Community creation is a very unique marketing channel. Through one lens, it’s not a marketing channel at all. Through another, it’s a number of marketing channels at once. It can also be considered a combination of several different forms of virality.
Sound confusing? Just wait. Quite the contrary, it’s awesome.
Since this multiplicitous viral non-viral marketing channel is so difficult to define, we’re going to go ahead and give it its own category – and name.
Community Creation: The Eclectic Hybrid of Marketing Channels
In a nutshell, community creation is exactly what it sounds like – the act of creating an engaged community around a specific topic. Ideally this community will either directly or indirectly relate back to your product or service. The resulting promotion that occurs as that community grows is collectively what makes it its own channel.
Here are a few examples of how this can happen:
- You create a local community rallying users around a specific interest. Such as a running club. You advertise this community and the membership base and the benefits of joining at local gyms (offline advertising). Early users invite their friends to join the club as well (viral collaboration marketing).
- You create a user-generated-content site. Specifically one based around baking and dessert recipes. One recipe gets 100 “upvotes” in the first 2 days, so you decide to place an ad promoting it on Facebook (social and display advertising). While consuming the content, you encourage readers to become contributors to promote their own recipes (open virality).
- You create an online forum with the purpose of creating a discussion around a specific topic. In this case, professional wrestling. You launch your forum through a featured piece in a professional wrestling magazine (press and PR). You then convince the #1 contender for the pro wrestling world title to create an “ask me anything” thread, which gets a lot of traction on Twitter (online viral word of mouth) and gets promoted on a handful of professional wrestling blogs (unconventional PR).
And these are just a few examples that come to mind! Just imagine the possibilities if you applied these to live events.
Community Creation and Virality
As you can see this specific channel is so flexible and often acts as a hybrid of numerous non-viral AND viral marketing channels, it deserves its own category.
Just look at all those hyperlinks. It’s like a veritable who’s who of the 16 Types of Non-Viral Marketing sources and 12 Types of Viral Marketing sources we’ve covered thus far. So I suspect the examples above already provide you with enough insight into how community creation can connect with virality – which is to say quite a bit.
The thing to remember above all else here is that the value of a community comes from how well it facilitates members interacting with other members.
The more frequently this happens, and the more valuable those interaction are, the more value of an incentive community members will have to invite other community members.
We’re winding down our countdown of all the current ways to fuel up your awesome viral engine. In our penultimate chapter of this section, we’re going to cover a slew of methods that may be viable in only a select few cases. Collectively they’re known as niche marketing channels.
Which Niche Does Your Viral Engine Fit Into?
We’ve got one more non-viral marketing channel to cover before topping off your viral engine. But our next method is actually more than one. Which of those apply to you depends entirely on what type of product you’ve created.
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