Yet Another Bike Community

In the 3 years that we’ve attended Interbike, the industry has started not only understanding and embracing blogging and Social Media, but also now launching their own communities. Interbike saw

Ok, cool, but do we need yet another bike community and more fragmentation of an already niche audience? At Textura Design (the parent of Bike Hugger) we advise businesses to not start their own social networks or communities, but instead to join one and take part in the conversation about their brand and products. I talked about that with my fellow panelists during the Social Media session at Interbike.

Interbike 08 Day One: Another bike community Business should start a YouTube contest, get themselves onto Flickr, or most importantly just start blogging like SWOBO does with their blog. While Bummer Life, may look like “Fixies, trucker hats, and PBR,” it’s really a sophisticated and crafty approach to brand.

I don’t know when it will happen, but I hope soon that marketers pop their heads out of their cubes and realize the web isn’t about “clicks and banner ads anymore.” It’s a Google economy: page rank v. impressions. Want proof? Google yourself. More proof? Try launching your own community! While I understand the thinking that an affinity club for your product will rule the blogworld, and I’m not dissing anyone that does it, I’m asking, “but why, really?”

Wouldn’t a hub of all-things-commuter written by geeks in that community make for a better spend? Wonder what that Mobile Social thing is all about? It’s more than cyclists harmoniously united by a mutual love of beer, schwag, and music. It’s about connecting the industry to their customers. Ibex owners really dig the product and really dig talking to the Ibex brand manager all about Merino wool.

When you launch your own, brand-specific community, what it says is “our brand doesn’t fit into your life.” That may be a TRUE message, but it’s unlikely that it’s the one you’re going for. Instead try a “ We make bikes and you like bikes; so, let’s talk.”

Readers? Your thoughts? Do you want to join any of these communities? Would you start your own?