Why Community is Important in Social Media Marketing


Ninjas, gurus and other authorities in the arena of social media have been preaching about community and engagement since its inception, and rather than go into a discussion of Leonardo Di Caprio’s career or what the number 528491 means, I thought that, due to some news from a certain company based in Oregon, it would be apropos to give an example that any business can review, borrow or flat out use to its advantage.

The company being referenced is NIKE, Inc. – a company which has only recently adopted the technique of communicating with customers using the full suite of popular social media channels company-wide. While their lack of official presence in the social media world may have baffled some for a while, the one major understanding NIKE had (and has) is of the importance of community. Many of NIKE’s footwear have become must-have items in pop culture. Air Jordans, Dunks, Air Force Ones and the like have huge followings and when news of a new release is dropped, throngs of brand advocates show up to the nearest shoe store to become customers once again. Recent history has shown that the broadcast of such news has been through social media outlets by influencers, insiders and fans and now NIKE is positioned to distribute this knowledge directly.

To show off their newest digital presence in the U.S., NIKE has introduced Twitter RSVP to assist in the management of their product launches at physical, brick-and-mortar Nike Stores. Sneaker enthusiasts simply:

Those who respond within sixty minutes of said tweet are eligible and the footwear is awarded on a “first respond, first serve” basis. Confirmed recipients, then pick up their kicks on the day of the store launch at the specified timeframe in person and with proof of ID.

Do you see what they did there?

They’ve engaged their community using a particular social media channel, added a contest/goal-oriented atmosphere in order to gather response from the audience ultimately concluding with a sale. No, that was not a random amalgam of business related buzz terms—this is the purpose of social media marketing.

While it is true that many companies may not be able to see the ROI of their social media campaign as immediately as a company such as Nike, what we must look at is the process and how it works. The strength of this community is what made this campaign possible and social media is a great way to build a group like this. Through social media you can be empathetic with your community; you can listen to the good and the bad to make your product and experience better; you can further engage with insiders, enthusiasts and advocates. All of these activities help build trust in your brand and that is the most effective way for the sales process to begin. Additionally, these digital activities, along with your direct mail, advertising, face-to-face and other forms of communication bring something even more important to the table when done correctly: lifetime customer value—and isn’t that what we ultimately want?

I know I do.

The Nike Swoosh is a registered trademark of, owned by and the property of NIKE, Inc.