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Communities formed on social media and communities developed on community platforms serve different purposes, operate differently, and give consumers, partners, or members with different experiences. Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are free and open to use, several organisations prefer to create their organisational brand page there. This is a good short-term option for some people who is looking to engage customers, members, and public with their brand. However, if customer and member experience is a top objective, where your customers and members rely on the organisation’s connectedness and support to succeed in some activity in their life, you’ll gain a lot more value from an online community platform.

When deciding between a public social network and a branded online community, you should consider how they compare. We’re here to assist you in making the most informed selection possible for your company’s needs.

What is an Online Community?

A collection of individuals that connect online around a common interest, challenge, or goal is referred to as an online community. These places are used by people with a shared feeling of belonging to share knowledge, study, develop networks or just discuss their interests without having to meet face to face.

These communities have their own set of rules and expectations, which vary based on how they are used. They can grow spontaneously, but they’re usually formed by people or companies who wish to promote virtual contact around a specific theme.

Branded online communities can help you raise product awareness, deepen customer relationships, and establish authority in your industry.

How do you define Social Media?

This is when web-based technology is used as an interactive medium with a large audience. Everyone has the ability to produce, share, distribute, and interact in material in this situation. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are just a few of the social media sites available. Blogs, videos, podcasts, and newsletters are among the most popular content categories on the platforms.

The usage of social media provides a number of benefits.

  • It has a variety of functions to meet a person’s requirements.
  • There is a lot of chatter, therefore it’s quite simple to get viral.
  • Interaction can be sparked by published material.

Four significant differences between community and social media.

Online communities serve as a meeting area for your clients, which you control. You have the ability to accomplish the following four things:

  • Organise the discussion
  • Participation instructions
  • Ensure safety
  • Make data work for you

Let’s delve a little more into each of these.

  1. Organise the Discussion

Online communities provide you the ability to oversee the conversations about your brand that are taking place, as well as honour the significant voices who are contributing to those talks. Members of the public, from your largest admirers to your harshest detractors, are chatting about your products or services on social media networks. Rather of merely weighing in on opensource social media, a dedicated online community provides your brand with a secure, manageable environment.

Furthermore, the individuals who are talking about your company are critical to its brand development. Thought leaders and super fans (super users) – exceptionally significant individuals who act as early adopters and champions – are frequently found in communities.

Finally, content shared by your company on prominent social media sites must pass through an opaque, ever-changing algorithm. When you manage the community, you may highlight and prioritize the most important messages, actions, and conversations.

  1. Participation Instructions

You may also serve up custom-designed challenges and events that meet your business’s aims as a community owner. This challenge capability is a crucial distinction between online communities and social media platforms, as it enables you to uncover the true value of community by actively facilitating what and how community members participate.

With so many options for encouraging involvement, you may choose how much work is expected of community members to participate in various events. Quick questions, polls, and quizzes are examples of light activities. Surveys and debates are common examples of medium-effort tasks. Finally, involved challenges allow you to arrange involvement across time by breaking it down into many phases. Through these many participation choices, you may cater to the various tastes of your users in online communities.

  1. Ensure safety.

You can ensure that your customers’ data is safe and secure by owning and governing your own brand community. Because you administer the community and will be the custodian of the data generated in the system. Allowing consumers to voluntarily participate and chose the data they share with you, as well as providing a safe environment for beneficial interactions, helps your brand to create trust and dependability, driving organic engagement.

  1. Make Data Work for You

While social media platforms have increased their features to incorporate interactive polls and instant chat plugins, the majority of user-brand interactions remain shallow, frequently appearing as a mere “like.” Although marketers may use social media to drive involvement, it’s difficult to accomplish anything meaningful with the data gathered through these activities.

Online brand communities are built specifically to give value to your consumers and your business. Having insight on a granular level, right down to how each member engaged in an activity or answered a poll question, is part of owning a community. For companies trying to better understand and interact with their most engaged consumers, this degree of visibility is tremendously important.

Online brand communities can provide you access to more detailed insights than the data and analytics provided by the social networks you’re presently utilizing. Community managers may utilize reports to learn more about each individual user and tailor the experience for them, using smart groups to focus activities and messaging depending on user behaviour.

Select the best platform for your requirements.

Human connection is essential for both personal and professional requirements. Both social media and online groups are useful for increasing audience involvement. The decision to employ social media or an online community ultimately comes down to the organization’s scope and business objectives.

Most opensource social media networks have a place in the world and in your company. They’re all valuable and effective instruments. The challenge is to match the correct tool to the right job. It’s also critical to choose the correct tool for your community that is complementing the use of Social Media rather than competing

Make a list of your requirements. Are these advantages of an online community platform in accordance with what your company requires?

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