Everyone’s talking about community. Brands are shifting strategies to demonstrate how much they care about theirs. Small businesses and nonprofits are being told that engaging with theirs leads to more sales and donations.
Not just hippie love
If you haven’t defined your community, you could be wasting a lot of time pulling the wrong levers.
Think about it. If you define community as everyone who follows you on Twitter, you’ll waste time tweeting with folks who will never buy and never tell others about your company. A little hippie love is nice, but it won’t pay the rent.
Sure, it would feel pretty great for me to claim that my community is over 14,000 strong. But I’d be lying myself and I’d be looking like a fool to everyone else.
The quickest way to define community
If you define community as the people you share common interests, resources and needs with, then you’re getting somewhere.
I like to keep things simple. Simple is easy to manage and easy to scale.
In my business, people who talk about what I do are like gold. And I do my best to treat them so. I promote what’s important to them. I retweet and share things that they want me to share. We go back and forth on Facebook, Twitter and comments about a number of topics – both personal and professional. The more I do this (and I’ve measured the hell out of this), the more they’ll talk about me to their friends.
So I define community as: People who are talking with me about shared needs and interests.
Is community conversation?
If someone is talking to you and about you, it means that to some degree you both matter. You become part of a community when you talk about what’s important to that community. But what about people who just read your blog and don’t comment? What about the Lurkers?
How do you define community?
About the author: John Haydon advises non-profits and small businesses how to implement inbound marketing strategies with the social web and social media marketing strategies. Follow @johnhaydon on Twitter.