Creating a Community, Part 1.
This week’s social media blog posts:
Monday: The two kinds of online consumers.
Tuesday: Creating a Community, Part 1.
Wednesday: Creating a Community, Part 2.
Thursday: Social Media you can own.
Friday: Giving up control.
(This is the ninth in our series of Social Media posts for the month of October. We look forward to your feedback on this series.)
Here we are, more than a week into this series on Social Media, and we’ve hardly bothered to utter the terms “Facebook” or “Twitter.” How can that be?
Basically, because up to now, we’ve been talking about the value of Social Media and the importance of adopting a platform that is helpful, transparent, user-directed and focused on the greater needs of the customer. The one thing that’s been missing so far is a network. Where does your community gather? How does its members get information to one another? How do you find people, reach them, and have them willingly pass your information on to others in their spheres of influence?
A community is a group of people with common interests who interact with one another. This can lead to feelings of solidarity, team spirit and a collective intelligence. Community leads to connections between people and products. The challenge is to interact in a manner that comes off as mutually beneficial. One way to involve your customers as a community is to make them “co-conspirators.” Insiders. Let them into your teepee. Proudly show them how sausage is made.
That is where social networks come in. Social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have millions of users and communities who use the social networks to connect with one another. Hundreds of thousands of communities already exist in these networks. The average Facebook user, for example, belongs to more than 2 groups.
The growth of these social networks has been phenomenal. Facebook alone had 300 million users as of September—up more than 100 million since April. And Twitter just passed the 1 billion views mark.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind when thinking about creating an online community or group:
- Make your content “Buzzworthy.” Ask, “is this something a lot of people would be interested in, or is it simply what I want everyone to know?”
- Investigate whether communities already exist that you can be a part of or take advantage of.
- Don’t limit yourself to a single platform, and make sure your content matches the platform.
Here’s an example of a brand that has been quite successful at building a community of its most impassioned users. The brand is Jeep. And the passionate Jeep owner wants to connect with others who feel the same way about their vehicles. So they use Jeep’s Facebook page as a gathering place where they can share pictures, swap stories and help one other source hard-to-find parts or answer performance questions.
By creating a place where its community can gather and share their passion, Jeep has also set up a framework where the bulk of the communication is between followers. These are the exchanges that over time build true brand loyalty.
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll provide an example of how you can use social sites to create a community from the ground up with your company at the center.
If you have any feedback on this or other posts, we’d love to hear it.
Posted by Mickey
- Creating a Community, Part 2.
- Social Media you can own.
- Your Social Media strategy: What are you hoping to achieve?
- Use Social Media to give your customers a seat at the table.
- Building Brand Evangelism through Social Media.