The official Motribe blog, written by the founders

Interests vs Friends; Mobile vs Desktop

There are some very integral concepts that a company needs to understand when entering the mobile medium. Things like handset capabilities, mobile marketing acquisition and user insights.
One of the more important concepts that we have chosen to focus on at Motribe is interest-based social networks.

Through previous experience we’ve discovered that users on mobile phones want to meet people who share their interests. They are not necessarily looking to connect with people they already know.

Interests vs Friends

It’s a common misconception that peoples friends reflect their interests. I’ll use myself as an example. I have tattoos, I like board sports but I’m somewhat of a geek too. My core group of 5 oldest friends like none of the previously mentioned things. This leaves me at a bit of a loss.

When I create content online and share this content on desktop web based social networks I share the content with my core group of friends who have no interest in my hobbies. At all. Which means this content is wasted on them and I often end up ostracizing myself from them in one way or another.

This is the gap that mobile seems to be filling. People are turning to their mobile phones as an outlet to discover like-minded individuals from around the world who they are not friends with.

This key concept can awaken a mass of people who kept very quiet because they felt marginalised by society.

Brands would do well to figure out what niches or interests their brands fit in to or fill out and mobilise the people within these groups on mobile.

Forcing vs building

It’s definitely not as easy as I’m making it sound. There are very fine lines to tread when building an interest based community on mobile or anywhere else.

Research needs to be done about the community or interest you are investing in. Moderating the community is also an imperative and necessary process. If you make one wrong step, promote one wrong photograph, blog post or concept the community will rise up and rebel. I might sound slightly dramatic here but I’ve seen it happen.

Communities need to be understood, geographically relevant, demographically relevant and then allowed to grow organically on top of marketing acquisition. A network’s success and stability cannot be forced. Users must be allowed to build a community amongst themselves with guidance from the community leader.

Promoting vs listening

Sometimes it’s difficult to build a network and not promote something; an ideal, a brand, become a dictator and rule with an iron fist. This would be an fail of epic proportions.

Listening is often more valuable than punting and promoting an agenda. The best possible thing to do is let a community own the community, own the message and own the positive sentiments in the community. Often you will find that the community does much of the moderation for the owner of the community. They will be the guardians and custodians of the message, the brand and the ethos inside of the community. So listen and let them do what they need to do. If your brand/product/message/interest/hobby is good enough, the community will excel.
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