Monday, February 2, 2009

Communities, You are just a Guest

In an effort to market their products, I often see companies wanting to run out and form a community around their brand or product. But unless you are a brand like Nike or Apple, you can forget about it. No matter how great you think your product is, it just isn't cool enough to support a community. And until you come to grips with that, you won't be successful in social media.

So what is cool enough to bring a group of people together and form a community. The key is common interests. Common interest is what brings people from all walks of life together and is the glue that holds social media together.

People have connected and formed communities long before your product arrived in social media. So rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, why not find a community that already shares a common interest with your brand and participate.

But before you run in there and announce your arrival to the party, take a step back and listen. Listen, watch and get a feel for the community. Figure out the rules, the ins and outs, and the etiquette of the community. And then develop a strategy to participate. And if your strategy for participating involves telling the community how much they need your product, then you need to start over and go back and do some more listening.

Communities are powerful and a great way to engage your audience. Just make sure you play by their rules and not yours. After all its their community and you are just a guest.

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