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How Community Based Marketing Helps Brands Succeed on Social

Hélène Heath
December 8, 2023
Last Updated On
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In an era where digital screens dominate our interactions, the essence of marketing is undergoing a profound transformation. Gone are the days when traditional marketing methods — relying heavily on one-way communication and blanket advertising — ruled the roost. 

Today, we witness the rise of community based marketing, a vibrant approach that weaves together the power of connection and belonging into the very fabric of brand-audience relationships. This shift is more than just a strategic pivot; it's a response to a deep-seated human yearning for genuine connection and a sense of belonging.

Community based marketing isn't just about changing tactics; it's about embracing a new philosophy that values meaningful engagement over mere exposure. Uncover how brands transform their narratives from speaking at an audience to sparking conversations with a community, fostering loyalty and a sense of shared purpose and belonging.

This blog covers:

  • What a brand community is.
  • Community based vs community oriented.
  • Benefits of creating a brand community.
  • Understanding community based marketing.
  • How to build and nurture a brand community.
  • Brand examples of community based marketing.

What Is a Brand Community?

In digital marketing, a brand community represents the heart of online interaction, much like a bustling watering hole in a vast digital landscape. It's where users gather to find their people, driven by common likes and interests. Members engage in real-time in these communities, building connections based on shared experiences and values. This environment fosters trust, authenticity and loyalty among users, making these groups invaluable for meaningful brand conversations. Such interactions can be a treasure trove of information that’s vital for brand success. 

Community Based vs Community Oriented

Community Based Marketing is like throwing a party for your brand where everyone invited is a fan or customer. At this party (which is actually online forums, social media groups, events, etc.), your guests – the customers – talk to each other and to you about how much they love your products or what they'd like to see next. It's all about creating a fun and engaging space where your brand's fans can hang out, share their experiences and feel like they're part of a special club. LEGO Ideas and Peloton's user community are like these parties where LEGO and Peloton fans get together to share and enjoy their common interests.

Community Oriented Marketing, on the other hand, is like being a tailor who makes suits. Instead of making the same suit for everyone, you listen to what specific groups of customers want and then create products just for them. For example, if you find out that a group of your customers are really into eco-friendly products, you might start making and advertising environmentally friendly products. It's all about paying close attention to what specific groups of customers need and want, and making sure your products and ads speak directly to them.

In short, community based marketing is about building a desirable club for your fans to connect and interact with each other and your brand. Community oriented marketing is about carefully listening to different groups of customers and making products and ads that feel like they're made just for them.

Benefits of Creating Brand Community

Creating a brand community offers many benefits and forges deeper connections between customers and the brand. From amplifying brand awareness to gathering real-time feedback and boosting loyalty, the advantages of nurturing a brand community are substantial and multifaceted. Below, we explore three key benefits that illustrate the transformative power of community based social marketing.

Boost Brand Awareness with Community Power

Brand communities are not just groups of customers; they're dynamic platforms for connection and interaction. By fostering a brand community, you open the door for customers to share their experiences and engage directly with your brand. This interaction doesn’t just boost loyalty and positive sentiment; it creates a community of brand ambassadors. These ambassadors naturally amplify your brand within their networks, driving organic brand awareness. This community-led approach to marketing results in authentic brand visibility and a stronger, more genuine presence, especially on social media.

Leverage Real-Time Feedback for Enhanced Brand Experience

In community marketing, social media is vital for real-time interaction with your audience. This ongoing dialogue doesn’t only foster two-way conversations but also builds trust. Engaged users often provide candid feedback, offering invaluable insights into customer challenges and perceptions of your brand initiatives. This inside perspective is crucial for marketers, transforming them from outsiders to active participants in the customer’s world. Prioritizing a safe and open online environment lets brands gather actionable feedback and make strategic adjustments.

Strengthen Brand Loyalty and Engagement

Statistics show the impact of community engagement: about 60% of customers feel more loyal to brands they can converse with, and 58% are more likely to purchase from brands that communicate with them. On the business side, 80% of companies report that building a community has increased their website traffic.

Take the UK-based beauty brand, the INKEY List, as a prime example. Integrating social media and community engagement, the brand uses audience insights for social planning. Its #askINKEY service offers 24/7 advice on skincare and haircare across main social channels. The INKEY List crafts informative and engaging content by focusing on meaningful metrics. Their community-centered strategy has led to a 110% higher engagement than the average in the skincare industry, showcasing the power of community in driving brand loyalty and engagement.

Understanding Community Based Marketing

Community based marketing redefines the traditional marketing playbook. Its strategy centers around creating a dialogue, building connections and co-creating with audiences. This approach moves away from the broadcasting model and shifts towards an engaging, participatory marketing method.

But what exactly is community marketing in today's digital world? It's about creating spaces — online and offline — where your audience can interact with your brand and each other. This model fosters a sense of belonging, turning customers into active participants in your brand's narrative. Barnes and Noble is a great example of a brand that incorporates community into their marketing efforts. They host a monthly book club featuring a virtual author talk, and promote other virtual events through their LikeShop link in bio. 

book in front of floral arrangement at barnes and nobles
Image credit: @barnesandnoble

In this new marketing landscape, communication is no longer one-sided. Brands must engage in two-way conversations, where feedback and collaboration are encouraged and integral to the marketing strategy. This shift from a monologue to a dialogue sets community marketing apart, making it a vital tool for brands looking to make a meaningful impact.

