Communities: An Opportunity in the Rough

Steven Jaenke.

Steven Jaenke


You are missing an opportunity if you’re not doing this.

Yesterday, Martech released an article titled, ‘How technology is enabling community marketing’. In it, Kim Davis, the author, describes her experience of using online communities to create offline engagements. Pre-Covid, this was quite easy, using sites like Meetup, or even Facebook and LinkedIn events to organise local networking events.

Post-Covid, organising offline events has become more challenging, yet the need for community has never been stronger. Being a part of something is about as human is it comes. People want to associate themselves with other people who are like them. In his book, Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari suggests that this sense of community is the very essence of what made us successful as a species. 

In the article, Kim suggests that social media has failed to help create community, with platforms such as LinkedIn and Slack being too transactional. While I agree that community is not being created on these platforms, I don’t think it’s a failing of the strategy itself, but instead a misunderstanding of the purpose of these technologies.

Most companies are using social media as a way to attract new business, but they don’t fundamentally understand their customer’s journey, nor the marketing process, and so they advertise and sell instead of converse and nurture. 

Social media is first and foremost a communication tool. It’s a way that you can gain access to complete strangers who you wouldn’t have been able to speak to if the platforms did not exist. I don’t think social media fails to create community because it is too transactional. I think that people are using social media too transactionally and not building community.

Those people and businesses that do create communities on social media generally achieve a greater level of success than their competitors. 

So here’s the opportunity, instead of doing what everyone else is doing. Instead of advertising in groups and sending transactional direct messages, simply have a conversation with someone. Talk to them, get to know them. Instead of leading with a sale in mind, lead with the idea of connecting with another person. Do this, and the sales will naturally follow.

An Opportunity in the Rough | Commentary

Steve Jaenke

Steve Jaenke has been involved in the digital world for over 2 decades. Seeing the power of SEO early in the market he pivoted his business to focus on assisting SME to understand and leverage the power of Google. He is a recurrent judge for the Australian Web Awards awards.

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