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Digital communities and their impact on the digital ecosystem

María Lucía Villegas

María Lucía Villegas

3 min read

Digital communities and their impact on the digital ecosystem

Last week we released our December trend of the month video in which we talked a little bit about digital communities and how this trend brings many benefits to consumers (we’ll get on that later on) and if it’s used properly, to brands. In this article, we'll analyze where digital communities started, where they are now, why they’re growing so fast, and what strategies brands can adopt to make the best of this trend.

Since the beginning of the internet, it was inevitable that as soon as users started actively participating in digital spaces and those spaces took the role of interaction channels, even if we weren’t familiarized with social media as we know it today. With the popularization of social media platforms, it’s become easier to form these groups, also called communities and we’ve seen people coming together on many social platforms around certain topics of interest.

In the past, most communities that were constituted on those platforms were already established on other channels. One good example is the comic community, which has always provided spaces like conferences, tournaments, or summits where participants could meet each other and create bonds with other people with shared interests. Comic-Con San Diego, one of the biggest comic conferences in the world, had over 130.000 attendees in 2019 and 2.500 members of the media from over 30 countries.

Like this event, many around the world solidify the user experience when interacting with a brand, a product, or a service. These communities not only give consumers other ways to engage with a product but they’re likely to also increase consumer loyalty as they allow constant interaction with them.

We see this kind of engagement frequently in the music industry. Social media platforms became like an everyday conference for music fans because it allows them to interact with other fans and discuss in real-time their favorite artist. There are hundreds of digital communities out there formed by fans that in revenue translate up to 50% to 80% of the artist’s overall revenue. This is the impact that communities can have on brands and in this case, an artist, that may be misinterpreted if we analyze those purchases individually.

Influencers know this more than anyone, they need to prioritize their work on building a community, trust, and bond with their followers to stay relevant in the market. Releasing products and profitable content comes second. Most influencers do not become influencers out of nowhere, they can identify what their followers want and provide it to them (adding creativity on how they do that). Now we can see communities with multiple topics of interest like plants, astrology, conspiracy theories, or celebrity gossip. There is a market for everything, they said.

Here’s where brands can get into the mix and take advantage not only of this trend but in case you have not yet built a community, of already constituted communities out there. We started seeing the roots of the trend with influencer marketing that now has evolved into partnerships between brands and creators to collaborate generating content or developing products.

That’s how with the help of creators, it will be easier and faster for brands to adopt these communities. This will only be possible when brands stop thinking their followers are their community, a community means more than the single action of following a brand, it implies time and effort put into creating real connections with these humans behind the screens.

Knowing this, many new digital strategies come from this trend and companies can adopt them to develop digital products and innovative platforms. One of them, that we’ll see increasing next year is the in-house digital community, decentralizing social interactions from social media platforms and allowing companies to collect more accurate data about their consumer.

This is only the beginning of a digital environment that is being created and improved every day in which users can experience day-to-day activities on their screens. All these innovations that are surging in the digital ecosystem reinforce the future of digital living, the metaverse as the most influential of them all. That’s why as consumers adopt all these new behaviors we, like companies, need to use them as a tool for growth.

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