In the marketing jargon, it is not uncommon to confuse "audience" and "community". However, despite their complementarity, these two concepts are quite different... And companies have every interest in distinguishing between them, in order to develop effectively.
In this article, MeltingSpot deciphers the differences between "audience" and "community"... But also how and on which platform to animate a tight-knit community over time👇
Audience vs. community: differentiating for better progress
💡An audience is a group of people who listen to and follow a brand on social networks. Once gathered around the brand, this audience passively consumes the content: communication is mostly one-sided, relationships remain impersonal and only the company brings value to its audience.
Thus, an audience "follows" a brand and its posts on social networks (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Its presence remains important, to boost brand image and improve e-reputation, whether it is a BtoB or BtoC company.
💡A community represents a group of individuals (customers, employees, partners, etc.) fully committed to the company. The community is active (even proactive), the exchanges are transversal and the commitment is much stronger.
Indeed, the members of a community interact among themselves, but also with the company. Communication is horizontal, even "Bottom-Up". The community is not limited to a number of subscribers: it is above all a close-knit group, where each member is identified as a member with high added value.
Human relationships, conversation and long-term commitment are at the heart of the community concept. The idea is to create and bring together individuals who pursue common interests and share the same values. Unlike an audience, the feeling of belonging is multiplied tenfold in a community.
Despite their differences, Social Media strategy and community marketing strategy are complementary. So, how to activate these two levers... And strategically develop the growth of your company?
Why use social networks?
As you can see, social networks are particularly useful to create and develop an audience. In addition, social networks help to:
✅ Establish its presence on the web, while developing the brand image
✅ Improve e-reputation, by sharing quality content
✅ Promote your products or services, through different formats
✅ Generate leads and increase brand awareness
Social networks contribute to the development and growth of a business. However, there is a lot of noise on these social platforms, for several years. Infobesity, a massive amount of content, an overabundance of information, difficulties to emerge via algorithms and to mark the spirits... Here are the brakes that limit the creation and engagement of a welded community.
Indeed, on Instagram, more than 100 million photos and videos are posted every day. 500 million tweets are posted every day, that's 6000 tweets every second. It is therefore highly recommended to break away from social networks if the goal is to create a tight-knit community. For example, a dedicated community-platform allows one to engage a group (of customers, collaborators, partners, influencers, investors, etc.) far from the ambient noise of social networks.
The community platform: the tool to animate your community
Building a community is becoming a difficult (if not impossible?) mission on social networks. To federate a community, it is, therefore, preferable to bet on a tool: the community platform.
💡 A community platform is an all-in-one solution, to create, animate and engage corporate communities over time. On this platform, members are actors of their communities, far from the infobesity present on social networks. They can participate in events, interact with the company or community members, create content and participate in public or private discussions, network... All on a single platform.
With a community platform like MeltingSpot, companies have the ability to:
✅ Centralize their efforts (content creation, community animation, event organization) in one place.
✅ No longer scatter themselves across different networks and communication channels, to interact and federate their communities.
✅ Create regular and personalized appointments in different formats.
✅ Manage the organization of events autonomously, in a simple and fun way.
Thus, the community platform is a relevant tool, to facilitate the animation of communities. Thanks to all the features listed above, this solution also helps companies to accelerate their conversion and development. This tool helps to boost the Community-Led Growth strategy, thanks to community-driven growth.
Here is Bill McGlade sharing his vision on the true ROI of community and the importance of Community platforms vs Social media platforms, from his talk at the CLG Summit 2023 by The Community Lab where you can watch the full replay.
5 steps to Create, Animate and Engage your community
To successfully create, animate and engage a community on a community platform, 5 steps are essential:
Recruit a Community Builder
The Community Builder has a strategic role as a builder. He or she is the pillar that creates, animates and engages a community over time. He/she carries the voice and face of the brand, builds trusting relationships with the community members and takes care of developing a caring atmosphere.
The Community Builder also takes care of choosing the best community platform, developing the best community marketing strategy, and federating the best communities. The Community Builder leads the Community-Led Growth strategy and works in conjunction with the Social Media Manager to ensure the proper development of audiences on social networks and communities in parallel.
Defining the community strategy
Each company, through its Community Builder, must develop a specific community strategy. Creating a community on a community platform is not enough: it is necessary to define the positioning of the community, its objectives, the target members... All these elements are essential to developing a community efficiently. The community strategy (Community-Led Growth) must also include a follow-up of the results, to show continuous improvement in the long term.
Promoting your community
To ensure that members join a community on a community platform, it is necessary to activate the "promotion" mode. Indeed, an omnichannel communication and content strategy is essential. It is at this stage that the community strategy is particularly complementary to social networks. To make an online community known, social networks are excellent accelerators: Facebook or LinkedIn posts, videos on Instagram or Youtube... There are many possibilities to attract new members, depending on the positioning, the objectives and the target.
Facilitate member onboarding
Each member must be welcomed in the best possible way, within the community. To facilitate onboarding, MeltingSpot recommends organizing various virtual events directly from the community platform.
For example, why not organize a virtual welcome party? A live FAQ, to answer questions from the community? A thematic webinar, followed by a networking session?
Animate your community over the long term
To make all members want to participate in the development of the community, animations are important. They facilitate engagement, co-creation, the emergence of new relationships, the identification of Ambassadors... To achieve this, the company can once again rely on virtual events (webinars, lives, networking sessions)... But not only! On a community platform, it is also possible to centralize a maximum of high-value-added content, to inspire, advise and animate its community.
Ready to animate your community with our community platform?
You've got it: audiences are groups of people who follow a brand on social networks. Communities, on the other hand, are made up of committed and close-knit members who are ready to get involved with the brand. Mutual aid, interaction and sharing are at the heart of the community concept. And to create, animate, engage and federate such a group... The community platform is the #1 tool to bet on. 👇