Sunday, June 14, 2009
Online communities and companies - How to make them work
"Does a brand need to build its own online community or does a brand need to embed their community within an existing social network," asks blogger Igor Beuker on Viral Blog.
According to Beuker, it depends on the company's goals. He continues on to list the proper steps a company should take to create their online marketing strategy and gives excellent examples on companies with great social marketing, such as Jeep, Dell, Starbucks and even Barack Obama.
The best bit of advice he gives is he warns companies not to focus on making money before making their online community. Many companies have posted social pages and then wait for the community to come, making no effort to manage the page (for example, Wal-Mart's Facebook page).
"How to fix it: Don’t put the cart before the horse. When creating your online community, keep in mind the best interests of the people you are trying to reach. Communities don’t form around the idea of being monetized, so make sure that your community-building efforts have a clear utility built in for its members. "
The article, "Why Wal-Mart Needs a Facebook Strategy," brings great insight into the best way for companies to use social sites to their advantage.