The Emotional Power of Community

Community based marketing taps into the emotional aspect of consumer behavior. By fostering community, brands can build deeper, more emotional connections with their audience. This connection goes beyond the traditional buyer-seller relationship, creating a sense of audience ownership and participation.

The emotional power of community is a really powerful force in marketing. When consumers feel part of a community, they're more likely to develop a strong emotional attachment to the brand. This attachment leads to higher levels of engagement, advocacy and, ultimately, loyalty.

Examples of brands leveraging these emotional ties are abundant in the modern market. From niche hobby groups to large-scale brand communities, the common thread emphasizes shared experiences and values. These brands understand that community based social marketing is about nurturing these connections, creating a space where customers feel heard, valued and an integral part of the brand's journey.

Adopting a New Mindset

Embracing community marketing requires a fundamental shift in mindset for many brands. It's about letting go of the reins and allowing the community to grow organically. This approach can be daunting, as it involves relinquishing a degree of control and embracing unpredictability.

However, the rewards of this mindset shift are immense. A collaborative and co-creative approach leads to richer, more authentic brand experiences. It allows brands to tap into their community's collective creativity and passion, leading to innovative ideas and deeper customer insights.

But this shift has its challenges. Brands must learn to navigate the dynamics of community management, understanding when to lead and when to listen. This balance is crucial in fostering a healthy, vibrant community that aligns with the brand's values and vision.

Aligning Brand Purpose with Audience Values

Getting your brand's mission to match what your audience cares about is super important. This means getting to know your audience — what they like and believe in and what excites them. Once you figure this out, you can start creating a community that genuinely speaks to them and gets them involved.

For example, if your brand is about being eco-friendly and your audience cares about the environment, you have a great starting point. Share stories, ideas and products that reflect this shared love for the planet. This way, your community becomes a place where people unite over common interests and values.

Building and Nurturing Your Brand Community

Building a thriving brand community doesn't happen overnight. It requires dedication, the right tools, and a deep audience understanding. This is where Dash Hudson Community Manager comes in — it's like having a personal assistant for your brand's social media strategy, helping you connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Start Small and Genuine

Don't worry about having a massive group from the start. Focus on a few members who are really into what your brand stands for. With Dash Hudson, you can identify your most engaged followers and what content resonates with them. This insight is crucial when starting your community. It helps you focus on what your audience truly cares about, laying a strong foundation for your community.

Value Every Member

Make sure your early members feel special. They're your community's foundation, after all. Dash Hudson's tools allow you to track engagement and understand who your most active community members are. Recognizing and valuing these early members is key. By using these insights, you can tailor your content and interactions to keep them engaged and feeling special.

Set the Tone

It's important to have guidelines. This helps keep the community positive and on track with what you're all about. Dash Hudson's social analytics can help monitor the tone and sentiment of your community's interactions. By understanding the mood and industry trends within your community, you can steer conversations in a way that aligns with your brand's values and vision.

Aligning Brand Purpose with Audience Values

Dash Hudson's tools provide in-depth insights into what your audience likes, shares and talks about. This data is invaluable in aligning your brand's message with your audience's values. When your content strikes the right chord, your community becomes a natural extension of your brand's story.

Remember, a community isn't just about selling stuff. It's about creating a space where people can connect, share and feel part of something bigger. As your community grows, Dash Hudson helps you continuously tailor your content to keep your audience engaged. This ongoing engagement transforms a group of customers into a tight-knit community.

7 Brand Examples of Community Based Marketing

Brands today are getting creative about connecting with their customers. They're building places where people do more than buy things – they talk, share and feel part of a group. Let’s examine seven standout brands that have mastered the art of community based social marketing. From global tech giants to beauty trendsetters, these examples showcase how fostering a strong community can transform customers into passionate brand advocates.

1. Sephora

Sephora's Beauty Insider Community brilliantly exemplifies community based marketing in the beauty sector. It's a dynamic platform where beauty enthusiasts can share tips, experiences and product reviews, fostering a strong sense of belonging and engagement. The community offers personalized recommendations, forums for discussion and inclusivity across a diverse range of beauty interests. Members enjoy exclusive perks like loyalty points, access to special events and classes.

Importantly, the platform serves as a rich source of customer feedback for Sephora, informing product development and marketing strategies while integrating with broader promotional efforts through cross-promotion on social media and with influencers. This cohesive approach enhances customer experience and solidifies Sephora’s position as a community-oriented brand in the beauty industry.

person applying lipgloss
Image credit: @sephora

2. Glossier

Glossier, a trailblazer in the direct-to-consumer beauty industry, has skillfully harnessed the power of community based social marketing. The brand has cultivated a robust and interactive community by engaging deeply with customers on social media platforms. This engagement is not just about promotion — Glossier actively listens to customer feedback, making them an integral part of the product development process. 

