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Social networking communities are about promoting shared interests, shared lifestyles and shared aspirations.
They are, quite literally, built upon sharing relevant, engaging content. Curated content that helps connect members with similar goals, questions, or needs, whether those goals be lifestyle, knowledge-based, or consumer-related.
For brands hoping to build upon this idea of online community, the opportunities are endless.
Community technology, meaning web and mobile apps or platforms designed to build community around a brand, is becoming an increasingly popular method of boosting consumer engagement and retaining a loyal customer base.
Again, it all boils down to the idea of shared information, excitement and ideas surrounding a brand or family of products. If brands can give their target audience a reason to care enough about their product to spend time discussing it online and with their friends and family, awareness and visibility will automatically increase.
But, it's about more than sales. It is about tapping into a market where consumers want to feel a connection to what they buy. Whether that means buying from companies which have a positive reputation, or from those which they feel reflect a version of the person they are, or aspire to be.
Investing in your brand's community will pay off. Not only will your members share and re-post relevant information, creating a sharing circle getting the word out about your brand, they will also, hopefully, be motivated to join your online community because it will benefit them in some way.
For example, when H&R Block initially launched a community site which connected users with tax-related questions to professionals, over one million questions were answered, leading to a 15 percent boost in business.
With internet users spending more and more time using apps and engaging in networking and information sharing online, it is imperative to have more than a simple online presence.
Brands need to focus on a holistic approach to community technology which sets them up not only as a seller of quality products, but also as a company eager to engage with consumers through content, providing useful information and tools for members in the process.