Person holding a brand new Apple iPhone 6s [Courtesy]

One of the mistakes that people make is viewing online communities only for personal use.

The communities that straddle the digital landscape through social networks are beneficial to businesses and society in general.

Online communities are the power behind the context that enables the exploration of real people in real life to gain an in-depth understanding of needs, drivers, and motivations for key audience segments, brands or categories.

They are the minefields of consumer-driven insights that businesses can use to guide early or late-stage innovation initiatives for products and services in consumer-packaged goods, retail, tech, finance healthcare and more.

Netizens are also key in assessing and optimising new products, concepts, campaigns, and omnichannel touchpoints along the consumer journey.

For a society such as Kenya’s, where there have been rapid developments in the digital landscape, the power of the online communities, if well exploited can help in the understanding of society, markets and people through qualitative insights that bring life to life.

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) estimates that as of December 31, 2021, there were 65.08 million active mobile (SIM) subscriptions while the total number of mobile phone devices connected to mobile networks was 59.58 million, out of which 33.06 million were feature phones and 26.51 million smartphones. 

This development witnessed in the country’s ICT landscape has been attributed to the active role played by online communities in socio-political and economic debates that are shaping the country’s fortunes.

Only those that are not alive to the influence of the online communities may want to draw a line between them and real people.

These social networks, just like the people who belong to them, are key in helping brands get closer to consumers to build insights, drive innovation and gain influence by engaging with on-tap audiences who are eager to make an impact.