Internet community and marketing (part 1)

Service Business

There is no doubt that man strives to live in a herd. The life of an individual among other people with the same views or interests is called a community. It is the community, for example the Internet community, that gives us character, teaches us to live, behave or habits. Sooner or later, if not everyone, most people start thinking about starting a family and raising children. If you ask any couple why this is happening, the answer in many cases will be the same: two adults have fallen in love with each other, cannot live without each other and at some point decide to live together and start a family.

The striving to create our own community is encoded in us from birth and only with gaining age and experience we start to actively participate in the communities around us or try to create our own. In the article presented here, we will focus on a selected type of community, which is an online (or virtual) community. With the development of the Internet, the ability to communicate with other people who can be assigned to selected criteria has also increased - and it was the division of people based on their activity in the Internet that gave the basis for the creation of the term "Internet community". Before we go into a detailed explanation of the discussed issues, it is worth starting from the definition and genesis of the concept.

A community in the real world

It has been accepted that the term "community" in the real world can be divided into two main types:

Geographic communities

The concept of geographic community applies to virtually every human being. Living in a selected region of the world, country, city or village, we become - depending on the definition of the division - part of a specific local or global community. Being part of a selected geographic community, we must take into account common issues, obligations or problems (rent, taxes, consequences of non-compliance with the law, etc.). Common features significantly influence the definition of a geographical community. Here you can additionally distinguish common entertainment (cinema, theater), weather or a development plan for the selected area. The geographical factor is most often associated with the local community living in a small region, which is not interested in the affairs of the inhabitants of other villages, towns and even neighboring settlements.

Interest / hobby communities

This type of community is important to the topic at hand, because the Internet community is part of it. A generally accepted definition describes this type as a community with common and more personal intimates, problems or interests.

It can be a group of members of a football club, co-workers within one company, a group of investors or enthusiasts of roller coasters. Interest communities are not geographically linked, as they can be hundreds of kilometers apart. The decisive factor is the passion and shared interests that many supporters of the chosen field are able to share with other members. The distance barrier was often a problem the solution of which were regular meetings, rallies or conventions of various types (practiced until today).

It was only with the development of the global network that this problem practically disappeared - there were more opportunities and easier communication between members of selected communities, the Internet became a window to the world for everyone who so far could not find their place or understanding in the eyes of other people. And although the aforementioned meetings or rallies are still popular, the Internet has become the main stimulus for everyday activities, exchange of information between supporters of shared passions, and allowed many people around the world to feel that they finally belong to a community that they could only talk about so far. dream.

And since large groups of people form communities that share common characteristics, why not use them for marketing purposes? This is one of the factors having a direct impact on the emergence of the concept of internet marketing - it is easier to influence the community of interests on the Internet when promoting your products or services. In the following, we will try to find common elements related to concepts such as the Internet community and online marketing.

What is the Internet community?

An online (virtual) community is generally speaking a collection of people linked by common traits and interacting via the Internet. It has many features in common with the community of interest, but all activities only take place online. This does not mean, however, that it is narrow. On the contrary - the almost unlimited possibilities of the Internet and the growing technological progress make it possible to regularly create new activities within selected Internet communities - although, as it turns out, selected activities can also be transferred to the real world. It should be emphasized that individual behaviors on the Internet influencing the creation of a virtual community bring specific opportunities, thus influencing the development of virtual opportunities.

Chatting on the Internet, meeting new people

From an early age of development, we strive to meet new people. Individual acquaintances are then sorted based on various categories: friends, close acquaintances or distant acquaintances. The divisions depend on many factors: age, shared passions and interests, common character traits, etc. It is no different in the Internet, which has become not only a very effective channel for meeting new people, but also made life easier for individuals who are shy by nature and who are afraid to take the initiative. . Text conversation (and later also voice and video conversation) gave rise to the functioning of chatrooms - better known as chats or chats.

Chat / Chat is a conversation between two or more people, taking place alternately via the Internet in the form of text messages sent and received in real time (precisely when pressing the enter button confirming the message being sent). Along with the necessity of regular conversations between Internet users, the so-called chatrooms.

Chatroom - a specially prepared computer program or application that enables two-way communication with one or more people at the same time. A chatroom is usually divided into individual thematic rooms that connect specific virtual communities based on selected interests. The most common is the login panel, where the user has to enter a nickname (internet nickname) before starting the visit. Here, too, restrictions may be imposed in the form of logged in users (the need to register an account on the website) or not necessarily - then the Internet user acts as a guest, which is visible to other participants of the conversation.

In the following years, the classic chatroom evolved into various forms, ultimately confirming the belief that, in addition to searching for information on the web, communication and community building is an indispensable element of the development of the Internet. First came the advanced Internet Relay Chat - known in the world as IRC. For many years, it was considered an elite chat, due to its expansion and configuration possibilities. It was not for nothing that the internet community within IRC had a completely different mentality than the one who visited traditional chat rooms every day. It was enough to go in and say hello in an unacceptable way by at least one regular, and we could get an immediate ban (removal from the room and nickname blockage). Sterility and the lack of openness to a wider group of enthusiasts of a given field are associated with IRC to this day, which does not prevent it from functioning within a selected group of regulars. As it turned out, this is just one of the few exceptional examples closed to large groups that make up virtual communities. In the following years, an increase in the popularity of instant messaging was noted, of which to this day the most popular Skype already attracts over 50 million people around the world, offering - in addition to classic text calls - the creation of videoconferences with many people and voice calls. Earlier in our country, Gadu-Gadu was an extremely popular communicator, which has a large number of more or less successful fakes, integrated with the original product.

Internet community in the form of social media

The real boom in the creation of structures such as the Internet community has been visible since the emergence of the first social networking sites. Websites like Facebook or Google Plus have gained popularity over a billion users around the world. Why such a great success of these social networks, since most of the elements were known before and were duplicated? Functionality, ease of use and - above all - multifunctionality. Facebook offers users a classic text chat for conversations, joining an infinite number of groups - communities, creating their own spaces on the web that can turn into a new community, liking the chosen activity and the most important factor that ultimately determines the success of Zuckerberg's work: space for self-presentation, which almost every user has used or uses in such a way as to build their brand and show their person in the best light.

Various types of companies that run information channels on the products or services they offer through Facebook immediately picked up on it. Why did previously published social networking sites (such as our native Nasza-Klasa) turn out to be only a temporary trend? There are at least a few reasons, but with regard to the topic under discussion, two in particular seem to be of key importance: too limited possibilities of creating a community and inept connection of virtual communities within a given website.

In the next part of this cycle, we will present additional elements influencing the development of the virtual community. We will talk about the benefits that the Internet community can bring to an enterprise, and we will also show you how to effectively build your own group, within which a virtual community will be created.