Why 2021 Is The Perfect Year To Focus On Community-Building
Let’s face it: 2021 will be the year of community.
A global pandemic, the intensification of social movements, the substantial changes in the way we live and work have given us multiple confirmations that when we’re together we are stronger.
Also, the global restrictions to social gatherings and mobility challenged the way we used to be in community and led us to figure out new ways to come together — trying to overcome the restrictions posed by lockdowns and social distancing rules.
In this time, online communities have taken up new meanings and played a crucial role to support people in overcoming isolation, mental distress, and technical challenges caused by the pandemic. Learning to strategize the use of online infrastructures for social gathering has been a major task for many other social agencies, like governments, institutions, but also businesses and workplaces.
For the months to come, strengthening online communities and strategizing digital infrastructures for social gatherings will remain a priority, and will potentially open up new approaches and solutions to how collective spaces are designed, organized, and built for online.
This scenario pictures 2021 as the perfect year to invest in community-building strategies.
Let me tell you more about why!
IT’S A REAL NEED!
Pandemic keeps us distant, communities bring us together!
The Corona Virus has led to a series of unprecedented restrictions.
Some of the most difficult consequences have been isolation and social distancing.
In a reality where the possibilities for social gathering and interaction are drastically reduced, online communities have emerged as key solutions.
Online communities have not only offered people the opportunity and the infrastructures to deal with isolation and loneliness but also to discover new ways of being together, exploring collectivity and the benefits derived from it.
In 2021, the search for online communities will certainly not stop, rather it will exponentially increase.
Furthermore, online communities will be a perfect solution for businesses and other social entities to continue cultivating and growing relationships with their audiences and addressing their needs.
Haven’t thought about it yet?
It’s time to build and strategize your community now!
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IT’S RIDICULOUSLY EASY!
Technology and digital solutions are providing the world with unprecedented infrastructures to help people connect and exchange with each other.
This means that technology is increasingly oriented towards community-building practices: from messaging tools, social media platforms, to increased production of community-building software, from apps for self-help and common interests to video call systems and shared workspaces: in 2021 technology is clearly offering many solutions to gather people online — and we should not ignore them!
This is the perfect time to start strategizing community initiatives and grow our ability to progress within collective spaces.
Need help? Let’s talk!
IT’S A REAL OPPORTUNITY!
Investors Are Watching.
Lolita Taub is the Co-Founder and General Partner at The Community Fund (TCF).
She writes that “TCF’s mission is to leverage the power of our incredible operator-investment team to invest in community-driven future unicorns”.
In this article, she explained that community-driven projects are attracting investors’ attention because they are more likely to experience financial and business growth by activating organic customer attraction through people-oriented strategies.
“Community-driven companies are faster growing due to their passionate members and sticky products, they have better gross margins because engaged users support others and engage in sharing product feedback, and these businesses have lower operating and sales costs from that marketing/sales flywheel I mentioned above. All of this leads to a far superior P&L and higher multiples”.
Another interesting perspective on community and investments comes from Burda Principal Investments.
BPI has shared an article about how social purpose companies entails “inherent competitive advantages that help social purpose start-ups thrive”, one among which is about “Turning customers into (vocal) champions and propelling a community”.
A recent article that appeared on Fortune announced that Duchess Meghan Markle has made her debut as a startup investor.
In an interview, she stated that “This investment is in support of a passionate female entrepreneur who prioritizes building community alongside her business”.
This is yet another good reason to invest in community-building strategies, and important validation for the value and the potential ROI of community-building work.
IT’S A HUMAN-ORIENTED APPROACH.
“Customers”? “Users”? “Target Audience”? Community!
It’s 2021 and people are tired of being addressed as “customers”, “users” or “target group”.
We are slowly but steadily surpassing the era of “customers” and “users” and “targets” and finally realizing that people don’t like to be tagged with technical labels.
Business-oriented terms and perspectives dehumanize people and give them good reasons to turn their back to those brands that don’t understand the importance of community-oriented strategies.
What people like is making meaningful experiences of the brand that they buy from, being part of something bigger than a sales funnel and being seen (and treated!) as real humans with values, and not just like numbers.
A community mindset facilitates the shifting from treating people as cold categories to involving them in the business as real humans by strengthening the trust-building process.
Community-oriented approaches provide businesses with a more effective framework that helps interact with the people involved with their brand through a peer2peer and collective attitude.
This process often results in actual business growth driven by organic engagement strategies and authentic relationship-building that boost the attraction, retention and stickiness of the “customers” and the “audience”.
Community Marketing is becoming A THING!
If you’re still not convinced about how crucial the role of community-building is, then let me tell you this: community marketing is becoming a real thing and slowly replacing (or at least consistently accompanying…) content marketing.
Community marketing is a new space but it already offers an interesting opportunity for exploration and innovation.
“Community marketing is a strategy that involves forming an engaging brand presence in order to interact with a community of existing customers” (source).
Brands are looking for new ways to create organic engagements, client acquisitions and sales approaches that stand out within a very saturated and noisy market.
A marketing strategy based on strengthening community values is going to meet people’s needs for connection, purpose-driven experiences and a new sense of trust in what they buy from.
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