Digital Communities: 5 Ways to Determine Purpose

jasonverdelli
Jason Verdelli CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

Posted on July 21st 2014

Digital Communities: 5 Ways to Determine Purpose

Far too often, brands and marketers take the time to create social media accounts “just because.” It’s easy to look around and to see that everyone is on social media; it’s the center of conversations and the reason many people go online in the first place.  The end result? Pages are constructed, with a little initial effort some followers demonstrate interest. Then? Nothing. They become ghost towns that do more harm than good when they’re stumbled upon by potential customers in the future. The problem? A lack of purpose.

When social media accounts are created with a “just because” mentality, they lack purpose and become more of a trend to follow than an actionable marketing initiative. To reap the full benefits of a digital community, it starts with purpose. Check out these 5 ways to determine yours.

1.       Revisit Your Mission, Vision and Values

When you set up your brand in the first place, you probably put a lot of time and effort into creating a mission statement. You had a vision in mind and you have values that you make a part of your daily operations. These should go hand-in-hand with your digital community creation; the two should work together.

Are you looking to share knowledge? To work together for a specific goal? Do you value open customer communication? Take the time to consider these when starting a digital community, just like you did when creating your brand in the first place.

2.       Find Your Target

A community can be welcoming to everyone. That’s great; it just might not be the most effective method of increasing online conversions. The most effective online strategies target a specific audience.

What age bracket do you do the most business with or want to reach? Are they educated professionals? Teenagers? Tech-junkies? Car lovers? When a specific audience is a target, content can be created that is effective and useful, rather than too broad or general.

3.       How Will Your Target Find You?

It’s a common scenario. Brands create social media pages and hope followers will come organically. Yes, it can happen, but, no, this is not the best method. It’s slow and unproductive.

Instead, think about how your brands will find you. Where can you market your community? On your website? On printed materials? Through an e-mail marketing campaign? Thinking this through from the start is critical.

4.       Think About Value

For an online digital community to be a success, value must be provided every day. What value will you provide to your future community members? Distraction-free open communication opportunities? Contests and special events? Discounts? Meaningful content? Consider the way you’ll provide value from the beginning.

5.       Learn Your Network

Social HubSite is an excellent platform for creating a social network that centers around your business. Free of distractions and unnecessary tools and features, it is designed with user experiences and brand engagement in mind. This doesn’t mean that it’s the only network out there. Before getting started, it’s critical to take a look at what network you’ll launch your community on. Become familiar with it. Learn the features, take a tour and learn everything you can to be sure you’ll be interacting in an effective, productive manner.

Without purpose a digital community is sure to fail. Follow the 5 steps above for maximum results. Ready to go? Sign up for a free Social HubSite free trial today!

jasonverdelli

Jason Verdelli

CEO, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC

There is nothing in today’s world of modern technology that we can’t learn from over 10,000 years of civilization. History has taught us the power of uniting a purpose-drive community, small or large. Communities save lives, bring cures to diseases, help others in need and so much more. This is why I get out of bed everyday. My purpose in life is to help organizations create a culture of community for a greater good.

It took me years to really discover this passion of helping people and organizations unite their communities. I started my company, Phase 2 Solutions (an online marketing company), back in 2005 and for the most part the first 5 years. Like most that come out of college into the working world I wanted to make money and “live the American Dream”, but there was something missing. I struggled for years like any other business person in their first few years trying to grow a business. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I met one of my now business partners that ask me probably one of the most important questions I have ever heard. He said, “What greater purpose are you serving for the world? When they bury you in the ground, what do you want to have left behind to this world?”. I was shocked and never really thought about what I was doing for those first few years that way. This is what drove me to where I am today.

This is a quote that helped shape my mindset:

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Steve Jobs

Here is another quote that also helped:

“Be the change you want to see in this world.”
- Gandhi

Answering this question took several months and wasn’t easy. I looked at all of the puzzle pieces floating around in my head and started to put them together. I had been doing online marketing for years. Being the outgoing person that I am, I naturally enjoyed connecting people together. I put these 2 things together and realized that in today’s world more than ever, there is much more accessibility to unite purposeful communities together that serve a greater good. With the power of new social technology and strategic direction I could help many people and organizations harness the power of a purpose-driven community.

As I discovered this passion I realized a monumental flaw. The growth of social networking and digital connectivity, although a great pool of opportunity, actually makes it much more difficult for people and organizations to focus people’s time and attention. The more social networks that pop up, status updates to read, emails to read and ever growing distractions that naturally come with increased connectivity make it ever more challenging. This is when I saw the opportunity to create Social HubSite, a platform to help people and organizations build a purpose driven community while still staying connected to ever-growing expansion of social networking. I knew this was the first step in leading me to my vision.

This is the quote that inspired me to take my technology talents to develop Social HubSite:

“Without a paper – a journal of some kind – you cannot unite a community.”
- Gandhi

Social HubSite is a central online hub and community that is for a specific purpose run by a person or an organization. I learned that it is not just the technology that is important in uniting a community, but the way it is run. You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t understand how to grow and effectively manage your community, the benefits are far from reachable. This is where I realized that myself and my company was really responsible for helping organizations create a “culture of community”. In short, a culture of community is the way you run your online community and the way the members of it are interacting. It is the core to which communities either grow or die.

This premise of building a culture of community with an online community is not only the reason why my company exists, but also the purpose behind my blog. I want to inspire and give direction to people and organizations that want to make a difference by tying in a purpose-driven online community with the community that exists in real life. The goal being to get others to build trust behind the purpose of your community and to take action to support the purpose of your community.

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