Case Study: How to grow an online community around your business

Rich Mix is a social enterprise and charity offering a place where the diverse communities and people of all ages living in east London can make and experience art. As well as workshops, art installations and educational programmes, we also have a multi-screen cinema and coffee shop.

Two years ago we began to focus much of our marketing activity online, and as a result we’ve seen a 26 per cent increase in traffic to our website  as well as an uplift of 10,000 extra cinema tickets sold in the last year.

Here’s how we’ve grown our online communities and how this in turn has been instrumental in bringing in extra revenue and customers:

Showing what we stand for

Our website is vital for us, and we specifically redeveloped it to incorporate more search engine optimisation. We chose because it demonstrates that not only are we a charity and social enterprise which reinvests all of our income back into our local community, but we’re of course based in the UK. We want customers who spend money at our cinema and in our coffee shop to know our story, to trust our organisation and the work we do. Our website helps us differentiate ourselves and demonstrate our position in the local community.

Knowing who our audience is

Through research we know who our key audiences are. Our online booking data provides us with insights about the types of people visiting our cinema and events. For example, our art audiences, particularly dance and theatre, come from all over London, while our independent films and family activities attract a more local audience.  We use these insights to tailor our online activity. Being aware of who we are talking to allows us to decide what to feature on our website, adverts, emails and social media channels and to be more relevant. 

Connecting with our community

In the past two years we’ve also concentrated on our social media activity, using competitions, exclusive news and offers, and regular quality content to reach out and connect with an engaged audience. We now have a community of more than 20,000 people, bringing in an extra 14,000 followers on Twitter alone. We also have a 30,000 strong mailing list, grown through data capture boxes on our website, booking pages, and social media activity. We regularly reach out to this mailing list with news about future events, special campaigns and fundraising.

Understanding where we need to be

We’ve also developed a Tumblr blog to showcase our activity, create content we can use throughout social media, and also improve our SEO and website ranking. We chose Tumblr over other blogging platforms because it’s where our young target audience is – it’s important you do your research and know where your customers are, and where they are not.


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