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Community management is more critical than ever in helping businesses gain customers and integrate themselves into the daily lives of consumers. It’s also a huge liability if businesses ignore their customers and the communities that surround them.
What makes a community different from random groups of people standing near each other?
A community is an engaged and connected group of individuals in pursuit of mutual interests or a shared commonality. This is why one of the key objectives for community managers is to increase and drive engagement. First, you have to know what brings people together.
Here are five of the most common motivators for a person to join a community:
Communities often form amongst those who share a common sense of self. For example, members of alumni groups share a past at the same college or university. This experience shaped their identity as alumni. They join alumni groups to connect with people who share this identity.
People seek a sense of purpose by working to achieve something important on a grand scale, ranging from social causes, like ending poverty, or in the form of political action, such as getting a certain party elected.
Groups like the American Cancer Society gather members around the purpose of curing cancer, uniting members shared experiences and by providing support.
These communities strive toward very specific and tangible goals, although these goals do not necessarily have to be all numbers driven.
Business Network International (BNI) is the world’s largest business networking community. Members participate to gain referrals for their respective businesses and find “win-win” scenarios for each other.
A shared passion for a specific hobby or activity also unites individuals, for example those who practice a sport, dance, or engage in one of the arts, like theater or comedy.
Nike Plus has built a huge network of running enthusiasts globally around a common interest through a branded motivational platform. As a result, those involved engage with Nike every single time they go for a run, creating a sense of brand loyalty that’s incredibly valuable.
Frequently, motivational systems bring people together, by using the power of accountability and a peer reinforcement model to reach goals. People involved in these communities have behaviors that are impacting their day-to-day lives that they want to change. Members can replace their previous behaviors through the support and guidance of the group and its community leaders.
Weight Watchers, with a daily points system and weekly group weigh-ins, enables members to hold each other accountable and celebrate with each other as their numbers on the scale go down.