Going Beyond Performance Marketing: How to Diversify From Facebook, Google & Amazon Advertising
Let’s face it. Most brands today are heavily dependent on Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
However, when it comes to ads and SEO, relying heavily on Facebook, Google, and Amazon to sell your products is not the most profitable — nor productive — way to grow your business. These tech giants control the major channels for your business, which means you’re essentially a commodity and you’re bidding for the customers they own.
Brands not only need to pay fees to sell on these channels, but they also need to set up bids for real-time auctions that determine which ads will appear when consumers search for products. And in the case that their algorithms change, brands may experience a drop in profits. Not to mention, there is no emotional connection between the brand and the buyer, meaning the brand will need to reacquire the customer the next time he or she is looking for a similar product.
Here’s an example. More often than not, people go on Amazon for generic products that they don’t have a brand preference for, such as storage bins. When someone searches “storage bins” on Amazon, they will most likely buy the first one they see as long as it fits into their price range and has decent reviews. In this case, the buyer is driven to whichever brand pays Amazon the most money. The relationship between the brand and the buyer is 100% transactional and it may just be a one-time purchase with the brand.
On the other hand, there are industry-leading brands that people are extremely passionate about and that every marketer is envious of. Brands like Instant Pot, Nike, and even Trader Joe’s have very loyal customers who not only support the business by continuously purchasing their products, but also help grow the business by recommending the brand to their own circles.
In this blog, we’re discussing how brands like those mentioned above freed themselves from relying on Facebook, Google, and Amazon advertising alone. So, what’s the secret?
Brand Community Is Key
Close your eyes and think about a brand that you love. You probably don’t go to Amazon or Google to purchase the product, whether it be clothing, cookware, bedsheets, and so on. You most likely buy it directly from the brand, because you’re passionate about the product line. This means the brand can charge you full price and own the data, communications, and relationship with you. Ultimately, third-party platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have no impact on your purchase.
Of course, every successful brand carries top-of-the-line products. But what allows them to climb to the top of the industry is their engaged community. A brand community is made up of at least 7 types of members, who can sway the preferences of their own audiences through their endorsement of a product. Building this type of brand preference is extremely important, as it is the quality that will make people lean more towards your products over your competitors’.
In addition, a strong community of advocates can boost your business by:
- Spreading word of mouth buzz and inspiring others to trust the brand
- Purchasing goods over and over again
- Giving important feedback that can be incorporated into future products
- Writing raving online reviews
- Sharing authentic content that can provide social proof
With a strong community, brands have a way to build a sustainable business independent of Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Here are 3 exemplary brands that have done so.
Instant Pot is a kitchen appliance brand that has built a cult following by connecting customers with each other and scaling its online community. Early on, the brand realized that many Instant Pot users were hobbyists who wanted to get the most out of the product or get creative with it. The company connected users directly via a Facebook group, where they answered each other’s questions — much faster than the company could have — and shared delicious recipes with one another.
From there, the group became a viral, word-of-mouth marketing tool. People became so passionate about their kitchen appliance that they started knitting sweaters for their Instant Pots and writing entire cookbooks dedicated to Instant Pot recipes. And as more and more users started recommending Instant Pot to their friends, the community grew bigger and bigger — as did the sales.
Nike has built its world famous brand by engaging with its community. The brand leverages social media to share experiences, answer support-related questions, and build relationships with its community of athletes, influencers, and everyone in between. On Instagram, Nike boasts 98.1 million followers largely due to the amazing content that it shares. The company frequently shares deeply personal and extremely inspiring stories from its community, such as this one about @wicked.la, an athlete whose passion has been fueled by Nike.
Wes Warfield, Social Media Manager at Nike, explains, “We want to be a part of our customer’s journey and a part of people’s real-life stories and if you buy our product, great. But buying from Nike isn’t entirely the point. We began to invest in people — the community — on social media because that’s where they are and that’s where they spend time.”
The brand’s community is so passionate that it no longer needs to rely on Facebook, Amazon, or Google to drive business. In fact, Nike recently announced that it will be pulling all of its products off of Amazon in order to own more of its customer relationships.
With its impossibly nice employees, amazing products, and affordable prices, it’s easy to see why Trader Joe’s has sparked a devoted following. On social media, Trader Joe’s engages its community by showcasing the newest seasonal products and providing behind-the-scenes looks at how certain products are made via its YouTube channel. However, the brand’s presence online is largely dominated by its loyal fanbase, who post about Trader Joe’s without even being asked.
At the top of its fanbase is Trader Joe’s influencers, who aren’t associated officially with the brand but have a dedicated following around their shared love of the grocery chain. Although these dedicated influencers don’t reap much material reward, their platform creates a space for conversations about what the best Trader Joe’s products are or what everyone’s cooking for dinner tonight. Fans engage honestly with each other and share tips about how to cook certain Trader Joe’s-branded items.
In addition, Trader Joe’s also provides community-based experiences in-store by supporting local produce suppliers and featuring local artwork at each of its locations! It may seem ridiculous that a grocery chain has such a passionate fanbase, but Trader Joe’s success is a testament to the true power of community.
Start Building Your Community Today
Stop relying on Facebook, Google, and Amazon to drive your business. Instead, build a community of brand advocates.
Create spaces for discussions, turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors, host in-person events, and build a buzz on social media. Through community-focused activations, you can build a passionate fanbase who will wholeheartedly support your brand, allowing you to get around paying fees and bidding for customers on Facebook, Google, and Amazon.