Your Brand May NOT Have “Community” Potential - Accept That! - Sanjay Mehta

Article from Sanjay Mehta - Joint CEO at Social Wavelength where he discusses with examples on how brands should look at community building on social media.


Editor’s Note: The article has been cross posted with due consent from Sanjay Mehta - Joint CEO Social Wavelength and evangelizes social media as speaker and writer.

Just because you bring your brand on to Social Media does not mean that you can necessarily build a ‘community’ around it!

In fact, for many brands - nay, for most brands - there may not be a potential or an opportunity to build a community.

Just because there are millions of customers of an electricity distribution company is no reason why all of them want to connect to each other as a community…

Just because a lot of people smoke the same cigarette, is not reason enough for them to bond together, in a community..

Hey, just because you buy the same brand of soap or wheat or sugar or underwear, is also not a reason that you want to connect as a community..

For most users, a vehicle is a means to go from place to place, and even that is not a reason to connect with other users of the same vehicle, and be a ‘community’..

There would be exceptions to some of the examples mentioned above, but for a reason. For example, Harley Davidson users. But then again, you wouldn’t call a Harley just a ‘vehicle’! There is a different pride associated with its ownership..

The other example - and one which brands may NOT like, in fact - is in cases, where your customers form a community, maybe to create a class action suit against you! Then, they have a common interest in place.

But as you can see from most examples above, a brand does not necessarily make itself a centrepiece around which a community could get built!

And yet, brand-after-brand wish to come on Facebook or LinkedIn and create a page or a group, around the brand, and expect users or prospects to come there, and bond!

Clearly, an unrealistic expectation.

So does that mean that such brands should NOT be on Facebook or LinkedIn??

No, not at all.

Communities are not formed around a brand, but around a matter of passionate interest, of the consumer.

So while the soap brand may not be a reason to form a community around, maintaining your skin or creating a glow on your body, could be consumer interests, around which a community CAN be formed.

Owning the same vehicle brand may not be reason for the owners to bond, but if it is an SUV brand, meant for family trips, then “Road Trips” can be a common interest for the owners to bond around.

Yes, it does get tougher to find even such common causes when the brand is a service utility, like electricity distribution companies. And in such cases, there may not be that one common ground of interest, that motivates all of the users.

But one could consider multiple communities in such a case, e.g. those users of power who are also environment sensitive, or those others who are extremely keen to keep their bills low and would like to know ways to do so, etc.

In short, brands ought not to take the most predictable route when they hit social media. It may not be a brand name page on Facebook that is your best bet.

If you are a real estate brand, can your page be about My Beautiful Home, if you are a kitchen appliance brand, can your group be about Speed Cooking Delicacies, etc.??