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First, let's clarify that when we say "make your own" social community, we mean make an inviting place for your existing community to come together.  Everyone has a community, after all (whether they recognize it or not).  


They might be scattered across several different Facebook groups, they might be hanging out in a Twitter chat hashtag, they might only be meeting at a friends house on Thursday nights.  They might be running into each other at an annual convention or taking a class together.  But there are a lot of reasons you might want to entice them over to your place.


Here are five good reasons to create an online community.




1. Search Engine Optimization

When you keep your community at arms length, away from your website, you give up a fantastic opportunity to gain authority with search engines.  Content posted to Facebook gives Mark Zuckerburg SEO "juice," not you.


2. Privacy

For certain online communities, privacy and security are paramount. Counseling, legal, and health service organizations often need to provide an environment away from prying eyes, where conversation can flow naturally without fear of exposure.


3. Control

Your own community platform can be customized to suit your branding, personality, and community character.  You get a chance to host the discussions around your topic.  If you cede your social conversation to the Internet at large, you may not get to participate in the dialogue.


4. Integration

When you are providing a helpful, engaging platform on your own turf, you have the chance to integrate your messaging.  In the crazy noise of the web, your site can become an oasis of useful information, nicely pulled together in one place.


5. Customer Service

Would you invite an honored guest over to someone else's house? No, you would roll out the red carpet at your own home. Building your own social community is one way to ensure that your customer experience is seamless and delight-inducing.


One final thought.  Try calling Facebook for support if something goes wrong.  Go ahead, I'll wait...



Image: aidanmorgan,


I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments, or connect with me on Twitter.


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