Communities are valuable, followers are not. But to establish digital communities that are truly passionate about your brand, publishers need to create a space in which community members are able to contribute meaningfully, be provided with unique brand experiences driven by technology, and be rewarded for their contributions and their loyalty.
To achieve these aims, publishers will benefit from re-imagining their social strategies, using traditional social media channels as a cast net to entice casual social followers to become registered community members on their own branded platforms – where more value can be achieved in the form of exclusive content, incentivised competitions, reward for engagement and more.
The problem with 3rd-party social media channels centre around issues of media ownership and user experience. These platforms provide little in the way of protection of your valuable media rights. Coupled to this are the vagaries of constantly changing algorithms, which make it harder for organisations to reach their intended audience, as well as limited scope for customisation or monetisation through e-commerce or paid memberships.
By bringing community engagement into your own branded platforms, whether a web platform or native mobile app or both, you allow yourself to take ownership, protect brand media, maximise commercial potential and ensure you are providing the best user experience for community members who want to interact.
It’s all part of establishing a healthy digital ecosystem in which there is a symbiosis between all stakeholders to the benefit of your brand, sponsors and subscribers who make up your community.
There are various methods to entice engagement and, most importantly, registrations.
UGC campaigns are a great way of allowing community members to actively and safely contribute, becoming "reporters for a day" covering topics of sports, fashion or local news while allowing publishers to collect community content to share what were once previously untold stories. By providing this branded platform for media exchange, you are also providing more value to advertisers – who can run branded UGC campaigns that create more authentic connections with community members.
New technologies like augmented reality are also seeing adoption levels rise, powering collaborative exchanges between the advertisers and consumers that asks the user to take action; it’s an exciting, sensory experience that can lead to an emotional reaction – meaning higher levels of engagement and brand recall.
Technology trends, like AR, are changing the way brands connect with consumers and provide an opportunity for your advertisers to better position themselves with your community.
Your advertisers have a key role to play in incentivising your community to engage while conversely, you allow your community members to interact with your partners’ brands in new and exciting ways. This not only provides added value to your commercial partnerships, it will attract new advertisers looking to leverage a digital community centred around your brand.
By bringing community engagement into your own branded platforms, whether a web platform or native mobile app or both, you allow yourself to take ownership.
About Publisher’s Toolbox
Publisher’s Toolbox is a digital consultancy business with an advanced digital media ecosystem that transforms traditional media organisations into digital powerhouses. The Publisher’s Toolbox of platforms powers community engagement, media IP production, media asset management, and digital community experiences across mobile, web, social, video streaming and AR technology.
This article is part of our ‘Building Successful Communities’ special feature, looking at how publishers go about creating engaged and vibrant communities. The feature includes the following articles by publishers and suppliers:
Build engagement on your platform, by Sally Arnold
The money is in the conversation, by Lucy Brazier
Create spaces online to share opinions, by Gary Clement
Community first, magazine second, by Sophie Cross
Publishers are taking community seriously, by Ashley Friedlein
Find the right voice, by Esther Newman
Audience engagement is top priority, by Charles Thiede
Build connections & be interested, by Ed Walker
This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.