Why are social media communities important?

 Tags: innovation

Since time immemorial, human beings have lived in groups or tribes. As technology has progressed and, particularly since the inception of the Internet, our need to be in groups has moved to the online sphere. Social media communities meet this need and have existed since the dawn of the Internet. But are social networks the same as online communities? The quick answer is “no”. In the rest of this post, we are going to dive a little deeper and tell you everything you need to know about online communities.

An online community is a group in which people share their opinions and experiences about a particular topic. These interactions take place on digital channels


The features of online communities 


1. Geographical location doesn’t matter

Unlike tribes and nonvirtual communities, where the members of an online community come from is completely irrelevant.


2. Member roles 

The members of online communities are normally organised depending on the level of participation. There are: leaders (also known as community managers), who tend to suggest the topics to be discussed and set the rules for the community; moderators, who make sure that members respect these rules; contributors, who actively participate and make conversation, sharing their opinions and asking questions, etc.; and finally, there are observers, who read the whole conversation but don’t actively participate in it.


3. Digital channels

The geographical proximity of community members is of little importance. What really defines online communities is the use of digital channels. Online communities are therefore always connected to webpages or social media.


4. Sense of belonging

The sense of belonging that is created in these groups is of a similar level to or stronger than that of traditional groups of people.


Types of online community: which one should you use for your brand?

Now you know the main features defining online communities, we are going to take a look at the different types of communities that exist.

are social networks the same as online communities


1. Social media communities

Social media is one of the most common community types and include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other social media sites. Generally speaking, brands use social communities to meet their marketing goals, such as sharing news and increasing awareness about the brand. An additional advantage of social media communities is that they offer companies the opportunity to track the competition’s actions and identify the trends popular among their target audience. 


2. Knowledge communities

if your brand is focusing on knowledge sharing, this type of online community can help you connect to a wider audience and improve your authority within a certain sector. In these sorts of communities, brands can share knowledge, advances and other exclusive content.


3. Insight communities 

Insight communities are composed of carefully selected groups of customers that have had a long-lasting relationship with the brand. These groups enable companies to regularly gather high quality opinions, whether that be of their customers (real or potential), members or employees.This helps boost customer experience and enables the brand to develop successful marketing strategies. 


4. Expert and consultant communities

Expert communities are particularly well-suited to companies providing dynamic and up-to-date information. For instance, brands providing professional services and organisations with large numbers of members can use consultant networks to showcase the knowledge and experience of their consultants and advisers such as to start conversations with clients and prospects. This type of online community is an excellent way for companies to get in contact with well-known experts. 


5. Professional communities 

As its name suggests, professional communities enable individuals to share their work, experience and advice about a work-related topic. An example are discussion groups in LinkedIn where experts in specific areas (such as tourism) debate and share their knowledge and experience. 


6. Communities of interest

This type of online community is focused on the members’ shared interest. Generally, they seek to make appealing content that entertains and attracts members.

what is a community on social media


7. Communities of support

Communities of support are created to offer advice about a specific product or service to customers. A great advantage of this type of community is that it significantly reduces spending on customer service. 


8. Brand-promoting communities 

Brand communities get loyal customers (fans of the brand) to share their testimonials about and post on social media about the company, etc. They generally do so in exchange for discounts or gifts from the brand. 

As you have seen, every type of online community meets a different set of goals. You will therefore probably need your brand to have a presence in various types of communities. For example, you might have a corporate blog where you share relevant news, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page for more formal conversations and other platforms for surveys, forums and other conversations that bring value to your brand and your customers. Social media and online communities can take your brand to a whole new level. So what are you waiting for? Start putting everything you’ve learned in this post into practice.

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