Online Communities: A Place to Work - dummies

Online Communities: A Place to Work

By Deborah Ng

Researchers gather data by asking questions or viewing behaviors, so it’s natural that online communities often harbor researchers, most of whom let the community members know their intentions. Although researchers come to do a job, they also participate and enjoy the atmosphere of the communities.

In addition, online communities are welcome distractions for home-based workers and telecommuters. Many of them miss the camaraderie that an outside place of employment has to offer, so they go to their favorite online communities to enjoy conversation throughout the day.

These communities also work well for people who are passionate about or want to know more about their business. Accountants, marketing people, and even wait staff all have places to interact online. They like knowing that other people are experiencing the same things and that they’re not alone.

Additionally, Internet marketers and traditional salespeople are discovering that there’s money to be made online. If a company wants to promote a lemonade brand, for example, it may try to build a presence on Facebook — not because it expects folks to do nothing but discuss lemony beverages, but because a Facebook presence can draw people in to have a conversation.

Marketers don’t even need to create their own communities to drive sales, however. They’re happy enough to participate in existing groups and networks. This participation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The best online salespeople are low-key, productive pillars of the community. They drive sales because members trust them.

Bloggers and other online authors also like to use online communities for marketing or promotional purposes, but they have a different reason: They want to drive traffic to their websites and create awareness for their names, their blogs, and even their businesses.

Many highly trafficked blogs and websites earn the bulk of their income through advertising and product sales, so it’s essential for them to bring in new traffic each day.