Community Everywhere

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 18 January 2024, 10:25 CAT

Online communities were fairly prolific prior to COVID, but the pandemic shot community participation into the stratosphere. While there has been and still is, a strong case for the more micro-type communities, with a narrow focus that garner more trust, the 2024 trend of Community Everywhere, sees the emergence what will become known as community ecosystems. 

In 2022, community became The New Normal and as online communities continued to evolve, community managers recognised the growing areas of ROI beyond brand advocacy. In 2023 trends such as AI in gamification as well as community-based marketing.

While our focus is generally not on brand communities, but rather on communities within the realms of socio-economic impact.

Having said that, there are certain trends that apply across the board. Where both social impact and brand communities should see constant growth in user advocacy, in social impact communities, ideation is a valued output driving innovation and for brand communities, ideation could be viewed as inexpensive R&D. 

The 2024 trend of Community Everywhere, means that community managers will be faced with a content aggregation challenge, across multiple platforms. A conversation may start on Whatsapp, move to Insta and find its way onto a dedicated forum. 

Important to insert a note, that when we talk about community management, it’s not about posting across social platforms and measuring likes and comments. In our world, community management is about audience insights that allow for relevant content curation that drives substantive engagement.

For community managers to get a firm grip on Community Everywhere, a robust commitment to stakeholder mapping and engagement is required. 

Add to this, the challenge of disruption within the world of social media platform, and the challenge is amplified. 

My thoughts are that Community Everywhere will impact brand communities far more significantly than communities operating in the socio-economic impact arena. In the case of the latter, trust is probably ranked more highly as a non negotiable and communities managers working social impact communities will have the challenge of ensuring that trust and safety are front and centre for community members. 

Without a doubt, not matter the focus of the community, an interesting year of challenges, lies ahead. 

Janice Scheckter, CEO of Indigo.Africa

Indigo.Africa’s online community work includes, Africa education communities and ecosystems, Township ecosystems focused on transforming local economies and communities in healthcare, focused on democratising health data. 

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