What is a community?
I was widely exposed to the term community during my sociology BA at Tel Aviv University. I couldn’t get enough of the absorbing articles and research that dealt with social groups of various types.
How are social groups created and formed into a community? How do their members communicate with each other? How do communities overcome challenges and thrive? All of those, along the advancement in the field thanks to technology, are fascinating.
What makes a community?
A community is a unified body of individuals / Merriam-Webster dictionary
According to the sociological definition in Wikipedia,
A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as norms, religion, values, customs, or identity. Communities may share a sense of place situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms.
Communities, in my eyes, are an inherent human need dating back to the beginning of history.
No matter where we look on earth, we can see how communities are created and developed. Moreover, the internet revolution and the new technological platforms have opened new opportunities for us. The ability to connect and unite as a community with people from around the world is nowadays more accessible than ever.
There are communities built around a specific service or product such as video games or online communication platforms. We can find professional communities like marketing experts or graphic design forums. There are internal-organization communities as employment or alumni, and communities that develop from a geographical location like a neighborhood. There are even communities where the relation between their members is based on a common habit, such as cooking and baking.
Why do I need a community now?
Beyond the human need, communities in the business world bring many advantages to their company or organization:
In a customer community, we could increase the sales, profitability, or market share through increasing the familiarity with our customers’ audience. We can also create a closer relationship and ensure customer retention. That’s key to helping businesses thrive.
In a product community, a community around a service or physical product that unites the product users, we, as a company, allow an open dialogue between us and the users, and between the users themselves. Instead of giving them a narrow role of end-users or customers only, the community enables a more open acquaintance with the users. It turns them to an integral part of the product development, lets them suggest solutions to bugs, and enhance the brand through super users — the brand ambassadors.
In an internal-organization community, we preserve the employees and create loyalty to the company through increasing employee engagement, creating deep connections and mutual knowledge-sharing.
In an alumni community of organization, we benefit from our alumni’s reputation, by recruiting and preserving our members. This helps establish our brand, as successful alumni serving as ambassadors and representing a symbol of success outside the organization. Additionally, encouraging knowledge-sharing and creating programs where alumni serve as mentors in internal projects, will improve the knowledge and proficiency of the organization as a whole and preserve loyalty.
In a professional experts community, such as a lawyers community, we profit from a commercial activity of the existing community members and recruitment of new members. This will be executed through mutual knowledge-sharing and highlighting the community members activities. Moreover, once the community leaders will continuously specialize in advanced knowledge and tools related to the community expertise, they could deliver it to the rest of the community members, which will lead to further specialization.
I help you create your community, develop it, and strengthen your relationship with your members, whether it exists on the web or in the real world. Together, we create strategy, understand the audience and the community goals, choose a platform, think of suitable content, and more. I guide you in all the stages of building the community and help you scale it, solve dilemmas, and preserve your members. Want to learn more? Let’s talk.