The legendary Greek Philosopher, Aristotle once said: “Man is by nature a social animal.” It means that man cannot live alone. We, as humans, are mutually dependent on a community. Such as saying holds when it comes to the Internet. People use the Internet to connect to the world. That is why online communities are rising. It is because of our need to connect and grow as social beings.
According to a digital marketing speaker Hong Kong online communities work like traditional groups. Common interest binds their members together. But one key advantage of online communities is that they maximize connections through the use of technology. They are now a go-to place for people searching for answers to their queries. They are platforms where people keep themselves updated with what is happening in the world today. As they foster self-expression and a sense of belonging, online communities became more meaningful today than peer-to-peer connections. Now, the question is: how to build an online community?
WHAT IS AN ONLINE COMMUNITY?
Each of us is probably a member of an online community. It may be a Facebook page, next-door neighbors, a LinkedIn network, etc. With the power of technology, an army of strangers can also be considered an online community. This makes its concept abstract. But in general, an online community is defined as a group of individuals who have common interests and shared values.
Today, an online community is an important part of marketing strategy. Every brand or business needs to build and manage a community of followers. It is very important to sustain their growth and operation. An online community provides insights into your target audiences’ needs and preferences. It is also an effective crowdsourcing platform. When members collaborate and discuss their problems, brands and businesses can grab the opportunity to create products and services that the members of the group desire. If members of a brand’s online community are happy, they will share it with others. It builds a positive reputation for the brand. As you nurture followers and members, an online community can promote loyalty and retention.
HOW TO BUILD AN ONLINE COMMUNITY?
- Select a community manager. A community manager is a dedicated team member who will be overseeing and supervising the group’s online activities. He or she will act as the chief operating officer of the online community. The community manager will work closely with the group to organize the branding of the community. In most cases, he or she will encourage community members to buy a product, buy another product, and continuously buy another product tier. In short, the community manager will also be the marketer for a brand.
- Define the goal and purpose. Every online community should have a purpose. This is the main core of binding online people together. Without a purpose, people will not understand why they should join an online community. For most brands and businesses, the goal and purpose of an online community answer the question: What experience do you want to give your customers? For example, you want to build a community of travelers for an airline company. The main goal of your online community may be sharing budget travel tips or cheap flights. discovery
- Select a platform. The third step to build an online community is to find a home for the group. Depending on your niche, it can either be any of the social media networks. Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and YouTube are ideal platforms for large online communities. Instagram, Pinterest, and WhatsApp are best for small online communities sharing the same creative passions. All of these are examples of free online community platforms. If you want to build an online community that you can fully control, you can host your own website and offer exclusive membership through accounts with user names and passwords.
- Develop norms and rules. Even if the purpose of your online community is to serve its members, it should still have norms and rules. First, who can be accepted as members of the group? Then, how can one maintain his or her membership? Develop norms and rules on how should each member connect to the group. Make it clear what they can post or cannot post within the community page.
- Promote your online community. Building an online community does not end in setting it up. As your online community goes live, you will also need to promote it. Like a product promotion, show people why they need to join your group. Tell them what pain points can your online community solve. You can partner with influencers to attract members. You can invite your contacts or network members to join your group. Or you may also incentivize your group members through a referral program. The key to building an online community is consistent promotion. Just like a brand’s product and services, be proud of your online community!