Building Community (or, the New Face of Marketing)
"The main goal behind social media tools is to build “community."
In previous articles, Linda illustrated how to use various social
networking tools such as Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, LinkedIn and
Posterous. While many other tools exist that can be used by the
designer and/or programmer, at some point the user might consider why
these tools are necessary in the first place. Building community is one
answer, and the answer is deeply integrated with marketing for many
If you answer the questions in the "Who, What, When, Where, Why and How" section, you may discover that you don't want to create community as much as join a community. The former takes time (which you volunteer), focus, planning and commitment. The latter merely provides you with an opportunity to volunteer and to commune with others.
In either case, you are joining a revolution in how to market your goods and services as well as becoming part of a network that has the same goals and purposes as you've outlined for yourself. Remember that none of these commitments are set in stone:
· You can join and leave a community at any time and for any reason.
· You can create a community that doesn't work, and sometimes it might be best to dissolve or abandon that community.
· If you do either of the above, however, you might think about writing a little farewell message that outlines your reasons for abandoning the project so you don't appear flighty or untrustworthy.
In the next article, I'll point to several options that may help you to build community in a focused atmosphere. If you do not want to build a community for any reason, then you can use these tools to find communities that fit your agenda. In the meantime, here are a few links that talk about building online communities:
· Hosting: Online Moderator Guidelines and Community-Building Tips: This article talks about hosting community at the WELL, but points are well-taken across the board.
· How Community Building Boosts SEO: Lee Odden at Online Marketing Blog talks about how building community can boost your SEO factors.
· Community Building and Social Networks: This is a forum where folks talk about issues related to starting and growing online communities and user-driven Web sites.
Linda Goin carries a B.F.A. in visual communications with a minor in business and marketing, and an M.A. in American History with a minor in the Reformation. While the latter degree doesn't seem to fit with the first two educational experiences, Linda used her 25-year design expertise on site at archaeological digs and in the study of material culture. Now she uses her education and experiences in creating social media environments.
Accolades for her work include fifteen first-place Colorado Press Association awards, numerous fine art and graphic design awards, and interviews about content development with The Wall St. Journal, Chicago Tribune, Psychology Today, and L.A. Times.