Social Media as Community Engagement

by Joe Pelissier on March 28, 2011

Chelsea Mega Store
Last Thursday, I found myself in the Chelsea Megastore in Stamford Bridge buying a ‘Torres’ football shirt for Milo’s 10th birthday.

I am no football fan and so it was very strange to find myself in the midst of a very tribal football community.

The fact that blue is my favourite colour wasn’t much comfort.  Mentally and emotionally, I just wasn’t a part of this tribe.

But tribes are big business.

Everyone likes to be part of a tribe and online the HOT word for this is ‘community engagement’.

The idea is that people like to go and hang-out with like-minded individuals. Therefore, the smart thing is to build specific communities for niche groups.

Boden has shrewdly recongised the power of community engagement and has recently created his own social network. It’s called Boden the Community.

It has a very simple proposition: Love Boden? Be part of our community.

In return you have access to a wealth of blogs, videos, chatter and competitions – and even celebrity Bodenites, Ainsley Harriott and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

It’s no surprise that companies are starting to specialise in setting up community engagement sites for specialist niches.

Michael Collins
at i-Publishing Consultants works with specialist publishers and has launched sites for Vetstream – and

If you are interested, he is worth talking to as he knows a lot about this topic.

Why Engagement Communities work

Engagement Communities that work do so because they think exclusively from the point of view of the members

  1. Their online social behaviours
  2. The types of social information they rely on
  3. Their social influences and who they trust
  4. The social technologies they use in the context of a product or service
  5. What will prompt them to ‘engage’.

Here’s what Thomas Gensemer, Barack Obama’s online campaign manager, has to say about community engagement:

‘It’s about building membership in the broadest sense and communicating with it more effectively and engaging it in doing things for you. What people want is an authentic relationship that just happens to be online.’

As a marketing strategy this is clearly a good thing.

After all, getting people engaged with who you are and what you have to offer has numerous commercial benefits, both direct and indirect.

It’s one of the reasons why Facebook is so successful – people can freely engage with their peers on all sorts of levels.

So what sort of community or tribe do you belong to?

Or, more significantly, what sort of community do you want to lead?

To make a start, you don’t need to set-up an all singing n’ dancing site along the lines of Boden or Vetstream.

Just set up a a Facebook Group and begin to engage.

Follow my lead – Join the Digital Mindset Group

Digital MindsetsOver the weekend, I set up a group on Facebook called the Digital Mindset Group.

It’s a bit of an experiment and to date there are just 4 members whom I have coerced into membership…

Join it and let’s see what happens – let’s share ideas, sites and events related to the digital mindset world we live it.

To join you’ll probably need to login to Facebook and then enter Digital Mindset Group into Search.

Who knows we may even be at the fore-front of a powerful new movement.

Come on you Blues…!

A mixed community message I know, but so what. I’m try to engage with my son.

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