Online communities can positively affect businesses with customer loyalty and reduced support costs. They can also be a place for like-minded people to find support and companionship.
Whether you’re looking to boost your business or bring people together, we take a look at how you can create a successful online community.
Build an Online Community
An online community is simply a group of people that gather online in a central place with regular activity. This could be a social media website like Facebook or Twitter, a forum like Mumsnet or a shared blog like Wikipedia.
Starting an online community is easy, but building it to be successful and maintaining a high level of activity and members can be hard.
Having a plan and following our tips will help you build your online community by helping you stay on track and tackle potential problems.
1. Have Purpose
Know what you’re building your community for and why. Is it to increase sales, up your brand awareness, learn from your customers or provide support for a product? Perhaps you’re just looking to bring people together that enjoy the same things as you do and share your knowledge with them.
Know what you want to achieve and why you’re doing it. It will help you figure out how to do it and make decisions later on that will always come back to your core purpose.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you know what you’re doing, you need to know who you’re doing it for. The demographic your targeting will influence where you host your community and how you tell people about it.
You can have more than one audience, but you should have a primary audience and a secondary one. When you know your audience, make sure their needs align with the purpose of your community; otherwise, they might not come.
3. Plan Your Content
Before you launch, plan your content, where you will build your community, and how you will share it.
If your primary audience is an older less tech-savvy generation, you should probably avoid the latest trending apps or websites.
Think about the behavior of your target audience, where else do they go online; what other interests do they have? If you can connect with people outside of your main purpose you will draw a larger target audience and be more successful.
Try and build content around other relevant topics and don’t forget about holidays that are relevant to your community. You could even introduce challenges and create your own challenge coins.
4. Be Realistic
Don’t promise more than you can offer. Create realistic goals and when you will reach them so you can track your progress. If you want fast growth you will need to put the time in to regularly post and interact with your community until you have dedicated members with their own regular involvement.
5. Have Guidelines and Rules
It’s all too easy for people to cruel or controversial and take your community off-topic. Set out clear guidelines of what is and is not acceptable and enforce them removing members which repeatedly break the rules.
It will keep your community a safe and happy place for everyone else involved.
There’s no time to waste, start planning and building your online community today. Remember to follow our simple steps of having purpose, being prepared, and keeping tabs on activity. Explore the rest of our website for more great articles.