Digital marketing, at the core, is the practice of how people try to sell their products or service through digital mediums such as social media, mail, websites, and search engines. While the overarching goal of digital marketing is to promote a brand and generate a profit, it is also done to establish relationships with the audience.
In this specific context, relationships do not refer to the kind shared between two romantically involved people but rather two parties who engage in mutually beneficial interactions. This is the central premise of relationship marketing, wherein brands are focused on customer retention and satisfaction.
In most business industries, success is not only defined by the profits they generate from single purchases but from their ability to retain patrons who are loyal to their brand. This is the goal of relationship marketing: to create long-term relationships with customers and establish two-way engagement.
That is why many businesses invest their time and money in social media management and community engagement, especially in the digital age. These business owners know that their audience frequent social media platforms, so they try to interact with them through those avenues directly.
Social Media: The Go-to Platform
In the world of consumerism, each individual is entitled to their own opinions about the products or services they pay for. This is strengthened by the age-old phrase that “the customer is always right” and it’s the job of the product or service provider to adapt to the demands of their market.
But the consumers don’t use social media platforms in the exact way most business owners would like. This is because it’s easy to voice out negative opinions online. After all, people are shrouded by anonymity. So, if they wanted to speak out about their ill-fated experiences, all they had to do was post their thoughts to let the whole world know.
However, this anonymity and real-time, worldwide interaction can make it hard for the involved organizations to directly respond to the concerned party before the situation gets out of hand. And once they do get the chance to respond, it can often appear like they’re just cleaning up after the mess.
This is the downside of seeking healthy community engagement in public platforms like social media. Although there are opportunities to communicate with the audience, promote the brand, and create patrons, one negative opinion by an unsatisfied customer can turn the entire situation sour.
It’s understandable why most businesses prefer to use established platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage with their communities, but they should know that there are risks that come with that kind of exposure. Using social media might be one of the best ways to interact with an audience, but it’s not the only way.
Community Websites: The Alternative Option
Creating separate avenues to engage with a specific audience is not a new business practice. In fact, this is the exact goal of forums, review websites, and other discussion portals that are not considered social media sites. However, such avenues don’t inspire two-way engagement because all it does is provide an avenue where people can voice out their opinions, which is rarely directed to the party involved.
If you really want a platform where you can directly engage with your audience and use their valuable feedback to improve your brand, then using an online community website creator will bode well for your business. Community websites are the preferred alternative to relying on social media because it gives some power back to the brand.
With a website dedicated to a specific community, people can become more authentic when it comes to their opinions, feedback, and interactions with fellow members. There are opportunities to build connections, communicate with one another, or customize the whole experience through a single platform.
Unlike social media platforms where anyone can see and comment on a post, a community website is limited to a smaller number of people. This means that you can easily eliminate the trolls that pollute and disrupt meaningful conversations, which makes the environment a safer space for the community’s growth.
Community engagement is valuable because it helps the public create informed decisions, but only if the criticism is constructive, not destructive. It’s so easy for people to tear each other down or speak ill towards others because there are no direct repercussions in the digital sphere.
However, that kind of thinking is exactly what needs to be solved in this age of social media. By relying on other platforms that are built to hone actual relationships and inspire mutual growth, you’re helping people create healthy avenues on the internet where they are free to contribute to other people’s lives.