Using Common Interest To Build Online Community

These days companies are spending an increasingly larger portion of their marketing budgets on developing online communities for their customers and the people who use their products.

During this time of development, building and launching a community, there are plenty of opportunities missteps  along the way.

One of those areas where misstepping is common is in forgetting that a community is brought together primarily through common interest in something, whether it’s a product, an idea or an activity.

Community management pro/guru/blogger Richard Millington recently launched an e-mail newsletter called The Pillar Summit (which, if you aren’t getting, you should consider signing up), and in a recent newsletter, he addressed the issue of shared experience and its importance to the development of online community.

You need to develop shared experiences amongst your community members. An experience is not the same as an event (although there is an overlap). An experience can last an hour, day, week, month or even a year (but lets stick to months for now).  An experience should be something that individuals can go through together.

Even if your online community is based around a particular product or event, it’s important not to lose sight of the other events, products and ideas that are related to that product.

The members of your online community are interested in your product or idea, but their interest in the topic doesn’t start and end with your product or idea. You should strive to  be the online resource for people looking to come together around a particular idea or product range.

Enable your community members to talk about products other than your own. If you don’t, they will find somewhere else that will.

Photo credit: s.yume/Flickr