Do you want to become a pro community builder? Let’s face it, online communities sure have come a long way since they first appeared in the nineties. Those were the days when Yahoo and Aol were the go-to social spot for those lucky few who had internet access. Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without social media and all the other online services we take for granted.
Why you need your own community
For anyone wanting to become a successful online community builder, the sheer number of options can seem overwhelming. That’s probably why a lot of businesses and individuals just default to Facebook, because that’s where pretty much everyone is. But that also means it’s much harder to get people’s attention. And, there’s far more to community building than just opening a Facebook page.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the tools every community builder should have:
#1. Community blogs
Did you know companies that blog get 67% more customers than those who don’t? Blogging is a proven way to build trust, rank in the search results and create interest in your brand.
You might be wondering what all that has to do with community, but there’s an important link. Blogging is also a way to start a conversation, and that’s the lifeblood of any community.
To really make an impact, consider publishing at least four posts per week. Give people something to talk about by telling stories and sharing valuable information. Show off your expertise and passion. Strike up a conversation with your readers in the comments, and you’ll be well on your way towards establishing a community of engaged fans.
- Publish at least four times per week for maximum effect
- Share your passion and expertise to build your reputation
- Respond to your reader’s comments and invite them to get involved
#2. Live-streaming events
Video is the king of online marketing. In fact, video posts are 12 times more likely to be shared on social media than text- and image-based posts. Now imagine what live streaming can achieve!
There’s no better way to engage your audience than face-to-face. It helps you humanise your brand and even expand your services. For example, many fitness trainers and personal coaches use Disciple’s live-streaming feature to make their training sessions available to everyone. You can also use live-streaming to host events, social get-togethers, or even run your own community talk show.
- Hold virtual online events like competitions and training sessions
- Educate your audience with online coaching
- Get to know your members on a more personal level
#3. Common interest groups
One of the major drawbacks of the familiar social networks is there are too many people and companies all vying for attention. With ads constantly getting in the way too, it’s difficult to keep on topic. Trying to make an effective focus group on Facebook, for example, is a bit like trying to have a picnic in a hurricane.
Creating common interest groups will help you personalise the community experience. Just like channels on Slack or subreddits on Reddit, these interest groups keep people on topic and make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.
These focus groups are great for bringing people together. Add following and friending into the mix, and you’ve got all the familiar functions of social media. But, if you have your own community app, you can avoid the drawbacks.
- Have a group dedicated to welcoming and introducing new members
- Open a group for each topic area, such as customer support, feedback, and ideas
- Keep your community in order with clear guidelines for each group
Online communities come in many different forms and serve myriad purposes. Of course, you can’t be everywhere at once, and trying to connect with your audience across a dozen different networks is an enormous drain on your time and money. But what if you could enjoy everything we’ve mentioned above all rolled into one app that you own and control?