How to make sure your brand dominates your local digital airwaves with community marketing in 2015 – Part I – the plan

In this series of blog posts I’m going to outline a social media marketing technique called Community Marketing that will allow you to become the number 1  agency in your local area in terms of digital impact.

By conquering the online space, you will be setting up your agency to succeed long into the future.

The benefits of this technique for you are:

  • provides a long term channel to generate new valuation leads and to market existing properties;
  • creates a network effect where the community engages with each other, so reducing the need for you to be actively pushing out content. This reduces marketing costs whilst maintaining momentum and impact;
  • increases local followers of your social media presences (especially influential ones);
  • locks local people in to your branded channels making it hard for competitors to intervene.

So, where does it start?

As with everything the first stage is the plan.

You need to create your Community Marketing Plan as follows

A community marketing plan is made up of five elements. You can often fit them on a single page:

1. Business Objectives

A defined set of business objectives that you want to achieve through community marketing.  It’s best to start with a single clear objective and then develop more later. A good one is:

“To ensure our brand is top of mind when a local resident looks to value and potentially sell their property”

2. Success Criteria

You then need to have your success criteria in place – how will you keep score whether it is working. It might be that you track overall number of valuation leads on a weekly basis or you aim to track the number that have come in as a result of your digital marketing efforts. For example when someone phones in to get a valuation you need to ask them how they heard about you.

“We will aim to get at least 2 new valuation leads per week via digital channels”

3. Resources

Finally in this section you need to put a stake in the ground over how much resource you are going to invest. Don’t forget to put a nominal value on your time – this will help you value the cost-benefit of various digital tools. A common mistake is that digital marketers value their time at 0 which is just not true. If you spent 40 hours a week on digital marketing there would be a salary to pay.

“We will spend 1 hour a day on digital marketing (£20 / hour) and a further £400 a month on digital advertising and tools”

4. Vision

Now it is time to set the vision for the community you are going to create.  This is a statement of how you would like the world to be. You might need to get creative and it will be very much a question of matching to your existing marketing thinking around who are your main customers.

Try to identify common resources, common concerns and the common good that your community would work together on. For example upkeep of a local park, support for a local school, improvement of amenity services, personal development and so on. If you’re in a well defined area it could be simply improving the quality of living in our area.

“Residents across {your neighbourhood} joining together to improve  quality of life in our community.”

5. Goals

From the vision you need to drill down to the goals you have for the community. While the vision stays constant the goals will change over time.

You need to define at least a goal for the community as a whole and one for each of the members. This will help you answer the question “what’s in it for me” that all prospective members of a community will ask. For example:

In 2015 we will increase the community to over 300 active members” combined with

“Members will become experts at finding the local services they need to maintain their homes”

So that’s the plan. Next week in Part II – The Spaces –  I’ll look at setting up your online community and the various tools and options for doing it.

 

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