When Glossier launched, they created a network of affiliates to share discount codes, providing value for consumers. They also affectionately named their customer service team ‘G Team,’ helping personify their brand as a friendly, informed and easy-to-reach customer resource. By involving customers in conversations about their needs and preferences, Glossier has created a loyal fan base that feels personally invested in the brand. This approach helps grow a sense of belonging among its customers and has driven innovation and authenticity in its product line.

living room layout with good morning text written over it
Image credit: @glossier

3. Peloton

Peloton has masterfully created a robust community centered around fitness and wellness, leveraging its high-tech fitness products. The brand's approach goes beyond selling exercise equipment. They share video snippets from popular classes and offer a space where users can share their workout achievements, partake in challenges and connect over their fitness journeys. 

This sense of camaraderie and shared goals has been instrumental in building a loyal and engaged user base. Peloton's community is a key aspect of its appeal. It offers users a way to exercise and a supportive network that motivates and celebrates their fitness milestones, making the brand a standout in the home fitness world.

instructor on pelaton wearing red shirt with hearts and xs on it
Image credit: @Pelaton

4. Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson's Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) stands as a stellar example of community marketing, transforming the individual experience of motorcycle ownership into a shared, collective journey. This club is more than a gathering of bike owners — it's a vibrant community where enthusiasts find a strong sense of belonging and identity. 

Through organizing rides, events and gatherings, H.O.G. deepens the connection between members and fosters a unique camaraderie. This approach has significantly bolstered brand loyalty among Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, making it a distinctive and integral part of the Harley-Davidson experience.

man speaking into mic wearing 70s sunglasses harley davidson ig post
Image credit: @harleydavidson

5. Nike

Nike is an excellent example of utilizing digital platforms to build a community centered on fitness and health. The brand brings together fitness enthusiasts from all walks of life through apps like Nike Training Club and Nike Run Club. These apps offer training programs and track progress, creating a space where users can share their achievements and milestones. 

By doing so, Nike fosters a supportive and motivating community environment where members inspire and encourage each other. This approach enables Nike to extend its brand influence beyond just selling athletic products — they actively contribute and help shape people’s fitness journeys.

woman wearing blue holding up blue running bracelet
Image credit: @kittylever

6. YSL Beauty

YSL Beauty uses social media to cultivate a luxury beauty community and distinguish itself in the competitive beauty market. By sharing high-fashion content, showcasing glamorous product launches and partnering with renowned beauty influencers, YSL Beauty engages its audience in a world of opulence and style. 

Users are customers and participants in a sophisticated beauty narrative where every post and interaction adds to their experience of luxury and elegance. This approach enables YSL Beauty to create a strong, interactive community that deeply connects with the brand's aesthetic and values.

austin butler standing in dimly lit hallway
Image credit: @YSLBeautyOfficial

7. Xbox

Microsoft's Xbox Live service exemplifies community marketing in gaming by transforming the gaming experience into a communal and interactive journey. It connects gamers globally for multiplayer gaming, letting users engage in competition and cooperation while fostering a sense of camaraderie. 

Xbox Live enhances this community aspect with voice and text chat features, allowing players to communicate and bond over shared gaming experiences. The platform also supports content sharing, where players can showcase their achievements and gameplay, which helps strengthen community camaraderie. On social media, their context mix uses a blend of promotional posts and memes to engage their audience with the type of content they prefer. This approach elevates the gaming experience and simultaneously solidifies a loyal, engaged community around the Xbox brand.

person sitting on couch playing xbox
Image credit: @xbox

Why Community Based Marketing Matters

Community based marketing isn't just another strategy — it's a whole new way of thinking about your business. It's about building real connections, not just making sales. By focusing on creating a community, you're investing in something that can grow and bring value to both your brand and your audience.

If you're ready to take your marketing to the next level, it's time to embrace community marketing. Start conversations, build relationships and watch as your brand becomes more than just a product or service — it becomes a part of people's lives.


What is the community based marketing approach?

Community based marketing is a strategy focused on building and nurturing a community around a brand. It emphasizes engagement and dialogue, encouraging two-way communication between the brand and its audience. This approach values long-term relationships and mutual interaction over simple transactions, fostering community members' sense of belonging and connection.

What is an example of a community marketing?

An example of community based marketing is LEGO's LEGO Ideas platform. This online community allows LEGO fans to submit their own designs for new LEGO sets. Other members can support these ideas and if a design receives enough support, it undergoes a review by LEGO and has the chance to become an official LEGO product.

This platform fosters a strong community by engaging LEGO enthusiasts in the creative process, allowing them to contribute ideas, vote on others' designs and provide feedback. It perfectly illustrates how a brand can build a vibrant community around its products, encouraging interaction, creativity and a deep sense of belonging among its members.

How effective is community based marketing?

Community based marketing is highly effective due to its ability to foster customer loyalty, provide valuable insights through direct customer feedback, generate organic word-of-mouth promotion, create brand advocates, enable content co-creation and offer resilience to market changes. Its success hinges on genuine engagement and aligning the community's interests with the brand's values.

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