Community Includes Social
Community isn’t a destination, it’s a state of mind.
That state of mind doesn’t vanish when you close one web page and open another.
If you restrict your definition of community only to places you fully control, the community experience will be worse for your members.
For example, if members have strong personal relationships with your organisation in one channel they don’t want to be treated as complete strangers (or ignored) when they interact with you on another.
To pretend social media isn’t a part of community work when all of your community members use it far more than any other channel is like a public speaker pretending only in-person count when their members spend countless hours watching online videos every week.
If there’s a sure-fire way to condemn our work to irrelevancy, ignoring the largest channels in favour of some purist definition of community would be it. Just look at this graph below:
These two channels should be deeply entwined at any organisation. This cuts both ways too. You want top members answering questions on social media as well as a community hub. You want community members sharing and promoting what you publish on social media channels. They’re far more likely to do that if they know and trust the team creating the content.
Sure, you might have different goals for each channel, but it’s still the same community.