizing member engagement by giving them exclusive access to value-added content throughout the year.
The more these members consume content on your community space, the more knowledge you will have of their interests, enabling you to send them targeted messages. They will then become real ambassadors and user panels for your company.
But what are the particular advantages of creating and animating a BtoB marketing community for your company? Why should you set up a community site? We have listed 6 main reasons.
1) Increase your brand awareness and position your company as a key player in your industry:
The purpose of a community is to encourage sharing among its members. But it must also be managed and constantly enriched with new content created by your teams.
On a community website, you share content about your company and products. However, you can (and should) also feature news and trends related to your industry, in order to provide business expertise on wider topics of interest to your audiences.
The content published must therefore reflect your expertise in your market, and thus establish your leadership in your area. By logging in, your community members will have access to a space where they can easily keep up to date with their sector news via highly targeted content on identified themes.
The community should not only be focused on your business, but also provide expert contents, tips and best practices to your members throughout the year.
2) Build audience loyalty and engagement:
As a marketer, building the loyalty of your audiences – whether they are your customers, users of your solutions or products, partners, employees, etc. – must be at the heart of your strategy. You put a lot of energy into making them adhere to your brand, but the downstream phase, the retention phase, is also decisive.
Setting up a community enables you to bring people together with the same interests: a profession, a topic, the use of a specific solution or technology, etc.
These people will then have access to a platform that gives them a relevant experience centred on the issues they care about. They will also be able to network with other members who share the same aspirations.
By providing them with bespoke content and interactions, always-on and on-demand, you encourage members’ interest in your communications and brand, and as a result you engage them more. The more engaged your contacts are, the more loyal they will be to you and the more opportunities your company will have with them.
3) Promote news related to your products and activities:
Your teams are constantly working to deliver new products. By gathering all your audience members in a community site, you can promote these new products.
You can then unveil your innovations as you go and test the reaction of a community of early adopters, who already know your products and will be better inclined to test and adopt them in the long term.
Once convinced, these early adopters won’t hesitate to share their experience on these new products, and the word-of-mouth will have an immediate effect on your conversions.
4) Get feedback on your products or services:
By encouraging experience sharing on your community platform, you give your users / customers a voice. They can then talk about their achievements with your products, their tips and tricks, as well as their sticking-points.
This is a real opportunity for your company to listen to the voice of its users, and to hear their feedback.
If you are in the software publishing industry, for example, you can open a suggestions tab with the enhancements users want to see in order to plan these changes or feature additions in your roadmap.
Managing a community also means giving your customers, partners and users the opportunity to become ambassadors/influencers for your brand. They can then position themselves as experts and will have the most relevant feedback to give about your products or services.
5) Encourage exchanges between your audiences:
The purpose of a marketing community is to create exchanges between its members. It’s not simply a one-way dialogue from your company to your audience, but it provides real opportunities for interaction, experience sharing and networking.
These opportunities for discussion are priceless because they promote word-of-mouth, which is a real growth lever for your company.
Indeed, in the BtoB sector, it is commonly acknowledged that customer recommendations are a strong lever for purchasing decisions.
Offering your community members the possibility to exchange, either one-to-one or in groups, on a dedicated platform is therefore a vector of opportunities for your company.
6) Get to know your target better:
By joining your community, your contacts give personal information about themselves. Not just their first name, last name, email address and company, but also much more valuable data depending on the content they consume or the interactions they have.
As you collect data on these contacts – making sure of course that you have the right opt-ins in place in compliance with GDPR – you get more and more information about them. You get to know them better and better and are therefore able to provide them with personalized and relevant experiences that will lead to better engagement.
It’s a winning combination for your audiences, who can access relevant content on demand, based on the topics they’re interested in. But also for your company, which will get better qualified data on its target and will be able to focus its global strategy on real insights and not on suppositions.
Managing a community presents real benefits for a company in the BtoB sector. Awareness, growth, retention, so many objectives that will be met through the establishment of this community. And if this online community complements your event strategy, by offering an always-on experience to your audiences, it’s a winning combination.
Find out in an upcoming article how building a community complements your event strategy.