Social Business Communities: Understanding The Different Types

We at OSM are always looking at ways to help businesses great and small by offering view points on different subjects and offering you tips that you could incorporate into your business. One of the ways that we reported on is to do with your LinkedIn profile on how to improve it; another that has proven very popular with our readers is where to apply your efforts within the social media world.

Now we wanted to report on something that sometimes gets missed when looking at the world of social media, communities. There are a few main ones that you really need to sit up and take note of. The biggest one will always be the external community; according to these are groups that share common interests such as support issues and interests. This can be used by organizations for feedback in a general manner. Lots of large businesses have customer communities, two example brands would be Nike and Microsoft.

Next up is the internal communities; these are ones that exist for employees that have been implemented in organizations. I guess you could call them an organizational social group. In a best case scenario, internal communities can use different tools together to share information (perhaps overseas). Sharepoint is one that has been suggested within Jacob Morgan’s article and from my time working in a large organization it really did make people work in coherently amongst multiple users sometimes overseas. Internal communities are all about team work.

Next up is perhaps the one that will be of most interest to you, the hybrid community. People that are considered as within the hybrid community are not in the internal or external, they are somewhere in between. They are not from within the company but equally their opinions matter a great deal. The example used by Jacob Morgan is Walmart and its suppliers or the community of influential employees within an organization to advise on valuable business decisions, things like consumer pricing, product markup and what sort of deals to offer. See they don’t site in or out, internal or external however their opinion matters and is perhaps the most important. They can help make a success or a failure.

If you are looking to strategically add your business into the mix socially then you should really consider all three of these types of communities as they all serve different purposes and try to incorporate all of them. The important thing to remember with each type of community is that they are all offering different purposes to your business.