(*reposted from my personal blog http://www.louisjvr.com)
The term online community is something that’s thrown around a lot these days… and legitimately so.
Creating community isn’t something new.
- Politicians have been doing so for centuries.
- Churches in my mind have always lead the way in this regard.
- Schools rely almost everyday on their communities for support.
- Brands are constantly trying to engender loyalty.
- Even the local hair salon depends on its community of customers to keep its doors open.
Not something new.
Enter the Internet, essentially a very flexible mass communication tool, at its core designed to create a network of connections between electronic devices, which behind each device sits a human being.
So, today people can use the Internet to do what they’ve always done before, create communities – only now referred to as online communities.
One thing the Internet did change though was the means and scale to which a person, organization or business can start, manage and grow their community of followers. Have the right message, get the right people to join, align the stars and the opportunity is their today for any community to scale to the likes of which its organizers never imagined. This guy realised this to great success.
To my formula, which to my mind helps a great deal in setting the foundation for planning online community:
Online Community = [Message + Internet(People + Interest + Organization)] x Marketing
(for the mathematicians out there: OC=[Ms + I(P+In+Org)] x M)
Thus, creating online community is a product of:
- Crafting a message (e.g. we create profitable websites)
- Using tools provided by the Internet (e.g. blogs, social networks, forums etc)
- To organize people and their interest in your message, vision, brand or business
- All supported by a pervasive marketing drive.
Testing this formula, in any situation if you ignore your Marketing (i.e. M=0), your community will diminish.
I’ve found this formula useful to add to your ROI report-backs as well.