If you’re one who has been working in the social media business for quite a while, you’ll know that business owners who are only starting to tap into the potential of using social media and social networks are concerned about a couple of things, mostly about:
- What are online communities? What should they do about them and what should they expect from them?
- Their previous failed attempts at working online communities. How come they were not able to attract a huge following as they expected before?
- What did they do wrong? How could they improve on their current social media set-up?
Some are learning, some have failed, while some have successfully utilized online communities to their advantage. What makes the difference? It’s understanding how online communities operate, what they can and can’t do for the business, and how to work with such organizations that cut it.
If you’re curious about key information regarding online communities, let me give you a few:
1.) Oftentimes, small groups of like-minded individuals lead online conversations. But don’t think for one second that online communities are only relevant to a small portion of the Internet populace. Most people prefer to read rather than participate. But even though they don’t actively talk in threads, they use what they read to guide their actions – scoping product reviews and recommendations as basis for online purchases, etc.
2.) In line with the above idea, you should start thinking that the Internet is a stage wherein the discussion is the play. Some people act in the play, while some people watch on the front row. The “actors” converse with other “actors” to inform and entertain the viewers.
3.) If you’re only going to count the active participants in the “play”, then you ‘re not fully utilizing the community’s potential. You’re not the only actor in the play, so to speak. Your active participants are fellow actors, so take good care of them. They’ll help you draw in more audience.
4.) Know that the Internet is the second largest source of product information – specs, support, troubleshooting steps, etc. – so don’t undermine the power of the information highway. If you’re one who sells gadgets, there’s a big chance that your buyers will visit your site for more information even after scanning through the user’s manual.
5.) Be aware of tiny details as they will matter in the long run.
- Google is the most trusted website in the World Wide Web. Coming a close second is Yahoo!
- Age demographics matter. Young adults use social networking sites more than adults, peaking at age 14 and decreasing as they age.
- Twitter and Tumblr are dominating the news, and as popular as major social media sites as MySpace (for music), Facebook (for social networks), and LinkedIn (for professional networks).
- Learn who dominates online forums. People from ages 22 and below are the dominant participants in the web, coming up with more than half of user-generated content and comments
Once you get a hold of key information such as what I’ve enumerated above, you’ll be able to better understand online communities and draft great plans on how to work with these organizations. You’ll find that the more you know about the online organizations you wish to attract, the easier it is to create strategies on how to draw them in and tap into the benefits working with them can offer.
Did I miss anything? Would you like to add your own ideas on this matter?
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