What is a Community's Value? How Do I Create It?

Posted on October 19th 2011

Communities have come a long way from just being a group of people trying to get together and talking on random stuff. With creation of dedicated roles like community manager and advent of web 2.0 technologies, communities have transformed into a collective source of value for every member. A community can be a solution provider, a guide, a knowledge base and an informal repository of conventional experience.

What people learn through their experience is rarely documented and always learnt by the word of mouth. Communities provide a sustainable channel to process and consume the invaluable experiential learning which might reside in an experienced brain and brings it to all members. Imagine a group of sellers from across the world collaborating on sales trend in their local markets influenced by the global paradigm. How much value every seller will gain sitting in his/her corner of the world yet having access to overall collective and mutual intelligence.

This value is appreciated at an individual level by every member of the community.

As Randy MacDonald, (Senior VP - Human Resources, IBM) emphasizes in his post, Embracing Social Media - that the best financially performing corporations are 57 percent more likely to use collaborative and social-networking tools to help global teams work together. He opines that collaboration is the most powerful and underutilized use of social media. He stresses that by tapping the intelligence of the people who work for us -- who collectively know more than any executive team -- companies can get surprising solutions to some of their biggest challenges, such as how to apply innovations that didn't pan out to a new use. Or which new markets the company should pursue.

Overall, any community should be centered on value creation –for the organization and the members or both. The common interest should result in value that can be realized.

The value of the community is ideally based on the following threads:

  1. Increase profits: More sales, more subscriptions, bigger database etc.
  2. Cut Costs: Less emails, fewer ad campaigns, word of mouth publicity etc.
  3. Nonprofit goals: Skill development, unique congregation, leaders develop leaders, collaboration, informal and social learning
  4. No goals: These types of communities are very rare as members’ goals supersede common interest.

A community manager needs to fathom what the objective of the community is and hence drive the value and also make relevant information available to the stakeholders. Stakeholders do tend to confuse between the first two types and the third one.

Organizations that learn and understand the power of communities and translate it into successful knowledge gamut will be the architects of the future – not only they will be more successful, but they will serve as a learning enabler.


Khalid Raza

Professional, IBM

Khalid is working as Social Business Program Manager, Social Learning evangelist and Enterprise Community Manager at IBM. He supports the efforts of IBM's Social Business Management Council, Brand Systems, Cyber Security and Privacy organization to define IBM's Social Business policies and deliver specific programs that position IBM as the global leader in the application of Social Media and collaboration tools.

He loves to talk about anything social and how to use it within organizations. The postings here are his own and doesn’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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Posted on October 22nd 2011 at 8:00PM

As you said, every comminity is sharing some kind of vaule. And that is the point why we are joing social media groups.


Facebook.com is about friends


Twitter is about falowing someone thaughts


Google + is for geeks


Linkedin is about your work


Singletones.com is about your interests.



In my opinion, for lot of people is facebook starting to be boring and not useful. The main reason why are people visiting some websites is to get some informations. And facebook is more about stalikng and chating about notihing. I am realy courious, how will the sitation with social networks will look like in nother 5 years. Especialy I am courious how  will he launch of Singletones will be sucesful.

Posted on June 26th 2012 at 5:56AM

While these platforms are all similarly different, as you mentioned, they have their own aptness to the users. I use FB to connect very 'informally' with my network (not only friends) while my posts on Twitter and LinkedIn and more professional in nature. G+ is a mix for me and I am yet to fully get loaded there... Never tried singleton since I am married...lol