Online communities have become widely popular in recent times. Today, most of us are an active member of some online community or the other. These community websites help to keep us engaged all the time. They provide a platform where we can interact with each other and share our feelings and ideas. You will also find abundant knowledge on these community platforms. However, designing an online community is not an easy task. There are thousands of features and functions that you need to include in your community website. You will have to properly plan and build your community website if you want to become highly successful in your online community business. Maintaining an online community is also quite challenging. Here, in our article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about creating and maintaining an online community.
Designing a community involves various important steps. So, let us have a look at each of these steps in details:
#1 Define a goal and a purpose:
Before creating your online community, you need to define a particular purpose. There are a lot of communities that are created without any definite purpose. As a result, these communities fail to succeed. In most cases, the ultimate goal is to get back maximum revenue. So, you will have to properly plan out everything so that you are able to give your users an excellent experience. You should give your most-engaged members access to some of the most exclusive content of your website. You can also connect your members with other industry influences. Another really good way to develop your community is to start a reward membership program.
#2 Build a proper membership profile:
Your membership profile is very important in the development of your community. You should mention all the important aspects of your community in your profile itself. Make sure that the member profile is realistic and helps to acquire the trust of people. You should mention all the membership criteria in the membership profile. You can also explain to the audience what benefit they will receive on joining the community. You may also offer certain free discounts and offers to the new joinees.
#3 Build your community profile:
Once you get to know who your target audience is, you will have to build your community profile. Your community profile must have all the features and functions which a fully functional community should have. You can include forums in your community where the members having common goals and interests can communicate with each other. You may also recognise and reward your popular members. In this way, you will be able to connect with your members and also acquire their trust.
#4 Choose your community manager:
Merely creating a community is not enough. The community will also have to be managed at regular intervals to keep up the interest of the people. You need to invest a lot of time in engaging your community members, moderating conversation and also addressing the queries of the members. The community manager should be passionate about the needs and requirements of the customers. He also needs to have a proper knowledge of how to handle an online community.
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#5 Growing your community:
Growing your online community can be quite a difficult task. It requires a lot of dedication and commitment on your part. You need to hire the right community managers for your community who are passionate about their jobs. You should also provide personalized support to all the members of your community. This will give your members an excellent experience. You can also try to create a sense of belonging among the members of your community. Try to understand the power users and focus on them. They will have a major role to play in the growth of your community. You can also encourage content creation for your community platform.
#6 Increasing Participation:
An online community is formed by its members. So, you might make it a point to try and increase the participation of the members of your online community. You can offer online registrations to the people. This will make them more inclined to register to your platform. You can also allow social sharing. This is another excellent way of keeping your members engaged. You can also offer different types of membership plans to your members. Another great way to increase participation is email marketing. This will keep your community members up-to-date about all the happenings of your community.
#7 Measuring the performance:
A lot of tools and metrics are available using which you will be able to measure the performance of your online community. The first metric is audience. You can understand how well your community is performing by measuring the number of audiences. This will also help you to understand what exactly your audience is expecting from your online community. The next important metric is activity. You need to understand and analyse the activities of your community members. This has an effective role to play in understanding the interest and tendencies of your members. You can and also try to post relevant content on your community to make sure that your audience keeps coming back to your website.
There are various ways in which you can monetize your community website. You can charge your users for membership plans. Another great way to monetize your website is advertisements. You can look for companies who are willing to sell their services and products to your community members. You may also sell different types of products in your community.
This is how you will be able to manage your online community both smoothly and effectively. So, if you are a community owner and you want to take your community website to an entirely new level, then these are the steps that you must follow. In case you face any kind of trouble in managing your community website, feel free to reach out to us.