Marketers: Start Turning Your Attention to Online Communities
Yes, using Facebook to promote your message has become standard protocol among marketers. But the white noise encapsulated within the bland white-and-blue walls of Facebook has made it difficult for brands to reach out to their audience, even as the social networking giant builds a more accurate ad targeting system.
In part due to new business relationships, finished projects and future projects, Duo Consulting will turn a portion of its attention to the world of online community—a form of social media that melds elements of social networking and traditional community to cater to a narrow, targeted audience.
The growth of the online community stems from a different perspective on the interactive potential fostered by the web. In fact, a social network usually deals with people you’ve already had direct interactions with, while online community tends to foster network discovery based on focused interests.
- A social network is a map of pre-established interpersonal relationships where members communicate and share personal and interest-based information.
- An online community is a collection of unique members who interact based on the interest of the community, unassuming of prior interpersonal contact between members.
These are quick definitions we’ve put together based on research and thoughts from Michael Wu, principal scientist of analytics at Lithium Technologies, and deep discovery we’ve undertaken on our own.
An online community can be a data mine of audience information, a direct marketing & advertising channel, a professional networking tool, a way to stay on the cutting edge of the industry and much, much more. As a result, we’ve seen plenty of big brands like American Express, IBM and Bloomberg embracing the concept of online community. We’ve also seen entrepreneurs and other enthusiasts take their love of business, hobbies and passions to the next level.