Community outreach is a mainstay for any communication department. Keeping an open line between you and your surrounding audiences is a strong tactic for bolstering public opinion, transparency, and mitigating damage during a crisis.
Thus, it should come as little surprise that companies, big and small, are turning to the digital arena for community engagement that goes beyond the typical swarm of Facebook and Twitter updates. Today, we aim to provide you with three digital communities your business can’t afford to ignore.
What are digital communities?
Just like the name implies, they are people who have come together on the internet because of a similar lifestyle or hobby. These communities can be as small as a few dozen people, to numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
Why are they so important?
As interested people, these aren’t typical strangers. These are people who have congregated specifically because they share common interests in something—assuming you’re interested in them, it’s your industry that they’re interested in.
Because of this, they can be extremely easy to move through the sales funnel… or extremely difficult, depending on how you choose to interact with them. They can just as easily be advocates against your brand as they can for it. And if you're of the mind that believes anything involving digital strictly means that you're only going to find Millenials to talk to... think again.
Where are they?
Well, we’re glad you asked.
The self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet” has lived up to its title. With a story beginning around Aaron Swartz, rife with drama and intrigue, Reddit is a sort-of open source news feed.
You may have heard of this site in passing before from different media or news outlets, but Reddit has remained as one of very few sites that’s retained its form and function over time.
The unique quality that Reddit offers its users is the ability to create what are called subreddits—forums where people can post pictures or write toward a certain topic. These forums can be, and mostly are, moderated by other users so that only relevant content is kept where users can view and engage with others.
For instance, Nest, the home automation company best known for their thermostats, takes an active interest to the HVAC subreddit. So much that they actually have an employee on-hand to answer and discuss any problems a confused user might have about their products.
This type of interaction with your audience is the type that will evoke a truly delighted response from your customers. Being there to help them with their problems and answer questions gives your company a real, concrete voice. Subreddits are so pervasive that even Paducah has their own. Check it out!
Twitch is a broadcasting service that has cropped up in the past couple of years. As you can tell from the front page however, they have marketed themselves toward gamers and e-sports.
While those markets are indeed full of proven potential for the right companies, it is incredibly niche.
However, Beau Dodson, a local meteorologist in our area, has taken to the platform in order to broadcast live radar images to people who either do not have traditional access to such information or simply prefer the visual.
These live broadcasts also offer a chatroom that can let broadcasters interact with viewers in real time, and for bigger channels, offer subscription services! For the right brand, it has the potential to open up a revenue stream for next-to-nothing in terms of cost.
3) LinkedIn Groups
Sometimes, a little bit of clout can go a long way. If you’re working in the professional world and not using the Groups feature on LinkedIn, you are missing out on the conversation.
There are groups for almost every different kind of industry at your disposal. Not only groups, but LinkedIn’s Pulse feature can be quite useful not only for reading what others have to say, but publishing your own valuable content that others can read. As a content distribution system, LinkedIn excels in having a wide, ready-to-read viewership in the form of people just like you—professionals.
There’s so much more to these communities and what they can offer you than what can be fit into a simple blog, especially LinkedIn. If you’re interested in maximizing your potential through their social media outlet, look no further than our own free LinkedIn guide! You’ll be a superstar in no time flat.