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What is an online community?

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 19 March 2020 4:10 PM CAT

Simply put, an online community consists of a group of individuals representing either themselves or organizations, brought together through shared interest.

They may be action or advocacy groups looking to drive social change, professional communities engaging to enhance their professional experience, communities created around causes or circumstance such as safe neighbourhoods, etc.

But let’s not confuse online communities with large public social media platforms. Communities built with clear strategic intent are generally smaller private communities that are member-based.

On public social media networks, the user may spend time while the members of private online communities are often intent on investing time with a purposeful mindset, seizing the opportunity to engage with a specific organization’s community for personal growth or professional growth.

What truly defines online communities is a strategy that drives engagement and behaviours.

Online communities are built for co-creation, ideation, an understanding of an audience and accelerated efficiencies. They provide the digital environment for two-way conversations and they deliberately omit the chance for vanity metrics such as ‘likes’.

Online communities bring causes, brands, programmes and projects closer to their audience where listening becomes a highly valued asset.

This is the first of many short articles to support your mission of true community and customer engagement.

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