Digital Community

Community building can be of a benefit to both customers as well as organizations. Community can be based around either location or a particular interest. Communities are characterized by the similarities among its members, by the differences between its members and its surroundings, and by the boundaries, which separate the community from the rest of the population.

Three qualities of community are tolerance, reciprocity and trust. Social networks are great tools for creating online communities. The common features of online communities are a shared purpose or common interest; participants’ interaction; user-generated content; the existence of clear boundaries that define the purpose and practices of the community and a unique communal culture.

 

 

There are two types of communities that are being leveraged in business: internal and external. The internal ones consist of internal stakeholders, while the external ones are composed of the communities outside the company, located at the social networks etc. In attempt to build a community, we can leverage the AIDA marketing model. It describes the stages in launching a new phenomenon, be it a product, service or a community. It starts with creating an awareness, continues with igniting an interest, supporting a decision and it ends with incentivizing an action.

Another important factor to include is the usage life-cycle of a software. The stages are as follows: unaware, interested, first-time use, regular use and passionate use. A digital as well as any other community must be based on two- way communication and exchange. Share communities now more often substitute corporations in providing information and services.

The power of pull is a new concept presenting the idea that companies shouldn’t draw from the customers what they want, but instead they should facilitate a community and allow customers to share opinions there. Company can then easily contribute from that.

As in the traditional meaning of community, in the online community we distinguish two meanings of the word. Digital community can be perceived either as an online space, where people meet, share and interact, or as group that is bound by a common interest.

The barrier between the interest stage and the first-time user stage can be solved by a simple graphic, showing how easy it is to sign up.

Clean Currents is a company, which operates in the Mid-Atlantic region. Their predominant focus is on providing electricity yielded from the wind energy. To promote themselves, they leveraged social media and incented a growth of a digital community. Members of this community advocate for the firm and spread the Clean Currents’ message.

Sephora builds its digital community on Facebook by regular cool offers that launch every Friday. That brings its fans regularly to their profile, looking for the newest original discount etc.

Why Social and Not Marketing Experience ???

This class first covered online micro and macro environment. Let’s take a look at it then. Microenvironment includes all the stakeholders. That is, just like in the traditional microenvironment, suppliers, customers, competitors and employees. All the issues concerning these stakeholders are pretty much the same as in the offline world. The difference comes with the interaction, as it happens online – new social media, networks and platforms are launching every day.

Macro-environment can be identified by using the PEST/LE analysis just like in any other business area. The PEST/LE factors are as follows: political, economic, social, technological, legal and ethical. All these areas have to be covered if a thorough analysis of macro-environment is to be carried out.

Now, what are the benefits of internet marketing? They are usually formulated as being Adaptive (can be changed at any moment); providing Real Time Data; having a possibility of a specific Targeting; having a wide Scope (a large variety of ever-changing tools); being capable of an instant Conversion (make a browsing visitor into a customer); being Proliferating (enabling campaign across variety of SM tools) and having an ability to Reach large numbers of web users.

Why is Social Media undergoing such a boom? Look at the word itself. Media – it provides digital places for publication. Social – it enables social interaction and sharing.

Marketer can LEVERAGE/ ENGAGE IN/ PROFIT FROM the online conversations. The ain magic behind the Social Media is the audience fragmentation. It creates communities, sense of belonging and incents interaction.

What does “Streisand effect” mean among the online community? It is an example of how nothing can be withdrawn from the internet. The more effort we put into withdrawing it, the more it spreads. Barbra Streisand demanded that her house isn’t included in a collection of photos of the CA coast. As a result, pictures of her house spread on the web so much, that it is no longer possible to track and delete them all.

What about some interesting example of SM in practice? In 2008, Starbucks launched an online platform called Mystarbucksidea.com. This interactive website has been used to generate customers ideas on how to improve the services Starbucks provides. Starbucks fans simply write their idea, which is then voted up or down by the other visitors. The most popular concepts are to be implemented by Starbucks itself. However, an article on starbucksmelody.com, which is a Starbucks fan blog, suggests that there are more cons than pros with the Mystarbucksidea site, one of the problems being frequent repeats of ideas.

Another example of utilizing Social Media strategy can be found with Dell Computer Corp. As described on socialmediatoday.com, Dell disposes of three SM initiatives – Social Operations and Service (customer service), Social Media and Community and Command Center. The Social Media and Community is a team providing SM guidance for the rest of the company through certificates and training at Social Media and Community University. The Command Center is a group of 12 employees who monitor social data across the globe in 11 languages. The interesting thing about Dell’s SM approach is that no single department is completely responsible for the SM of the company. Instead, there are teams that train employees and monitor data, but every single department is encouraged to utilize SM to do their jobs better.