People Use Online Communities to Create Brand Awareness - dummies

People Use Online Communities to Create Brand Awareness

By Deborah Ng

Companies aren’t the only entities that are interested in enhancing their online presence; many community members are looking to do so as well. Thanks to social media, lots of folks are using the Internet to get their names out there.

They want to be recognized as experts or authorities in their chosen fields, and online communities allow them to do so. They want themselves or their businesses to be recognizable brands. The Internet is the perfect place to grow both a reputation and a brand.

Personal branding is the buzz phrase for the art of promoting one’s self and one’s name. Professional branding is the same thing for a business. Good personal and professional branding means networking with all sorts of communities, both online and off.

Though seeing and being seen are big parts of branding, it’s more about making others aware of the brand and seeing it as something important. It’s making the name synonymous with the niche.

Many people in the offline world aren’t aware that each community has “famous” people: well-known bloggers, popular social-media professionals, renowned public-relations professionals, and so on. They’re famous mostly within their own groups, but their fame may spill over into other communities as well.

Top marketing professionals are now being seen as top names in blogging and social media. Famous offline radio announcers are crossing over into the world of podcasting and Internet video. Other people are making names for themselves by sharing instructional videos on cooking or cards.

What’s even more interesting about online up-and-comers is how many of them discard the communities that helped promote their names after they’ve achieve their end results. For example, some members of an online community for freelance writers were very obvious in their self-promotion, and after they raised awareness of their own communities or interests, they moved on.

Also, the more “famous” some folks become online, the more likely they are to hang out with the in crowd instead of those participating in a lesser known community. They use some online communities simply as springboards.

Still, online communities are perfect for growing a personal or professional brand. Members can hone their skills, share their expertise, and get advice from experts. They may become friendly with the movers and shakers in their field and even collaborate with them or land employment opportunities.