Shopify Ecosystem

How To Build Community Without The Metaverse

how-to-build-community-without-the-metaverse

As the metaverse continues to grow and brands begin designing marketing strategies that align with it, it’s important to remember that social media is not the only approach to community-building.

The most vital reason for not only using social media platforms to build your brand lies in the fact that you won’t be building a community where it can produce the most business value. Hence, it is of the essence that you build your brand community closest to conversion. So if not social media, then where? How else can you effectively build and engage your community? 

Channel-agnostic marketing can help you build and engage your community outside of social, ultimately paving the way for a more efficient ecommerce strategy.

Key Challenges in Building a Community With The Metaverse

Instead of directing target audience members solely to your social media profiles, you should show off community and loyalty on your ecommerce website. You need to make shoppers want to be a part of your booming community. Moreover, focusing community-building on your website eliminates some of the ambiguity and restrictions imposed by social platforms and their algorithms. Plus, you can design your ecommerce website to match your brand’s style and values to a T.

Advertising on the Metaverse will be a completely different ball game. New mechanisms of interfacing, crypto-based economy, and a decentralized structure present new challenges that brands will continue to face as they adapt to a changing landscape. Furthermore, the Metaverse may become heavily saturated with brands hoping to hop on the hot new trend. While you’re brainstorming your own brand’s approach to the metaverse, there are some steps you can take now to build community outside of social media.

Channel-Agnostic Marketing

A channel-agnostic, or omnichannel, community-building approach refers to effective two-way communication between the brand and the customer, irrespective of the channel. 

You tend to abstract your communication to the message that you want to deliver, and the people you want it delivered to. The channel that you want to deliver the message on simply depends on the preferences and needs of the customer. So while practicing channel-agnostic marketing, you won’t think in terms of how you want to deliver information, but rather along the lines of what information you need to make your customers aware of.

The means to building a community off of channel-agnostic marketing lies with three basic pillars of your digital strategy. These three elements work together to form a cohesive marketing mix. The three elements are:

  • Earned media – Refers to the exposure gained by a brand by any means other than paid advertising. User-generated content, any type of media created by consumers rather than your brand, is a popular form of earned media, and can promote word of mouth marketing.
  • Owned media – Refers to all the media owned by your brand. Any web property that is unique to your brand and is controlled by it lies under-owned media. In essence, earned media is the vehicle that gets you to the destination, i.e., owned media. Owned media includes websites, blog pages, and social media channels.
  • Paid media – The marketing that you pay for, is paid media. In essence, you use paid media to promote content in order to drive earned media, and direct traffic towards your owned media. Paid media includes all sorts of paid advertisements across all social channels. 

Building Community Beyond Social Channels

Here are a few ways to build your community using channels other than social media. 

User-Generated Content (Earned Media)

Consumers say that user-generated content (UGC) is 35% more memorable than other types of media. UGC provides the social proof that helps a shopper feel equipped with knowledge and confidence to purchase a product online. Additionally, it’s flexible; UGC can thrive beyond social media. From product pages to email to in-store displays, it’s a valuable asset to reuse on your most impactful marketing channels, social media included.

hylete email

Apparel brand HYLETE practices community-building in its email newsletters, showcasing a Pixlee TurnTo-powered gallery of UGC for viewers to explore in each email.

On-Site Displays

Showcasing community on your ecommerce website can be done efficiently and beautifully by using a CRM platform like Pixlee TurnTo to collect and publish community content. From UGC to influencer and ambassador content, the opportunities are endless for on-site galleries and carousels to show your product in action. Plus, Pixlee TurnTo’s shoppable gallery badges allow your site visitors to shop directly from individual pieces of UGC, creating a clear path to purchase.

seattle coffee gear shoppable

Seattle Coffee Gear’s on-site gallery of customer photos features a variety of its products, tagged in each image.

Ratings & Reviews & More

Don’t overlook the power of text-based customer content in community building. Ratings & Reviews coupled with a Community Q&A section helps your site visitors feel like they’re a part of your brand community because they’re able to easily read the experiences of people like them. 

Checkout Comments are also a powerful way to promote brand affinity; by asking buyers why they purchased a product from your brand, you’re showing genuine interest in their shopping habits while receiving useful data to improve your product selection and marketing tactics.

bobs red mill checkout comments

Bob’s Red Mill uses Pixlee TurnTo to collect Checkout Comments on its various products, and even goes so far as to showcase answers on its home page (in addition to specific product pages). 

Community-Driven Marketing Overall

Community-driven marketing refers to a brand’s connection with a specific community, where users can utilize a platform to communicate, exchange values, and create mutual meaning. The platform referred to in the above statement doesn’t necessarily have to be a social media platform. Here, since the power is in the hands of the community itself, there is a much more human connection formed between the brand and the community. 

Social media marketing is indispensable and will always be a key part of brand building. But by relying solely on social media platforms as the base for community building, you may be overlooking other opportunities for growth on other, less saturated avenues.

Special thanks to our friends at Pixlee for their insights on this topic.
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