The Importance of Community

By nature, humans are social beings. We socialize and form communities in order to survive. Most notably, a community refers to a group of people living in a common geographical location and sharing common beliefs and resources. Today, however, communities are defined by far more than just geographical location. Whether your community is small or large, to best serve your community, you first must understand it. An example of a well established community is the Latin Builders Association. They believed they lacked representation in their geographical community, so they formed an independent community to provide a vital forum for discussion, networking, training/development and representation at local and state levels. Today, the LBA is the largest Hispanic construction association in the United States.

Understanding your community
Everyone has a purpose. Successful people understand their and direct it appropriately.
Because of the web, we can now form communities based on our purpose: common interests, passions and financial opportunities, just to name a few. We are also no longer limited to one community.
A successful online group is “The Largest Latino Group on Facebook” with almost 20,000 members. Within this Facebook group, members discuss different organizations, groups, music, fashion and so on. If you’re looking to market in the Latin community, wouldn’t this be an ideal place to start?

What this means for marketers and growing companies
Social media has put an end to the closed community. Marketers now have the ability to step into these communities and not only monitor the conversations, but engage in them as well. The web has allowed us to amplify the idea of community. Waiting for consumers to find you is a dead practice!

What growing companies need to know
1. Where are communities being formed?
Begin by exploring platforms such as Facebook (Groups and Fan Pages), Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn (subgroups), Yelp and even Hispanic platforms such as Hi5.

2. What are their interests?
Observe what brings these particular people to the site and what their demographics are.

3. What are they saying?
How do they engage in these vehicles and what type of things are they saying? What are the possible implications of their commentary?

4. How do I engage within that community?
Participate in the discussion. Provide relevant, useful information.

5. How do I impact that community?
Evoke reactions. Provide information and insightful commentary. Leave them wanting more!

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