Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Can You Build A Community?

Most of the companies are dreaming about creating their own community thanks to the new social media. Hence, there are many reasons why they would like to interact with such a community:
  • A community is a group of involved customers that would be the ambassadors of the brand
  • They know the products and could be used to improve products or identify new products defects
  • Having a community is a new medium which could provide a high return on investment during marketing campaigns as they have an emotional bond with the brand.
Therefore a lot of companies are embracing the idea of creating a community. Now that the hype has gone by, some people are wondering now if it is possible to build a community.

That is the question Loic Lemeur asked on his blog.

What is for sure is that building a community is not an easy task. We have already discussed about this topic on this blog.

In fact, even though you are a big corporation and you already own a great data base of customers, that doesn't imply you will be able to set up an active community. Indeed, the most difficult task is to get your community active. If someone has subscribe and entered its contact information, it doesn't mean his going to come back on a regular basis, nor to become a user and interact with the brand.

That is the reason why I believe any kind of community creation should be associated to a social media plateform like Facebook, in order to get people that participate and that would actually use your community, versus creating your own private community.

As a matter of fact, some brands struggle to generate a community for two main reasons:

- First, because most of the time they are creating a community which is a copycat of Facebook or a blog platform, that wouldn't create no added value to customers.

- Secondly, building a community requires time. Of course, if you are a big corporation, you could always leverage your customers' data base, and have a great marketing campaigns which would generate you leads, but a community needs to be active. It isn't a sprint but more like a marathon, and therefore it isn't an efficient way to create a community.

The key is therefore developping an added value service that will provided a daily service, which will create bonds with the community.