Updated: Dec 21, 2021
60% of businesses across the globe have built their online communities.
Are you planning to be part of this 60%?
Online communities, like social media, have changed the way business is done. Brands now find themselves embracing an underlying strategy of maximizing online opportunities through third-party platforms. This utilization enables companies to connect, engage and build deeper relationships with their customers, collaborators, employees and partners. It provides an occasion to build a conversation around their brand and similarities.
This can be the case for your cafe, too.
What is an online community?
An online community is a gathering of people who interact, collaborate and share insights founded on common goals and interests. These days, you are likely to see brands of companies who invest time and effort in building communities on social networks.
As long as the approach for content is driven in alignment with the branding, business objectives and audience requirements, online communities have a strong case to use as to why businesses like yours should adopt it.
Still not convinced? Here are the top five reasons why you should build a strong online community.
1. Increase your brand’s retention and engagement
Even with our previous articles, we can’t emphasize the importance of engagement enough. People are naturally drawn to cafe brands that they can connect or relate to. Like we have always emphasized on our previous articles, engagement drives customer loyalty. And with loyalty comes retention - the best form of marketing your cafe can have.
Coffee lovers also like to know that their concerns and ideas are being heard. Even if their suggestions are not necessarily materialized, they will be more loyal to your cafe when they know you’re one with them and that you’re listening.
In online communities that influence 16% or more of a company’s revenue, 64% have strong community engagement. In contrast, communities that influence less than 15% of a company’s revenue, only 26% report strong engagement.
Some cafes rely on third-party platforms like Facebook Groups, Discord, Clubhouse and more to maintain engagement with their customers. You have the freedom to do branded or non-branded (one where you only actively participate) groups.
2. Gain feedback on your coffee
Online communities provide an avenue for your customers to tell you what they want, how they feel about your cafe’s ambience and how your coffee and food taste. It also enables you to understand key points for improvement which in turn, gives you menu enhancement ideas.
Traditionally, most companies would spend on getting customer insights through surveys, market research and cold calls. Not only are these expensive and time-consuming but they’re outdated. True enough, these marketing efforts pay off but you can get the same result by creating an active online community in the channels we mentioned because you communicate with the consumers directly.
As a budding cafeprneur, you are more likely to learn from your customers by talking to them.
This is how you know that you are employing customer-product innovation and insights.
3. Promote your other products
First, start a conversation. Then, promote.
The reach for a single Facebook post on a timeline is actually less than 3% of your total followers. When you have or are part of an online community, you belong to a virtual marketplace where you can promote your cafe directly to consumers. Since the level of engagement is high in third-party platforms, you are likely to be communicating with actual and actively paying customers.
This can also be an ideal customer acquisition strategy for your business.
4. Create an enhance overall impression for your cafe
It doesn’t get any better than this. When your prospects or budding coffee lovers visit an online community that you created or are a part of, they’ll be able to read positive comments that highlight or recommend your cafe.
It also comes with customers' concerns on product and service but when addressed quickly and publicly, the concerns are easily addressed. This creates a butterfly effect in which by reacting fast, a positive association with your brand is maintained.
Your cafe brand also benefits from the enthusiasm and support of customer advocates.
What makes online communities effective?
An effective community meets your business needs and improves the experience of your current and prospective customers. This is a product of a careful understanding and investigation of your audience’ needs. The results should align with your targets for your cafe.
Because communities are not self-sustaining, it is up to you and your team to create an engagement strategy to maintain communications. When you successfully do so, you are evolving the community experience for your members or the people you are interacting with.
Online communities provide the avenue for your cafe business to foster real and meaningful relationships with your customers. They allow you to subtly sell without the sell factor. Conversations come across organic and not forced making your brand more approachable.
After all, people buy from people.
Did you know? 18% of participants in a recent study shared that over 30% of their organisation’s revenue is influenced by their online community.
Indeed, building groups on platforms like Facebook, Clubhouse and Discord has since become an ideal part of creating your marketing plan. They go beyond a mainstream timeline or feed post efforts. These communities reach the internal and external audiences to get you to your desired results.
Where should you begin?
If you have now decided that taking advantage of the benefits made possible by a community is the right approach for your business, talk to us.
Rossi, B. (2015). 5 reasons why businesses should build a strong online community - Information Age. Information Age. Retrieved 8 June 2021, from https://www.information-age.com/5-reasons-why-businesses-should-build-strong-online-community-123460595/.
Davidson, J. (2021). The Benefits of Creating an Online Community | 7Summits. 7 Summits. Retrieved 8 June 2021, from https://www.7summitsinc.com/resources/benefits-of-creating-an-online-community/.