Individual creators are now moving towards online communities to share their knowledge and connect with their fans. Creators are also collaborating with other creators to come up with an environment where everyone learns collectively. With time, more innovative online community platforms are supporting the creators to make a living out of their knowledge.
If you are new to online communities, here is a comprehensive guide to help you understand all you need to know about online communities.
What is an Online Community?
We all are a part of some community, one way or another. It could be a group of friends, a cricket team, a band or any other platform where people of similar interests share knowledge. Online communities are similar but accessible over the internet.
Online communities become a one-stop destination for connecting with your favourite creator, learning and sharing your insights about the world. The community owner(Creator)controls the communication, which is more targeted and personalized. Unlike social media, communities never bombard members with anything and everything without their consent.
What makes Online Community Platforms different from Social Media Platforms?
Social media platforms are regulated by multinationals, unlike communities where control is with the individual creators. They can decide on the content guidelines and the way of communication with the members. Members can interact more privately than social media and clear out all the unnecessary information at will.
GoSocial is a community platform providing people with the tools for efficient communication that are not available on social media platforms. You can create online courses, conduct workshops, go for live sessions, do private/group chat, implement discussion forums and a lot more using a single platform. If you build a community on social media, most of these activities require hopping on multiple platforms to connect with your people.
Why do you need to Build an Online Community?
If you are a creator or willing to share your expertise with people, you require a community platform to facilitate this. Online community platforms let you build a personal brand through a controlled environment where only relevant people join in and grow together.
Online communities are for creators who are the source of inspiration and formulate innovative ideas to make lives better. Yes, you have FB groups and Instagram followers, but you cannot control it all. You never know when this following could go away due to new guidelines or any other change. Investing in an online community is more rewarding due to the community support, and people also love to be a part of it.
How to Build an Online Community?
Building an online community is a process that requires planning and effort with a view of developing something innovative that helps the people. A focused approach of sharing only the valuable, unique and relevant information helps build a sustainable community.
Let’s understand the way of building an online community in detail:
Solve a Specific Problem
Communities should remain targeted towards a goal and never talk about everything. Individual creators solve a specific problem of their community members and share precise knowledge to save everyone’s time. So, it becomes crucial to recognize that particular problem and work on solving it for the people.
The internet is full of information, and people will only join you if you provide something unique and that too with an optimized learning experience.
Plan and Structure your Content
Irrespective of your content form, be it an online class, workshop, short video, podcast or any other format, it is critical to plan and structure for the users. We are already facing an information blast from all around, which makes things difficult to comprehend. Organized information makes it easier for the community to understand and replicate in real life. Community members also get to know what to expect next if the content is structured and well communicated.
You can also check out our recent blog on online course structuring. It will help you outline and build content from scratch.
Start Helping People
It becomes imperative to come out as a person who is willing to help people in every possible way. Learners love to be a part of generous communities where people share their knowledge and help in making lives better. I am not asking to offer everything for free. Yes, everyone is looking to earn money, but your intention of coming up with an online course/workshop should revolve around helping people.
Keep sharing your experience during the sessions so that people don’t make similar mistakes as you did. Give everyone a chance to speak and ask questions. Portray yourself as a person who is easily reachable and understands the requirements of his/her community members.
Moderate your Community
Community moderation is a lot more critical than you would think. A creator attempts to make his/her community a favourable place, which promotes support and productivity.
The world is full of people with diverse mindsets, and every point of view cannot represent the motive of your community. You should only allow the content that is relevant, informative, helpful and factually correct. At the same time, it is essential to give space to unique thoughts by maintaining a perfect balance between innovation and relevance.
Check out our blog on community moderation if you are new to this or require some tips to optimize it.
Create Online Courses and Workshops
Once you have decided to build a community of your own, you should also select the channel to communicate with the members. I would suggest going with a combination of online courses and workshops at the start and then experiment after knowing about the community members.
Online workshops are conducted live and are way more interactive than any other channel. Workshops dive deeper into a topic and talk about the practical aspects of the subject. Starting with a workshop will allow you to communicate with the members and open doors for the upcoming online courses, other mediums.
Online courses enable you to earn a constant stream of income, and people can choose to attend according to their preferences. It also allows you to talk about a topic in detail and help people transform using your expertise.
Make an Online Portfolio
A portfolio lets you establish your authority online and helps in bringing in more trust with time. An online portfolio is your website, which has information about you, your experience, offerings and anything else you want to communicate.
To know more about you, people will start with an Internet search, and a portfolio website will help them understand your expertise. You can add a CTA to join your online community at the end and leverage your website to connect with more people.
Engage on Social Media
Social media lets you connect with people and also share your insights about the industry.
There is no point in building a community with only a handful of people. You may join fewer members at the start, but you should keep looking for opportunities to bring more people on board.
For attracting people to join your community, convince them about your expertise and build a following by engaging more. Social media is a great platform to showcase testimonials, your way of helping people, recognitions and a lot more. If you do it with intent, you get a chance to turn a social media following into loyal community members.
An online community is your private place with members who are of similar interests. It removes the dependency on multiple platforms as you get more control over what to share with the people. With time, online communities become like a family where more and more people join in.
If you are a creator or willing to be the one, online communities are the best way forward. You will not only get a platform that you control, but you will also make way for healthy communication.