Digital connectivity plays a vital role in keeping people connected; after all, 77% of global internet users say that the most important group they’re part of operates online. Gen Z, in particular, crave community and connection more than ever and are using the collective power of digital communities to create a kinder, safer, more welcoming internet for all.

Collective action is inspiring new modes of communication and brands must consider their cultural relevance in these spaces to create a sense of belonging that young audiences crave. Social apps with communities at their heart, like Twitch and Discord, are giving Gen Z the boost they need to feel confident online; 65% of them state they feel more confident using these social apps over more traditional feed-centric apps like Instagram and Twitter.

Next-generation communication

Enter next-gen social platforms which are providing renewed vigor for defining and constructing a new form of community and freedom of expression.

Geneva is a free social messaging app combining text, audio and visual tools to deliver the world’s best group chat for keeping communities connected. Since launching to the public in 2021, the app has quadrupled its user growth this year alone, particularly among Gen Z.

Beauty and fashion brands have been testing the platform to build hyper-engaged online communities and one-to-one relationships with customers. Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez, for example, has been engaging audiences by inviting them into the brand’s ‘house’ to talk about bigger topics beyond products, sharing resources for mental health.

Discord is an instant messaging social platform popular with gamers, giving users the ability to communicate as part of different communities via ‘servers’. Samsung, for example, is using the platform as part of its metaverse strategy, creating a server on Discord with two separate rooms for key audiences: gamers and Web3 fans interested in NFT or metaverse-related topics, regularly interacting and engaging with them to test their strategy.

Somewhere Good is another example of a digital space which creates experiences built around trust, knowledge sharing and authentic kinship. The positivity-focused social media platform is brought to life with voice and audio. Founded by people of color, it focuses on healthy conversations and positive experiences for underrepresented members of society.

For social film discovery, Letterboxd is a social network that allows cinephiles to keep a diary of opinions on films, write reviews and interact with others who have similar interests.

These closed-door communities are providing opportunities to create safe spaces for collaboration amongst like-minded people with similar interests, whether it’s gaming, sport, music, fashion, family, food and more. Brands are welcome in these spaces but have got to be in it for the right reasons to create quality connections with these communities.

Meaningful connections with like-minded audiences

With the influx of community-based chat apps, influencers with followings of all sizes (macro to micro) are becoming tastemakers on these platforms and leveraging the power of fandom where people are connecting on mutual grounds. Creators are taking their trusted like-minded audiences to spaces where they are guaranteed to connect with each other in meaningful ways – giving brands a unique opportunity to be part of those conversations.