Humans are social animals. We thrive within a community. With the same fundamental belief, over the last few years, online communities have become the new trend. If you want to create an online community but don’t know where to start, this article is for you. We will explore the basics of online communities and understand how they impact your brand.
What is an online community?
It is pertinent to know that 85% of marketers and community builders believe that having a branded online community improves customer journey and increases trust? Additionally, members of such online communities prefer communities over social media sites because it makes them feel appreciated, heard, and creates a sense of belonging.
Benefits of an online community:
Online communities work amazingly to foster trust amongst their members. If you are a brand and you have a community wherein people can interact with each other and the brand spokespersons, they are more likely to trust your brand. Communities also are a great way to build your credibility. Your audience needs you to act like a person and not as an organization, and online communities are the first step to bridge the gap between you and your consumers.
Helps in engagement
Engagement is the most primary form of communication and it is highly crucial for brands if they want to stay relevant. With engagement, you can know what your brand is doing right and what needs to be improved upon. If you regularly engage with your audience in the form of polls, facts, opinions, and answering their queries, such customers are likely to become your brand advocates and overall it works positively for your brand awareness and brand image.
Also Read: 7 Steps to Building an Online Community
A lot of times, organizations spend a lot of money on researching what their audience wants. With the help of an online community, you can treat your members as focus groups and understand what an average customer expects from you. You can interact with them in the form of polls and know what changes you can make to your products and services to serve your consumers better.
Increase in return on investment
By creating an online community, you are building a network of people that are interested in your brand. When you make your audience feel heard, they are more likely to become brand advocates, purchase from your brand in the future, and recommend your brand to their friends and family. All this ensures that your return of investment due to building an online community is high and it is profitable for you in the long run.
Lastly, everything that a brand does is to improve its image in the market and for more customers to know its presence. With an online community, you can spread more awareness about your brand. If you keep your members happy, they will recommend your products and services to others and attract more audiences towards your community and brand. Making a community today is the first step to building a strong brand in the future.
How to create an online community?
Research and find a niche
Typically, an online community is about a particular topic that its members are interested in. However, for brands, the online community can be all about the brand wherein information can be given about new products and services, discount codes can be given, polls can be conducted, and so on.
Have clear goals
Like everything else, your community needs to have a fixed goal in mind, which can be later changed depending on the requirement. If you are looking for brand advocates, converting current customers into long-term customers can be your goal. Your goal depends on what you expect from your online community. Your goals can also be short-term or long-term and can be flexible.
For an online community to run smoothly, you will need to have certain guidelines in place that need to be followed by the members of the community. Guidelines are important because they determine what kind of posts are allowed in the online community, how members can interact with each other, and what kind of communication is not allowed. Guidelines ensure a hassle-free experience for everyone in the community.
Moderators are members that take care of the overall community and ensure that communications happen seamlessly and the members in the community exist peacefully and without any tiffs. Moderators can also decide which post works for the community and they have the power to remove posts that are not relevant to the community or if they work against the purpose of the community.
Once an online community is created, now is the time to promote it. An ideal way to promote your online community is by using social media. Your audience is online and you need to build a strong online presence. You can encourage your customers to be a part of your online community by offering them discounts, loyalty programs, and referral codes.
Lastly, if you want to monetize your online community, you can offer your audience different kinds of subscription plans. You can have extra discounts and extra offers for people who sign up for such plans. Starting an online community can seem overwhelming, but with WordPress, it is easier than ever. After all, WordPress is the best content management system out there and it provides you with a plethora of themes and plugins that make your experience better. We highly recommend that you check out the Reign PeepSo WordPress Social Network Theme for your online community needs. It helps you to develop a scalable community website like Facebook in no time. Connecting with people online has never been this easy!