Town Square - Building Places for Your Tribe to Hang Out

The magic sauce of your marketing is figuring out how to create the version of Where the Cool Kids Hang Out that suits your brand. Malls are starting to get obsolete, but in their heyday they represented the pinnacle of genius in creating a sense of belonging to a cool crowd. You didn’t visit the Vans store because you needed a pair of shoes. You visited the Vans store because that was one of the things that your tribe did. You could see people of your type there, and you could share stories with them.


One of the highest human needs is the need to take part in stories.


Your challenge, as somebody putting together a marketing scheme, is creating spaces where people can join the conversation that your brand is already part of.



You need gathering places for your tribe. These will be places where your tribe can get news about you, where they can interact together, and where they get to show off their tribal colors.


In the realm of digital marketing, these will be virtual.


They can be things like…

  • Social Media Pages – Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

  • Your blog

  • Your website, if it’s designed to support interaction

  • Whatever platforms suit your brand best, and the like

When built and optimized right, these virtual Town Squares will become your Vans Store at the mall. Your tribe will come to shop, yes, but they’ll also come to just hang out, because that’s what the rest of their tribe are doing. That’s where they get to connect with the cool crowd.


In the case of Kristina, Resident Mama at Calm-a-Mama for a few years, the challenge was two-fold: the old 7-year old Calm-a-Mama packaging seemed to elicit tree-hugging hippie vibes (nothing wrong with that, Kristina claims to have that as one of her traits)...BUT they figured that working moms of every disposition could use botanicals and organic products that ease stretch marks-- you know,


And the bigger challenge: The Tribe had moved on...their kids were 4 to 8 year olds now, and they had less need for what Calm-a-Mama was about. So she built a brand new one. This new tribe gave UGC willingly, lovingly, to the tune of 450 banners a month, without paying any influencer the fabled 10,000 per 3xpost kinda thing. Book Digital Sushi 101 Workshop with her (plus maybe the "Building a Tribe Workshop" and learn all this in real-time, not via 10 million video tutorials and eBooks. LIVE. Like you can ask her anything.

Back to our #ThinkTankTactic of The Day:


What are you showcasing in your Town Square?


  • Company and tribal news

  • Video content relevant to your brand

  • Blogs! Your blog might be your Town Square, but it might be you’re blog's hosted elsewhere and then connected to your "real domain blog". Both cases are cool.

  • Industry news and news about the market playground where you’re playing

  • Case studies, where relevant. Some of us need case studies more than others.

  • Webinars and content produced by business leaders. Again, where appropriate. And it’s a good idea to share stuff by people outside your company too.

  • Eye-catching visuals. A must.


Execute on your strategic plan


Brand Awareness


Building brand awareness is a whole playground by itself. We’re going to have a lot to say about that, so check back with us.


At its most simple, brand awareness will be driven by your ability to rep your brand. Make sure that you and your marketing team engage with your tribe in your Town Square with your brand values always before your eyes.


Key Metrics

  • Engagement

  • Comments

  • Post clicks

  • Page followers


Some other staffers will put Page Followers first, as if that’s your most important metric for success.


Followers is far from irrelevant. You need them, and more is better. But if you have a million followers and less than one percent engagement, then your marketing is falling down somewhere. Those numbers won’t sustain a strong marketing plan.


We think Engagement matters more.


Profitable Engagement


There’s magical data explains things like how long you want prospective customers engaging with your Town Square. Data analytics is a whole other science by itself.


What it comes to is this: every second you keep somebody on your page increases their odds of engaging in some profitable interaction.


So keep people around longer.


Key Metric

  • Inquiries and leads (where possible, include tracking codes within links)


Thought Leadership


You do not NEED to be an expert in any field to sell your stuff. More than likely, however, you will need to engage with a great many people, for better or worse, in order to make your sales figures.


That positions you as a person with a voice. Where appropriate, use your platform to participate in the playground where your business lives.


This places your brand in an appropriate cultural context, and that gives your tribe something to glom onto.


Key Metrics

  • Engagement

  • Comments

  • Post clicks

  • Page followers


FAST FACT


Pages Updates containing links can have higher follower engagement than updates without links.


Event Registration


Obviously, an easy thing to share in your Town Square. We love seeing that there ARE real things that our favorite brands host, even if we can’t always attend those things. It humanizes a brand to know that they’re hosting or visiting cool events.


Key Metric

  • Event registrants driven directly from your Page


Missions

  • Follow your posting schedule. Find some automation tools if you can. Schedule posts ahead of time.

  • Engage with page followers

  • Keep an eye on all your analytics. Most platforms are conveniently color-coded. Green is good.

  • Change significant images—headers, etc.—maybe every six months.


FAST FACT


A great way of engaging your tribe is featuring relevant content by other players in the playground. Other brands and tribe members are great sources of good content for your marketing.


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PERSEPHONE

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We now avoid the term "digital hacks". It's a long story as to why; but in a previous incarnation of our Think Digital Blog, this is what Persephone writes about: The deep dark secrets of digital marketing that they don't teach in Uni Classes or books. Expect Think Tank Tactics and how to Spring-Clean your content anytime of the year.

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MERCURY

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Have you heard the saying that "When Mercury is in Retrograde, everything descends into chaos"? This applies to calendars not syncing, Dropbox folders discombobulating and Logins not working. Mercury writes about Productivity Tactics and automation. He writes for Think Tank Tactics (aka "Knowledge Library") also.

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ATHENA

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In Greek Mythology, Athena was the Goddess of Wisdom and War. A wildly beloved guardian of knowledge, Athena is our #ThinkDigital Editor in Chief for Think Tank Tactics. She also writes about her decades of experience in Beauty and Global Strategy while Battling challenges in the deeper meaning of Diversity & Multiculuralism.