“I have to feel the audience. I enjoy that feeling of community” - Dave Gahan
Audience and community are two distinct groups of people with distinct characteristics.
There’s a huge difference. The simple way to look at it is:
Audience: one to many relationships
Community: many to many relationships
How to differentiate "community" and "audience" correctly?
The distinction between a "community" and an "audience" is important. A community is a smaller, focused group of individuals that share a common interest or goal, while the audience is the larger group of people who can be reached through various channels of communication. An audience may include multiple channels, such as social media, email lists, conference attendees, blog readers, and potential customers. Each channel may serve a different purpose, such as using email for direct communication and updates, and using social media for brand awareness and reach.
The audience encompasses a diverse group of people who are reached through various channels for different purposes, with varying levels of engagement. On the other hand, community refers to a specific subset of the audience, characterized by a shared interest and purpose. The engagement level of community members is typically higher compared to a general audience.
1.Channels of contact:
A community typically consists of a portion of an overall audience, and often has a centralized hub, such as a forum or homepage, which serves as a central location for accessing the community's resources and features.
2.Directions of contact:
One common way to differentiate between audience and community is that while one communicates with their audience, they engage in conversation with their community. The focus of a community is to foster two-way communication and collaboration, rather than simply transmitting messages to an audience who passively receives them.
3. Membership and identification:
It's important for both you and your community members to clearly understand their membership in the community, rather than just being part of the audience. This membership should feel exclusive and elevated. You should be able to distinguish community members from the wider audience, and they should be able to identify when they joined or were recognized as members. A shared terminology or a central location that serves as a home base can further strengthen their sense of identity as part of the community.
4. Easily identifiable; finite:
If it is challenging to articulate the meaning of "community", it may indicate that one does not exist. Communities are carefully crafted and require an investment of time and effort to establish.
Here are similarities between the two:
Audience and community both refer to groups of individuals united by a shared interest or attribute. Here are seven similarities between them:
- Composition: Both audience and community consist of people who share common interests or traits.
- Targeting: Both audience and community can be the target of marketing campaigns, content creation, or organizational efforts for specific objectives.
- Demographics: Both audience and community have defined demographics, including factors like age, gender, location, and interest.
- Communication: Both an audience and a community require communication to sustain engagement and foster relationships.
- Growth: Both audience and community require ongoing communication to maintain engagement and build relationships.
- Influence: Both audience and community can be impacted by external elements, such as trends, events, or marketing efforts.
- Metrics: Both audience and community can be evaluated through metrics, such as size, engagement, and demographics, to gain insights into their characteristics and behavior.
Audience or community – which are you building?
In conclusion, both an audience and a community are groups of individuals who share a common interest or characteristic and require communication to sustain engagement. Both can be targeted, influenced, and measured, but the level of interaction and collaboration distinguishes them from each other.
An audience represents a one-directional flow of information from the creator to the consumer, while a community embodies a two-way exchange of information, with members interacting and collaborating with one another.
It's important to evaluate your brand and determine whether you have a community or just an audience. Audiences are important, but a strong community offers longer-lasting value.
Feel free to join NbliK, our community, to gain more understanding of it!