Your community, one of the most talked about and important parts of being successful in social media that helps not only to grow your business with customers but also through interaction with those who share similar interests. The value of your community is determined on how you build it through focusing on the quality as opposed to the quantity. The quality is what is important as having thousands of people who follow is playing the influence as a mathematics game and not taking accountability as to why building a community is going to be rewarding.
The topic of your (community) audience as currency was recently discussed by Chris Brogan. Chris describes your audience as currency but not as currency in the general terms of money. His points resonated well with his audience and myself, especially when he says:
It’s important, however, not to look at your audience as your only way to make money. Or rather, maybe it’s important to look at your audience as being made up of community members, peers, competitors, and the occasional buyer. The moment you start thinking of your audience as your customers (only), then you’re running into a problem, because then the only transaction that makes sense in your head is a sale.
However, as I was reading the article, I found myself seeing your community as an asset but also as currency.
Community as Currency
First, as it relates back to Chris’ article, I see your audience and community as slightly interchangeable as your audience can become your community. It does not always pan out this way and this is not to look away from the audience but I feel that the community is built and structured to be more of an asset and currency where the audience is not always around for the long haul. We see this a lot with new bloggers where people read, share and move on. Those that stick around can and many times to become a part of your community.
Community as currency are the ones that come back day after day, share their thoughts in comments, share the posts and attribute to the numbers of loyal followers. They help the blog or the company grow as they are supporters and create a powerful source in the numbers. I am not a fan of the numbers game when it comes to purely thinking of followers, fans, etc, as we know, however, here when you think of a community as a currency we cannot ignore the power of the numbers that equates to the popularity and the message that is being shared. Numbers to say we have numbers is pointless until they are providing value. Community as currency is part of that value as they would not be a part of the community if they were not doing something that enhanced the blog or company.
Community as an Asset
Your community is an asset to YOU. They are the trusted that matter. They support you, they create a new way of thinking, they debate you, frustrate you but they are there because you appreciate them and they you. There are expectations set for you and they are met as when we consider the community as an asset, we care for them and grow with them over time. Sure some depreciate where some appreciate and become the customers, brand ambassadors and referral agents. Your community is carefully crafted to surround yourself with those that matter and not only bring value by their ability to share but their ability to also teach. They play a role in sustaining the community but also in growing it.
Your Community as Currency and an Asset
Your core community plays a dual role. They are the force behind the numbers but also the folks that matter. Every person that reads this blog, comments and shares matters to me. I look to see where we can connect online, I read their profiles, I look to see if have a blog. I want to try and get to know them as they took the time to get to know me. The ideaology behind a community as currency and an asset is deeper than seeing them as numbers and how they matter.
There is also the pay it forward through which was touched upon. As a member of a community we all have the opportunity to grow within our own community and each others. The pay it forward comes into play when we introduce ourselves and others to each other. If we all go to Chris’ blog (which I highly recommend you do) and comment there, we have a common denominator for us to intermingle. He or all of us are providing the platform for which to converse but yet we never really see too many taking advantage of the opportunity to create new conversations. Pay it forward and introduce yourself and others to the community.
What do you think? Is your community currency, an asset or both?