How to engage community of your customers

If you have a customer community, you already have an incredibly powerful tool at your disposal with which to engage customers in an era where our customers hold the power, don't want to be marketed to, and want to be engaged with in a personal and authentic way.

Listen, Learn, and Engage -  Steve Lucas in his book, Engage To Win” define this three-step process to create and deliver the kind of engagement your audience expects. And if you stop to think about it, a customer community is the ideal setting for all three of these. Here's why:

First, pay attention to your audience

Now that we are firmly established in the Engagement Economy, it is imperative that we all reach out to our customers with relevant information wherever they are. One of the many places where your customers are is a community. Visit them there and pay attention to what they have to say. You'll be astounded by what you discover!

I've been a part of many groups without a sense of community. I frequently had to invest a lot of money and time in qualitative and quantitative research when I wanted to listen to my customers. Although research can be an excellent tool, it only records customer feedback once. In a world that is changing at a breakneck pace, that is a problem. Literally, what was effective yesterday might not be effective or relevant today.

You can continuously listen to your customers through a community as they develop and change. You can start with a moderated group on a social platform like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. or your own community on your website. When you have a community, pay attention on what are they discussing? What phrases do they use to express their aches and pains? How are your goods or services being used by them? What do they wish they could accomplish with your offering? It's amazing how much you can pick up by just listening.

Many startup product managers devote a certain amount of time each week to their community where they monitor the queries and concerns that their customers raise and how they interact with one another.

Step 2: Get Customer Feedback

Consider what you've just heard in relation to yourself and your business. Take something away from it. Develop insights you can communicate to everyone in your organisation. Insights that will influence how you interact with your clients.

Letting your customers and prospects take the lead is crucial to learning from them. This is not the time to promote yourself, pretend that your customers adore your new product when they obvioulsy don't, or try to convince yourself that you are the expert on customer needs. You will not be successful if you do that. Your failure will be caused by your customers' lack of relevance.

In fact, research done by Meta in 2022 showed that 75% of B2B customers think that brands need to know a lot about their needs in order to work well with them.

Engage Your Community in Step 3

Your customers have been heard. They've taught you something. Time to move. Take the knowledge you've gained and begin to actively participate. I've learned a few things about connecting with customers in our Pensil Community, which I'll list below:

Everyone should participate: This cannot be accomplished by you alone. You won't succeed. Most of your organization, if not all of it, must support you. Everyone must read what their clients are talking about.

Content is the King: A community's quality depends on how current and valuable the content is that is made available to users, whether it be events, documents, discussions, videos, or blogs.

Be genuine: You don't need to know every solution. For instance, when a customer asks me how to do something if I dont know, I reply, "I don't know, but I'll look into it." And read more about the subject and try and help them with whatever I could gather. I also get to learn new things.

Create advocates: Finding and nurturing brand advocates can be done in your customer community, which is a great place to start. Acknowledge them for their contribution which inspires more to come forward.

Continuous Improvement: Your community is a dynamic, thriving entity. You will constantly look for ways to enhance the community to better meet their needs if you are truly attentive to your customers. Based on our research, we often suggest our customers in simplifying the structure and organization of their community.

It's loud and clear! Every person in your firm, regardless of the department they work in, can gain from spending some time listening to what the users of the community have to say. Everyone in your company benefits from this "outside-in" approach in this way. And having this viewpoint is essential if you want to succeed in the engagement economy.

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