From Social Media To Community Design

The world of social networks, and the role of companies in them, is bringing a new paradigm, totally different from what we have experienced in the last ten years. The change is being, like everything today, fast and inevitable . From the mainstream to the exclusive. From the general to the specific. From the public and uncontrollable to the private and family.

It all started with horizontal social networks , which are for all audiences, who dominate the landscape of Internet relationships today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn target the majority, without ruling out anyone.

Its use and characteristics make them focus on certain age groups, but within this, nothing changes: we are all welcome to like, share and react to messages from individuals and companies. Therefore, they are the most used in general, according to studies from this year .

Before long, the first vertical social networks came out, those that only make sense for people who share certain interests, regardless of age. Actually, regardless of anything else. There are own channels for lovers of motorcycles, video games, diving, luxury, dogs or painting. And on a professional level, even doctors have their own social network.

These social networks created and used to find a like-minded public, regardless of whether they are to upload photos, challenges, or the character limit, have been the germ of the new way we have to group together to have conversations around what we like : the communities.

Communities do not need a specific platform, not even a social network. Today, platforms such as Discord, Slack and even Telegram host thousands of users who come to talk about the topics that interest them and that they share with the rest. You don’t need a Facebook group or a Twitter hashtag.

There are free public and private communities with membership, as if it were a club that you must join. Its use is exactly the same: find people with the same concerns, to learn and entertain yourself by sharing messages through online channels. These topics are often related to leisure, but there are even professionals already, also in Spain, such as Without Office, designed for people who work without a fixed place.

In this new paradigm, with much more exclusive but higher quality channels, what is the point of companies? Your role can be twofold. On the one hand, they must consider how to manage to organize, feed and add value to their audience, so as to be the “digital auditorium” where their audience goes to chat about whatever they want.

In this sense, technology can be a great ally: find a way for your customers to see the value that speaking through your channels gives them, and you will have them as loyal users. Hence, there is a profile that is increasingly fashionable, the “Community Designer”, responsible for designing these communities.

On the other hand, he must work his role of “I am one more” within the community . You have to find a way to participate in other people’s conversations. Without bothering, without talking about oneself, without advertising, without burdening the reputation within the group of members.

Achieving both goals has huge payoffs. It would generate really powerful brand assets for the medium term of any company. You would be one more, you would take a step forward in the complex challenge of “humanizing a brand”.

Ignoring these communities could lead to very large losses. It can mean that they stay out of the conversations and places they care about as a brand. That as companies they definitely stop having the upper hand, to monopolize the contents.

Gemma Martínez gives voice to the protagonists of the new economy, who dare to say different things.

Being able to create or participate in these new communities is not easy. They do not compete only with their competition in the business, but with the new content creators: independent people, without a society behind them, who know the channels better than anyone. In addition, they do not carry the extra work of achieving initial credibility, a burden that many logos always suffer when starting any new adventure of digital content.

Large social networks are not going to disappear, but that should not matter to companies. The real game is moving elsewhere.

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