Building Communities: The Role of Social Media
Although online interactions and social media connections will never replace the feelings of warmth and goodwill we experience with real human engagement, the human race’s growing need for community is an area in which businesses and brands can start to create real impact, contribute to and benefit from.
Throughout the world, the way we interact with each other is increasingly occurring through a screen. The way we do business, socialise with friends, even the way we meet people is being conducted online. As a result, a large percentage of the population has begun to feel isolated and disconnected from the world. The key to creating meaningful connections is building communities.
How Do We Start Building Communities Online?
The question is: how do we define ‘community’, and how do we begin to nurture a sense of togetherness and mutual support online?
A community can be defined as a combination of geographical place; state of mind; or a sense of belonging that pulls different people from different worlds together; a common set of values and a shared belief system that bridges divides of geography and time.
Building a community is about more than simply growing an audience on a website or social media platform. It’s about nurturing a sense of trust and mutual benefit that comes from a real desire to be of service to those in your midst.
Now, more than ever, people are craving this sense of community, and brands and businesses increasingly have the power and the ability to create the online spaces where people can gather and share, connect and form a collective identity and in turn, be able to come together as a whole and have opinions and make choices they never could as individuals.
Brands, Remember to be Helpful!
Brands should aim to offer value to these communities. To be of service and offer this service authentically and in alignment with the values of the collective group. They should focus on creating trust, one of the cornerstones of community-building. This can be done by engaging authentically and being transparent about what they’d like to create as a group.
But why are communities, in turn, so valuable for businesses and brands? The reason is that business is changing!
Customers no longer just want to buy products. They are now more interested in buying into the values and ideals of the companies they do business with.
Creating engaged, loyal online communities provides a space for honest, reliable feedback, with a strong sense of brand loyalty; meaning your customers will choose to do business with you again and again.
The beauty of the internet and our highly connected age is that we have access to people, to opinions and to the communities we’ve never had access to before.
We’re able to reach out to human beings across the globe, connect with those who share common interests and passions, and debate with those who differ from us to come to a common understanding and empathy for each other.
Are You up for the Challenge?
In this pivotal moment in history, we’re giving brands and businesses access to our hopes and dreams, our secret fears and anxieties. We’re inviting them to bring us together across cultural and economic barriers we’ve never been able to traverse before. We hope they’re up for the challenge of building communities!