"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about." – Margaret J.
Building a community is generally seen as being more advantageous than simply building an audience since it fosters a feeling of belonging and participation among its members. A community consists of individuals with a mutual interest or objective, who actively engage and support one another. On the other hand, an audience is made up of individuals who passively receive information or content.
Growing an audience vs. building a community
Growing an audience and building a community are two related but distinct goals that individuals and organizations pursue in their online presence. While both are important for reaching people and creating an impact, they involve different strategies and outcomes.
Growing an audience refers to the process of increasing the number of people who consume a particular content or product. It is primarily focused on expanding reach and visibility to attract more visitors, followers, subscribers, or customers. For instance, a social media influencer might use various techniques to grow their audience, such as creating viral content, using hashtags, collaborating with other influencers, or running ads. Similarly, a business might aim to grow its audience by optimizing its website for search engines, leveraging email marketing, or investing in social media advertising.
The benefits of growing an audience include higher visibility, increased engagement, and potentially more revenue. However, the downside is that it can lead to a shallow relationship with the audience, with little interaction or loyalty beyond the initial attention-grabbing. A large audience does not necessarily equate to a sustainable or loyal one, as people might follow or like something for a short-term or superficial reason.
On the other hand, building a community involves creating a sense of belonging and connection among a group of people who share a common interest, goal, or identity. It is about fostering a two-way relationship where both the organization and the members contribute and benefit from each other. For instance, a non-profit organization might build a community of volunteers, donors, and advocates who are passionate about its mission and engage in various activities, such as fundraising, events, or social media campaigns. Similarly, an online forum or a social media group might build a community of people who discuss, share, and support each other around a particular topic or hobby.
The benefits of building a community include deeper engagement, stronger loyalty, and potentially more impact. When people feel a sense of belonging and purpose within a community, they are more likely to invest their time, energy, and resources towards its success. Moreover, a community can provide valuable feedback, insights, and ideas for improving the organization's offerings or strategies.
However, building a community requires more than just growing an audience. It involves investing in relationships, providing value, and creating a culture of participation and collaboration. It also requires continuous effort and attention to maintain and nurture the community over time.
The benefit of building an audience vs community building
Building a community is about creating a space for people with a shared interest, goal, or identity to connect and engage with each other. It goes beyond simply growing an audience, as it involves building a deeper relationship with members based on mutual trust, respect, and collaboration. In this article, we will explore the advantages of building a community over just growing an audience.
- Deeper engagement and loyalty
Building a community fosters deeper engagement and loyalty among members. When people feel a sense of belonging and shared purpose, they are more likely to actively participate in discussions, events, and activities. They are also more likely to share their knowledge, experiences, and feedback with the group, creating a culture of collaboration and learning. As a result, the organization can benefit from a more engaged and invested audience, with a higher potential for word-of-mouth marketing, referrals, and user-generated content.
- Stronger brand identity
Building a community can also help strengthen the brand identity of the organization. When people feel connected to a community, they also feel connected to the brand that represents it. As a result, they are more likely to identify with the organization's values, mission, and personality, and to share it with others. A strong brand identity can help the organization differentiate itself from competitors, increase customer loyalty, and attract new members who resonate with its message.
- Valuable feedback and insights
Building a community can also provide valuable feedback and insights for the organization. When people feel a sense of ownership and participation in a community, they are more likely to share their opinions, suggestions, and criticisms with the organization. This feedback can help the organization improve its offerings, strategy, and communication, and to better understand the needs and preferences of its audience. Moreover, a community can also act as a testing ground for new ideas, products, or services, allowing the organization to gather feedback and iterate before launching to a wider audience.
- Opportunity for collaboration and co-creation
Building a community can also create opportunities for collaboration and co-creation among members. When people with diverse skills, experiences, and perspectives come together around a common interest or goal, they can collaborate and create something greater than the sum of their parts. For instance, a community of developers might collaborate on an open-source project, a community of writers might co-create a book, or a community of activists might organize a campaign. By facilitating collaboration and co-creation, the organization can benefit from new ideas, innovation, and creativity, as well as strengthen the bonds among members.
- Potential for impact and change
Building a community can also provide a platform for the organization to create impact and change in the world. When people feel connected to a community and its values, they are more likely to act on behalf of it, whether by donating, volunteering, advocating, or taking collective action. Moreover, a community can provide a collective voice and power that can influence policy, culture, and society. By mobilizing its members towards a common cause, the organization can create meaningful impact and change, both within the community and beyond.
Which is more beneficial to cultivate: an audience or a community?
The significance of building an audience versus a community for your business depends on your goals. If you're looking towards the future, then establishing a community may be the better option. However, setting up a community can be a challenging task. The team at NbliK can assist you in this process. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your community plan.
To summarize, building a community is more advantageous than building an audience, as it fosters loyalty, engagement, creativity, brand allegiance, advocacy, and cost-efficient marketing. Although it requires time, effort, and resources, the long-term benefits make it worth the investment.
Using community platforms such as NbliK gives you complete control. You don't want your efforts in community building on social media to go to waste due to changes in the platform's algorithm or available features. But with a specialized community platform, your community has a secure and permanent home.