Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)
Knowledge about brand is unending. It is only a foolish person who says he knows it all. Today, I am able to confirm I do not know as I ought to know. We have been working hard on convincing ourselves on a better way to enlighten a friend who feels with thousands of followers, he has a community. We have provided a lot of statistics on the difference between quality and quantity and yet this individual will not be convinced. But with a critical study and proof of what a social community is, the battle is finally won. The lesson here is that many will be convinced if you look at issue from their perspective and take them up from what they know to their unknown. Interestingly, this person comes from a community and the theory of community seems to flow with him than any other statistic.
A community is stronger than a crowd, audience and followers. A person may follow you just because they like your personality but they are not a part of your brand community until they promote your brand shared values. It is important for us to be able to differentiate followers, target audience and a community.
It is possible to have relationship with target audience when all they know about your brand is just who you are and what you stand for. I do strongly believe this is just one of the foundations upon which a community stands. That in any way does not transcend you have a community. I like the way Chris Brogan put it ‘a brand target audience may even go ahead to buy your brand but they do not become a brand community until they become empowered individuals who empower others to become brand target/community’.
To be able to distinguish our followers and understand where each stands, it will be good if we can critically assess the impact of the followings.
Collective purpose: No community exist without a collective purpose. Those who follow you with a mission to brag about their association with you during great time may not be a community member. Every member of a community has a collective or shared purpose. They understand what your brand stands for and feel good to embrace as well as promote such purpose. It is not a bad idea to have a personal reason for following a brand but no community is ever successful if individual reasons are super imposed on the community shared value.
Community owners are not Controllers: this may sound shocking to many. Community creators only build movement of individuals who have equal right. All they do is initiate a conversation and become contributors to it. Anything outside this makes the owner a community controller. In this age, that will not work. In a typical African community, no community leader enjoys community acceptance if he always dictate or impose his wish. He may initiative a conversation and asks for contribution. At the end, he often becomes contributor and co-creator of idea.
Highly Networked interaction: For community to be successful there is need for highly networked interaction. It is not only the leader who speaks(tweet, update etc). Every conversation is enhanced by collaboration and contribution from the community member. Something is wrong with a community where everyone maintains silence. The interaction should not be once in a year. Hence real community relate regularly. This is the basis upon which a strong relationship rests.
Evolving: Yesterday ideas soon become obsolete. So a major factor of any good community is that it must keep evolving. It must continues to grow and move ahead with trend and proper understanding of what brings them together to sustain a lifelong relationship.
Order: this is also a vital point. Community has rules and orders which guides behaviour. Anti- social behaviours are nipped in the bud to discourage others.
Respect: A community has respect for everyone’s opinion even if they are not going to promote it. If your followers can not co-habit with each other and they constantly throw tantrum, check the pulse of your community.
In the light of the above, do you have a community or just thousands of followers? How many of your followers shared your values, work hard on empowering others to raise army of other community members? Do you have relevant case study? Please share.