The biggest social media marketing trend is back: online communities are on top again.

Social media marketing was going in the wrong direction for a couple of years. I mean, the annoying ads all over the platforms and messengers. Who clicks on them? Clearly, unless the ad is perfectly targeted, it’s just a waste of money and tons of other resources. And trust me, perfectly targeted ads don’t come along every day.

Today, if you want to build a strong online presence, build a community.

First of all, communities provide you with user-generated content, so half the job is done for you.

And secondly, the content looks more genuine, more real, and more user-centric.

Look at your Facebook timeline: remember how often you used to see posts from pages you follow and how much more frequent group posts have become instead? Well, that’s because of Facebook’s “new” community-centric policy that Zuckerberg’s team has been optimizing for the last couple of years. It also provides a horizontal distribution of information which is (or at least looks) more democratic than ever.

And check out the “spaces” on Quora. The platform has been user-centric forever, but now they pay more attention to the communities.

Even the learning app Duolingo is #1 in the world due to the communities if forms. The meetups, the contests and leagues; it’s all a part of the community-building approach that keeps the company running and users adding.

Keep it all in mind when planning your next campaign: maybe instead of PPC, you’ll spend a bit more on quality content that can help build a community and add value in the long term.

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