Community Marketing: How to Build a Successful Digital Community

A group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.
Seth Godin, US Author and Entrepreneur

The JCU Center for Professional and Continuing Education hosted a special lecture called “Community Marketing: 8 tools to build a successful online community” with guest speaker Tommaso Politano, Community Manager at Digital Yuppies and Partner of Studioplace on June 13, 2019.

Community Marketing lecture

Community Marketing lecture

Digital Yuppies is an online community of professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs with members in Italy and abroad. Studioplace is a digital communications and marketing agency based in Rome. Successful business cases in the company’s portfolio include Cambridge University Press Online Community, a platform for English teachers and professors in Italy to share teaching tips and materials, and, supporting the Italian Foundation for endometriosis with an active online community of about 14.000 women.

The lecture covered three main parts. First, the speaker presented an informative session on the difference between digital marketing campaigns and digital strategies. Digital marketing campaigns employ paid media (such as Facebook and Google Advertising) and aim at brand awareness, lead generation, and conversion. Digital strategies take advantage of unpaid or owned channels, such as online communities, to develop a sense of belonging, open communication among users, and long-lasting relationships with customers.

The second part of the lecture focused on a more practical case study. Tommaso Politano guided the participants in the process of building an online community from scratch and provided them with 8 tips. Politano said that online platforms like Facebook Groups, Gamification Forums and Reddit are the starting point. It is paramount to choose a very clear name, that is easy to remember. The following step is to connect the community’s core values to someone community members can identify with and be inspired by. The role of the community manager is also important as he/she is the moderator of the community’s discussions, asking questions, starting surveys, and checking posts interaction and engagement. Other tips that Politano gave were the development of a shared and recognizable language (i.e. hashtag and emoji), avoiding misplaced advertising, and profiling of community members. Last but not least, the content shared within the group must be high-quality, original and captivating to make a winning and active community.

The last part of the lecture included a practice exercise where participants divided into three groups to develop an online community strategy for a company. Students and alumni presented three project works based on the tools mentioned above for a successful digital community and received professional hints from Tommaso Politano, who praised JCU students and alumni for their skills and initiative.