Debunking 10 community myths (with real-life examples from brands you love!)

Community-building has become a buzzword in the business world, often surrounded by myths and misconceptions. In this blog, we'll delve into the realities behind these myths, using real-world examples and case studies to highlight the strategies that successful brands have employed. Let's separate fact from fiction and uncover the truths behind thriving communities!

Online communities are everywhere these days, especially with the rise of post-pandemic loneliness and the downfall of social media. Almost everyone is looking for people and places to create meaningful connections, both in person and online. The good news is, more and more brands are hopping on the bandwagon to create safe and engaging places for people to come together and thrive as a community.

But with this rise in brand communities, we’ve noticed some myths and misconceptions floating around. You see, we’re in the business of helping brands build communities and have worked with hundreds of companies around the world over the last few years. So we wanted to share our experiences with you to bust some of the biggest community myths, and use real-life examples from brands you know and love to prove our point.

Ready to get started?

Top 10 community myths: busted!

Myth 1: Community building is only for big brands

Reality: Community building is not reserved for industry giants. In fact, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit immensely. Take the example of Glossier, a beauty brand that grew from a blog to a global community. By prioritizing customer engagement and fostering a sense of belonging, Glossier has shown that community building is about quality, not quantity.

Myth 2: Communities are built overnight

Reality: Building a community is a gradual process. Slack, the messaging platform, is a prime example. It started as a gaming company and shifted its focus to team communication. Slack's success story emphasizes the importance of persistence and evolution. Overnight success is rare; instead, consistent effort and adaptation lead to a thriving community.

Myth 3: Community building is just social media

Reality: While social media is a powerful tool, successful community building goes beyond likes and shares. Airbnb exemplifies this. By creating offline experiences like local tours and meetups, Airbnb transformed its digital platform into a global community. Diversifying engagement channels is crucial for building a resilient and multifaceted community.

Myth 4: Communities are only for B2C brands

Reality: Community building is not limited to consumer brands. Salesforce, a B2B company, has masterfully cultivated a community around its products. Through forums, events, and educational resources, Salesforce has empowered its users to connect and learn from each other. Who says B2B brands can't create engaged communities?

Myth 5: Communities are passive entities

Reality: Communities require active management. Reddit, a prime example, thrives because of its robust moderation system. By empowering community members to shape the platform, Reddit has fostered a sense of ownership. This myth-busting reality highlights the importance of proactive community management for sustained success.

Myth 6: Community building is expensive

Reality: Community building doesn't always demand a hefty budget. Harley-Davidson's HOG (Harley Owners Group) is proof of this. By leveraging existing customers and creating local chapters, Harley-Davidson built a global community without breaking the bank (learn more about the HD in-app community here). Strategic planning and resourcefulness can make community-building cost-effective.

Myth 7: Communities don't impact the bottom line

Reality: Contrary to the belief that communities are just for engagement, they can significantly impact revenue. Sephora's Beauty Insider Community is a testament to this. By integrating the community with its loyalty program, Sephora has turned engaged customers into loyal, high-spending advocates. Communities, when aligned with business goals, contribute to the bottom line.

Myth 8: communities are one-size-fits-all

Reality: Successful communities are tailored to their audience. Take LEGO, for instance. The LEGO Ideas platform allows fans to submit and vote on new set ideas. This personalized approach empowers the community and ensures LEGO products resonate with their diverse customer base. Customization is key to community success.

Myth 9: Communities are self-sustaining

Reality: Communities need ongoing attention and innovation. Take Apple, for example. They’re one of the most well-known and profitable brands in the world. But they continue nurturing their community even though they have loyal brand advocates. Through consistent product innovation and engaging its user base, Apple ensures the sustained success and vitality of its brand. The idea that communities can thrive without continuous effort is a myth that hinders success.

Myth 10: Communities are just about the brand

Reality: Communities are about the people within them. Wikipedia, a community-driven encyclopedia, exemplifies this truth. By empowering users to contribute and shape the content, Wikipedia has created a platform that serves the community's needs. Building a community is not just about promoting the brand but building a space for shared experiences and knowledge.

Transforming community myths into strategies for brand growth

Now that we've unraveled the mysteries behind these community myths, it's time to embark on a journey of brand discovery! Armed with real-life examples from beloved brands, we've shattered the illusions and exposed the secrets of successful community building. Whether you're a fan of Glossier's beauty revolution, Slack's evolution from gaming to messaging powerhouse, or Sephora's revenue-boosting Beauty Insider Community, there's a lesson for everyone. 

In a world where online communities are as common as emojis, it's crucial to recognize that community building is not reserved for the elite. From the mighty Apple to the playful LEGO, brands big and small can harness the power of community to foster connections that go beyond the screen. So, let's wave goodbye to the notion that communities are passive bystanders or that they demand a hefty budget. Whether you're a B2C beauty giant like Sephora or a B2B powerhouse like Salesforce, community building is a dynamic and customizable journey. 

It's time to transform myths into strategies, engage your audience, and build a space where genuine connections lead to lasting success. Cheers to embracing the truths, dispelling the myths, and creating communities that stand the test of time!

If you’re interested in building your own community, check out our free resources at our Community Corner.


Share article
Join the
Amity Social Club
Get quality insights on building digital communities and driving app growth with social features

Join the Amity Social Club monthly newsletter:

Thank You For Subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We promise we don't spam. By clicking Subscribe, I acknowledge receipt of the Amity Privacy Policy.
Subscribe to our Product Updates Newsletter

Don't miss out on the most recent updates, enhancements, and new features.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
We promise we don't spam. By clicking Subscribe, I acknowledge receipt of the Amity Privacy Policy.