Thinking outside the box

26 03 2010

Most online communities are shaped around passionate subjects – sport, food, art, babies, travel… and the list goes on.

But what about the communities that have a less interesting and engaging subject matter? Can an online community successfully exist?

While not everyone may be passionate about topics like insurance, utilities, and other seemingly ‘dry’ topics – these can be important subjects to us – especially when our house has just been broken into and are in the midst of the claiming process. Brands who fall into the latter category shouldn’t shy away from creating a presence online, or creating an online community.

Communities formed around passionate subjects tend to organically grow online without much difficulty – but the normal rules of engagement, interaction and content should not be forgotten.

Communities with a seemingly less interesting subject matter may have to work harder for recruitment and engagement, but they can form useful tools for brands such as customer service or provide interesting information on other topics that are related to your company.

World Nomads, a travel insurance provider provides a fantastic example of how an insurance brand can engage their customers around a subject they are passionate in – travel. World Nomads Adventures includes travel tips, photos, videos and stories from other members.

Insurance companies shouldn’t want to  be remembered or engaged with the customers only when they are claiming – building a positive relationship this way is extremely difficult (even with fantastic customer service) as this is undoubtably a stressful and upsetting time for most.

Any brand setting up an online community should be prepared to think out of the box, extend their subject matter and be committed to building a sustainable relationship with their customers. Talk about things that are happening within the company but also find other topics which are a natural fit for the brand and your members – there has to be a reason for them to come back for more, and engaging content should be one of them.