Communities have been under much discussion recently

Communities are good for us and good for business. But  social media communities like Twitter for example are under scrutiny; should that put us off?. Right now there seems to be a proliferation of trolling, abuse and radicalism. We’ve seen Milo Yiannopoulos banned from Twitter permanently. If you don’t know, he is a right wing writer. He is accused of fanning the social media attack on Ghostbusters’ Leslie Jones into a full blown conflagration. We also know that Twitter is making continued  efforts to take down extremist messages after major terrorist events. Twitter has also expanded anti-terror teams and closed down 125 000 extremist accounts from one group alone. Communities gather and hatred can escalate. Click To Tweet

Social etiquette or inflammatory rhetoric?

Social media is still relatively new, obviously. It appears social etiquette is being abandoned by many. You might think that’s a good thing, after all doesn’t ‘etiquette’ simply mask what is happening beneath the veneer? Yet we all know that abuse and inflammatory remarks tend to create a breeding ground for more extremist behaviour. Look at Trump’s acceptance rally in Cleveland. You could almost feel the crowd baying for blood. Personally I am mightily sick of his face on my timeline. Inflammatory rhetoric grabs the headlines. Should we be wary of communities? Click To Tweet It also stirs the blood. but many are looking for communities that reflect what can only be termed old fashioned values of empathy and personification where every person matters and is cared for.

With free speech comes responsibility

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communities are good for business

But of course, everyone should have the ability to articulate diverse opinions on social media. Although we have to remember this is not a universal right and each country uses these platforms in very different ways. Therefore it is difficult to generalize. However, with free speech comes responsibility, surely? No one should be targeted or abused online. What happened to the concept that you simply ignore what you don’t like? The incitement of targeted abuse or actually engaging in it is heinous. The reason why is that social media stalks you; it ‘gets you’ in your home and you never feel safe from it.

Are you sowing your business seeds in someone else’s garden?

We know that Twitter has had a profound effect on how news travels and is the stomping ground for many a journalist. My Twitter community is filled with exciting and passionate people who are incredibly generous with their time. I have interviewed many and written articles on the back of their views, achievements and ideas. However, like music before, we are likely to become more fragmented therefore we will inevitably gravitate to communities. We may even see the continued growth of walled gardens. This is where companies and organisations create specific areas for communities that think alike. These may be within social media, like groups, or outside of social media platforms. After all, why sow your seeds in someone else’s garden when they can change the rules at a moment’s notice?

Community is meta; watch it spread

communities are meta watch them spread

communities are meta watch them spread

In 2016 and beyond the concept of community is a major aspect in any company’s marketing. We no longer really differentiate between online and offline. Let’s remember, community is meta and is much bigger than any platform. That’s not fluff either. Communities will be a massive part of businesses and any that switches off to what people are saying will suffer. It’s inevitable that business will fete communities; after all it’s much easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one, so why wouldn’t you?

Are communities going to be our saviours?

your business community should be integral to your brand

your business community should be integral to your brand

The difference is the way companies are reaching out to people is changing Click To Tweet. Have you noticed that comments are being removed from sites? That’s not a bad thing. The interaction is moving towards communities on social media or elsewhere.

They are using more types of advertising, increasing how they broadcast but also tempering that with creating those micro moments or experiences that extend the boundaries of the customer/ business relationship. These are not add-ons. For the most successful organisations such as Nike Plus they really feel they are the community. They are the fulcrum around which everything turns. You will see more and more examples of advocates helping to create product, developing services and ensuring the mission statement remains relevant. People are involved for different reasons, it might be altruism or the hope of some reward. They may want to feel exclusive or an outlier. Here are 5 key reasons people join communities.

The bottom line is people love communities and they are great for business. Click To Tweet

We gravitate towards social units where we have a common denominator. That might be norms, values or identity and that sense of place that is often missing in contemporary urban environments. Collective connectedness is a goal for many and when governments don’t seem to be speaking for many then communities of like-minded individuals are their refuge. Think how businesses could have leveraged the Brexit fallout where people were flocking to groups to mourn they lost the vote. Personally I didn’t see much innovation around the debate.

85% of people would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience

Companies can also distribute an element of control rather than being afraid of public opinion and trying to bury criticisms. If you want your brand to last then you have to engage and develop the community and be at the heart of it. Some even say the future of business IS community. After all, good experiences grab customers every time. Click here to see how one company has done anything but listen to its community of passengers. The gap between intent and delivery is often massive. Interesting when you bear in mind that, according to Brian Solis’ research 85% of people would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience Click To Tweet. So where will you develop your community and where will it be?

Further Reading

What it takes to excel in community management’ .

X: the experience when business meets design Brian Solis

The importance of collecting feedback from your community

The importance of community

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