Social media strategies are an essential component of your media presence and in many cases, they revolve around developing an online community that surrounds your brand.
As your brand develops a social media strategy, however, it can happen that we spend too much time focused on developing our content and much less time in understanding our audience.
In this post, we’re going to discuss two very different community typologies, so that you may be better able to design a strategy that attracts and retains profitable customers.
On the one hand, we’re going to discuss passion communities, or groups of people brought together by a common goal.
On the other hand, we’re going to discuss life event communities, or groups of individuals who are connected by having to learn how to face a new, sometimes unexpected challenge.
With no further ado, let’s delve right into it.
What Are Passion Communities?
Passion communities are the type of communities we usually refer to as we build an online presence.
A brand builds its voice by creating content that resonates with its mission and vision, its value, and its purpose.
As a result, by sharing content that exemplifies its goals, the brand can attract like-minded individuals that feel connected to it.
Passion communities are widespread, and to some extent, they have been existing for a long time. As a result, it can be challenging to identify passions that have not been already targeted by existing media.
So what characteristics define passion communities?
- They address subjects that we are personally interested in. We don’t have any specific challenge to overcome, we join these communities because we want to connect with people who share the same interests.
- They allow participants to connect to the newest and hottest trends in that space. We may have nothing we need to buy, but we still want to know about what is new and what is trending.
- They allow for peer-to-peer conversations to exchange opinions. In these types of communities, users engage in conversations with each other, as there is no particular hierarchy, but just a same-level relationship between members.
Pros and Cons of Passion Communities
As a result, we can see how for your social media presence developing a community of this kind can lead to benefits but also to some challenges.
Pro. An audience that shares a passion is definitely a very large target audience, and collecting many participants in your community can lead to interesting and valuable exchanges. Clearly, the larger the space the higher competition.
Con. As these individuals are in the community to connect with each other, it may be more difficult to actually have anything to sell to them, as they are likely to have many of their needs met.
Great, now that we’ve identified some of the most relevant characteristics of passion communities, we’re going to discuss trigger event communities, to see how they compare.
What Are Trigger Event Communities?
Trigger event communities are instead communities that are connected to different user behaviors.
What is a trigger event? A trigger event is an occurrence that causes other events to occur.
A trigger event can be becoming a parent, moving to a new city, retiring from work, and so forth.
As a person meets a trigger event he/she now has to learn how to deal with many new challenges that he or she may be unequipped to face. For this purpose, a user decides to join a community to ask for assistance from more experienced individuals who have already addressed and overcome similar challenges.
There are two elements to consider when analyzing these communities.
- Hierarchical relationships. The relationship they foster are hierarchical, people who are inexperienced at solving a problem ask for expert guidance.
- Start and end relationships. Participants join as they meet a trigger event, but once main challenges have been overcome they leave.
Let’s now look at the pros and cons of these communities in more detail.
Pros and Cons of Trigger Event Communities
As a result of what we discussed so far, we can suggest the following benefits and limitations to developing trigger event communities.
Pro. A benefit of developing these communities is that users who enter these online spaces are aware that they may be unequipped to deal with a series of challenges, and are maybe more prone to make a purchase. Moreover, a brand could escape the “noise” of more generic passion-focused communities and connect the brand to a specific challenge or problem, focusing on a small, but potentially highly profitable niche.
Con. On the other hand, a trigger event community provides a hierarchical structure where other more experienced users may be the ones building their authority and as a result, your brand could be moved to the background. This is still ok, however, considering that these community-focused strategies are not focused on intensive sales communications.
Great! Now that we’ve covered the topic in sufficient detail, let’s move towards our conclusive remarks.
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There you have it! In this post, we’ve discussed the difference between passion communities and trigger event communities when it comes to developing the social media strategy for your brand.
As we’ve seen, community building requires us to clearly understand the needs and characteristics of our participants, and it’s mandatory to develop content that goes beyond simple engagement but that can lead to measurable profits.
By the way, if you’re looking for some academic literature on the matter, there’s an excellent book we recommend when it comes to developing your strategy: Social IMC: Social Strategies with Bottom-Line ROI
We’ve used this book as one of the sources for this article and we highly recommend it if you’d like to learn more about community building on social media.
Also, in our blog, you’ll be able to find a wealth of helpful and informative articles on how to build a strong media presence for your brand, and build an audience by spreading your message.
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