Online communities are growing in importance as more businesses go online and remotely. Your customers can better interact with your business and connect with other people who have the same interests as them.
When you start a new business, your first sales usually come from your friends and family, but it becomes difficult to find new customers later. Of course, you can run ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter, but they will only earn you sales as long as you keep paying money on the ads.
Another avenue you can take is influencer marketing. If you can find the right influencer for your business, you can easily find large-scale clients to buy from you. But that too is for a short time when the influencer posts an article or video. People will forget about your business unless they stay engaged. How do you make sure your customers come back to buy from you without spending money on ads? How do you keep them engaged?
This is where an online community comes in.
What is an online community? And why is this important?
Communities come in all shapes and sizes. It could be a small community of 10 members or even a huge community of 100,000 members. A community is a group of people who share common interests. In an online community, these people engage in discussions, share experiences and build stronger relationships.
Online communities are growing in importance as more businesses go online and remotely. Your customers can better interact with your business and connect with other people who have the same interests as them. This increases their likelihood of buying from you again and becoming your loyal customers.
How to create an online community
Step 1: Choose the right platform for your online community. There are many platforms to choose from. starting with Facebook groups, Slack, etc. up to full community platforms like Discord, Tribe.so, Mighty Network or Scenes.
Once you’ve finalized your community platform, you begin to create value for members of your community. The best way to start giving value to your members is by hosting events, AMAs or webinars. The goal is to find something that helps people in your community achieve their goals. These could be secret tips, tricks or hacks, blog posts or helpful videos.
2nd step: Once you’ve tried a few things and got feedback on them, you’ll understand what works with your community and what people get the most value from. Once you understand what works, it’s time to take things up a notch.
Double this content, bring more expert information to members of your community. Keep them engaged and focus on their engagement. You can give specific roles to members of your community like moderators, first members, VIP monitors, administrators, etc. It will strengthen their sense of belonging and they will return the favor by making your community a safe and healthy place for everyone.
Does it even work?
Sand Cloud is a great example for understanding how community helps a business grow. Sand Cloud used Instagram to create a community of people who loved beaches and seas and could join them in their mission to clean up the ocean.
Instead of going for the big influencers, they choose to go for micro-influencers who share the same passion for beaches and who have an engaged audience. They contacted all those who showed interest in their mission. It took a year of hard work, but it allowed them to generate $ 400,000 in profit in the first year itself.
Just Strong is another great example of how building an online community benefits a business. Just Strong has an ambassador program, but not just a common program, they have an online verification system that decides whether a candidate is allowed to become an ambassador or not. They do this to ensure that the values of the brand ambassadors match the brand itself. All of these ambassadors share common interests and values that make them part of the community. They have a private Facebook group where they can share their experiences and grow together. These Ambassadors get discounts on every purchase they make and receive a commission for every sale they generate. This program has helped Just Strong grow faster and earn profits like never before.
So what’s the next step?
Whether you are just starting your business or have an existing one, an online community is your next safe step. Build an online community and turn your occasional customers into members of your community, then watch the power of communities transform your income.
Pro tip: Keep the conversations more about them and what they like and less about you and what you are selling.