The Best Tools and Platforms for Building Online Communities
In a very dispersed market of online businesses, building online communities fosters trust among the members and builds the authority of the business owner or community creator. So if you’re operating in the online industry, building your online community should also be top of your list.
For starters, what is an online community?
Sometimes called an internet community, the online community is a group of like-minded individuals who gather online to pursue a common goal, interest, or purpose. This works pretty similar to our real, live communities among our neighborhood or organizations except that the members could come from different parts of the world and meet through the Internet.
Why do people join online communities?
While there are different reasons why people hop to join a particular online community, there are common experiences that make these “gatherings” attractive. For one, members experience connection, where they spend time with people who actually understand their interests and push them to pursue such interests even more. People also join online communities because of the safety of privacy. They have the space where they can ask questions or give answers in a dignified and respectful manner even without the knowledge of the rest of the world. Finally, online communities give a sense of purpose for the members as they get to share their expertise with the other members. When someone raises an inquiry, someone in the group could provide the much-needed answer.
As a business owner, you need to treat the online community as your valuable ally in scaling your business. Here is where you can build a following of people who is interested in the product or service that you provide. Once inside this community, the member is a potential captive audience who already has a basic understanding of the value of your product or business.
Now, how do you build an online community?
With myriads of online portals and applications available, how do you decide which is the best app of them all? Well, it actually depends on your intent and purpose. Different people stay in different online platforms for different reasons, so an understanding of your people can help you identify which is the ideal platform to build your community on.
However, there are five common online apps that are ideal platforms for developing your online community. Keep on reading as we uncover these platforms one at a time.
With Facebook as a huge online platform that connects different individuals all over the world, it’s no wonder why they extended to a more private feature of Facebook Groups. With Facebook Groups, you can create a community that delves into your common interests. There are various groups on Facebook, and this can range from a gathering of actual family members to a group of online business owners.
The great thing about Facebook groups is that it is readily available and you could have a wider network because many people have Facebook accounts. You can also build your own online community if you want, or join a community that you’re interested in. You can even decide to make the group publicly available or restrict it to a certain group of individuals who are truly interested.
This chat application is popularly associated with online gamers as they are the prominent community admins in the different communities therein. With Discord, gamers can interact with fellow gamers in real-time either through video or audio even while in the middle of their game. Interactions continue because there are no ads that could delay or hamper communication. With its popularity among gamers, Discord has already begun expanding to other kinds of audiences, from TV show fans to memes and dating interests.
Inside Discord, you can create servers for your specific community where you customize activities that your members will enjoy. In this sense, customization is integrated in this platform that community members feel that they really are a part of something that reflects their interests. Because there are many customized features available in Discord, many moderators build their communities within the app.
Telegram is another app that welcomes opportunities for building online communities. The main strength of Telegram is its focus on messaging and chatting. You can send a message to a friend or an organization knowing that you have the security of the app protecting your account. Telegram is ideal for interests that are communication-oriented, such as working with a team or writing a project.
What makes Telegram highly attractive to its users is the Channel feature, wherein members can post or announce their messages to other people who are from other group chats. This feature is only available for the administrators, who can also change the group’s information, delete messages, and ban some other users who are not behaving respectfully.
One more online platform that is pretty attractive for building an online community is Slack. What’s interesting with Slack is that it is very flexible and easy to use even if it’s your first time to encounter the app. It is very exclusive that you cannot join the group unless the moderator explicitly invites you.
Slack communities are very ideal for people who have already built trust amongst each other as one cannot just easily join in. The app also comes with special features such as channels, small group huddles, and screen-capturing videos. Slack members can also tap on other apps that are easily integrated with Slack, such as memes and customized emojis, so that there is more entertaining and meaningful discussion among the online community members. Because of this, Slack becomes ideal for close-knit communities whose members already know each other from outside the app.
If you’re an online coach or content creator, Mighty Networks is an ideal platform for you. This app is the ideal online place where people can bring together their content, courses, features, and more. You can interact with your members either through structured features or more spontaneous ones such as group chat or live streaming.
If you have a training, podcast, or masterclass, Mighty Networks is an effective platform as the app accommodates such educational activities. The app can help you build your brand that seamlessly integrates different operating systems whether it’s an Android, iOS, or the web. Because of its highlight on the needs of the community members, moderators can definitely address their concerns without the distraction of algorithm manipulations.
As business owners, you also need to find your niche in building your community. With these enumerated platforms, you can begin to consider the specific platform you can use that best fits your business and the kind of community you would like to build around it. Each platform has a strength that provides you with different strategies that can expand your community in accordance with your goals and intentions.