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What brands can learn from online communities?

The latest edition of Adgully’s flagship property #TwitterChat dwelled on Potential of Online Communities Unleashed. Held on Friday, April 24, 2020, the #TwitterChat discussed how online communities are mobilising people to support those who are stranded during the COVID-19 lockdown. It also explored how content and social platforms can be leveraged to drive community driven campaigns.

Joining us for the discussion were esteemed leaders of online communities, mobile marketers and influencer marketers who led the discussion.

Deepak Kumar, Executive Vice President, C LAB (@kumardeepak0304) – Moderator

C LAB is the influencer marketing arm of Dentsu Aegis Network.

Aditya Maheshwari, Leads Strategic Growth & Customer Success, AppsFlyer India (@mahe_adi)

AppsFlyer is a leading mobile attribution platform.

Mahita Nagaraj, Community Leader, Caremongers India (@MahitaNagaraj)

Caremongers India is a 37K+ strong online community on Facebook. The name is meant to be an antithesis to scaremongers. From cooked meals to transport for doctors’ visits to grocery runs, this group of 'caremongers' is ready to go the extra mile for senior citizens stuck at home, expecting mothers, the physically challenged, people with medical conditions and even those who are financially precarious.

Meghdut Roy Chowdhury, Community Leader, #Eksaath - Support Group for Quarantine Heroes, (@meghamind_7)

#EkSaath - Support Group for Quarantine Heroes is an online community on Facebook catering to the people who are practicing social distancing. The group brings engaging content for its members inclusive of friendly banter, learning a new craft, educating and raising awareness with like-minded communities online.

Neela Kaushik, Founder & CEO, GurgaonMoms (@gurgaonmoms)

GurgaonMoms is 34K+ strong community for women on in Delhi-NCR. The Facebook community aims to create a safe space for women to be able to discuss various topics, ask away doubts and celebrate their stories . It is also the nurturing ground that supports women with resources to pursue their dreams or goals. The community regularly conducts online and offline events where members meet and network. They have an annual event 'The Mom Achievers Summit' which is very well received and attended by close to 500 women in the NCR area.

Shishir Joshi, Founder & CEO, Project Mumbai (@projectmumbai1)

Project Mumbai is an non-profit organisation on Facebook that has stepped in to address the healthcare and grocery needs of the home quarantined by delivering medical supplies and groceries through a doorstep service.

Key drivers that led to formation of online communities during Covid-19

What cause did online communities gather around? How did they reach operational efficiency and reach by communicating through social platforms?

Shishir Joshi explains, “It is transparency in operation, ability of outreach and scale and the cause resonating with people that led to rapid growth of online communities.”

Aditya Maheshwari adds, “A lot of people are feeling helpless and if brands/communities choose to be helpful and make utility their purpose, you will see an automatic connection and uplift, which is something fundamental that communities we are trying to build.”

Neela Kaushik says, “There are different pockets of society requiring different form of aid. Getting organised as communities can greatly help in structuring and delivering relief and support.”

Mahita Nagaraj opines “I would say addressing critical need, integrity of operations, fulfillment of requirements, and finding a cause that resonates with the community. Matching supply and demand with honesty of purpose.”

Tone of message, critical?

How are online communities communicating authenticity of purpose? What are the learnings for brands?

Mahita Nagaraj says, “This brings us back again to honesty of purpose. If there is integrity in purpose, it will translate to integrity in content. Or delivery. Or operations.”

MeghdutRoyChowdhury adds, “I think consumers can spot the difference between genuine heartfelt communication and brand propaganda fairly easily. I've seen a lot of BIG brand alignment campaigns fall through because they were tone deaf and not just during the crisis.”

Content marketing and community building

How do communities remain engaged and motivated to follow through on the purpose of the operation? Hint: Content has a role to play.

Mahita Nagaraj says,“More than ever, people are realising the effectiveness of social media and its ability to bring together communities for the greater good. The ability to be able to help people from remote locations when the need arises.”

Shishir Joshi adds, “Content helps spread the virus of good deeds. A better virus to spread in these times. It inspires others. A larger community gets built.”

MeghdutRoyChowdhury shares an example, “The Global Citizen concert curated by Lady Gaga and supported by WHO brought in more than $150M for frontline workers by bringing in the biggest names in music together for a huge virtual concert. That's my pick for the best use case for the importance of media during the crisis.”

Aditya Maheshwari shares another example, “AB InBev joined thousands of museums and performing arts organizations in offering virtual performances, sponsoring the Bud Light Dive Bar Tour: Home Edition featuring live musicfrom popular artists livestreamed on YouTube, while Chipotle hosted Zoom hangouts where 3,000 fans could virtually mingle with celebrities. That's the kind of content brands want to create!”

Top Guest Tweet

Do social platforms need to transform to aid online communities?

Do platforms and businesses need to adapt to the current scenario and address the ‘New’ consumer needs?

Aditya Maheshwari says, “Not just platforms but even businesses need to adapt. Cutting edge startups are adapting to the need, are transforming to cater to the most essential needs at scale, like Rapido started delivering essentials.”

Emergence of New Age community builders

Role of technology and digital savvy audiences in transformation of the nature of online communities.

Mahita Nagaraj says, “New age community builders will continue to focus on work getting done, rather than building the community. This automatically will continue to build the community. And this is where the shift will be most tangible.

Aditya Maheshwari concludes “New age community builders will leverage Internet and online tools like they have not done ever before. Those who do, will build communities that will stick together through times like these.”

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