How To Build An Online Community

In a digital world, building a community is the new brick-and-mortar.

Having an online community is like having your own personal cheering squad!

As a creator or business owner, it’s important to have a place where your fans and customers can connect with you and each other.

By establishing an online community, you can cultivate a steadfast following and create a haven for people to share their adoration for the same passions as yours.

Plus, it’s a great way to get feedback and ideas, so you can continue to improve and grow.

So, why not take the plunge? Don’t hesitate to gather your tribe, and let the virtual high-fives commence! Your dedicated cheerleaders are waiting to show their unwavering support and encouragement.

And now, congratulations, you’re about to embark on a journey that’s going to be loads of fun!

Come on, don't be shy!

There are several platforms that are super great for building an online community. Here are my personal favorites:

  • Facebook Groups. Don’t let grandma’s baby pictures fool you, these groups are a blast! With features like polls, events, and discussion threads, you can keep your members entertained and connected.
  • Reddit. From cute animal pics to obscure hobbies, there’s a subreddit for everything. Create your own and watch your members bond over their shared interests.
  • Discord. If you’re looking to get chatty, Discord is the perfect platform for you. With voice and video chat, you can create a real sense of community and have some laughs along the way.
  • LinkedIn Groups. Connect with like-minded professionals in your industry and share insights, tips, and advice. Be fun, authentic, in other words, real! Who said networking had to be boring?
  • Slack. This platform is not only a fantastic option for team collaboration but also community building. Create channels for different topics and watch your members come together to share memes, stories, and ideas.
  • Story Prompt. Want to spark creativity and inspire storytelling in your community? Look no further than Story prompt! With daily writing prompts and challenges, your members will be engaged and excited to share their work.
  • Zapnito. This platform is perfect for building niche communities around specific topics or industries. With advanced features like expert Q&A sessions and webinars, you can create a truly valuable experience for your members.
  • Mighty Networks. This all-in-one platform is like a superhero sidekick for your online community-building adventures. With Mighty Networks, you can create a custom community experience that’s perfectly tailored to your brand and your audience.
  • Unscreen. Tired of boring Zoom calls? Unscreen lets you have virtual meetings and events in unique and creative ways. From virtual backgrounds to interactive games, your members will love this platform’s fun and innovative features.
  • Disciple Media. This platform is all about creating a mobile-first community experience that’s easy and fun for your members. With features like live video and push notifications, you can keep your community engaged and active on the go.
  • Insided. If you’re looking to build a community around your brand or product, Insided is the perfect platform for you. With a focus on customer support and engagement, you can turn your customers into loyal brand advocates.

Now here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Give your community a fun name that reflects your brand and personality. For example, if you’re a bakery, you could call your community “The Dough Lovers” or “The Cupcake Crew.”
  • Use humor and pop culture references to create fun and engaging content. Share funny memes, create humorous videos, or even do a parody of a popular song – just make sure it’s on brand!
  • Host virtual events that are out of the box and unique. Maybe you could have a “paint and sip” night for your art supply store or a “wine and cheese” tasting for your gourmet food shop.
  • Create interactive challenges or contests that get your community engaged and excited. For example, you could have a photo contest where your community members submit pictures of themselves using your product in creative ways.
  • Use creative and quirky visuals that stand out and grab attention. You could create fun illustrations or incorporate a mascot or character representing your brand.
  • Offer exclusive perks or rewards for your community members, like discounts, freebies, or even personalized shoutouts on social media. For example, a subscription box service could offer exclusive discounts or free products for community members.
  • Celebrate your community’s milestones and achievements. Whether it’s a member’s birthday or a customer’s success story, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate these moments with your community.
  • Show off your personality and quirks as a business owner. Maybe you have a silly dance you do when you make a sale or a unique catchphrase you use when greeting customers. Share those things with your community and make them feel like they’re a part of something special.
  • Collaborate with other businesses or influencers in your industry to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to your community. The more, the merrier!
  • Listen to your community’s feedback and suggestions. Ask for feedback regularly and take their opinions into account when making decisions about your business.
  • Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with your branding and marketing. Maybe you could create a silly commercial or a funny social media campaign that gets people talking. Examples? Yes, we have! A hair salon could create a funny commercial featuring “bad hair days” that are saved by their services.
  • Above all, keep it light-hearted and fun! Building an online community should be a joyous and exciting experience for both you and your members. So go ahead, let loose, and have some fun!

Need some examples of famous brands bringing their A game at creating online communities? Here you go:

  • HubSpot isn’t just a platform for marketing and sales; it’s also a famous “hub” for marketers and salespeople to connect on their Slack channel, share ideas, and get the help they need with the HubSpot Community Slack.
  • Glossier is known for its beauty products, but did you know they’re also killing it on Reddit? With their own subreddit, r/glossier, customers can share their experiences, get advice, and find out what’s hot and fancy in the beauty world.
  • Lululemon isn’t just for yoga pants; it’s for connecting with fitness enthusiasts on the Lululemon Collective Facebook group. Members can share their workout routines, connect with other members, and get inspired to live their best, most active life.
  • Hootsuite is more than just a social media management tool; it’s also a supportive community for social media professionals on the Hootsuite Ambassadors Slack community. Users can share their tips, best practices, and get support from Hootsuite staff and fellow ambassadors.
  • Mercedes-Benz is driving change in the automotive industry with the Mercedes-Benz Female Inspiration Hub LinkedIn group. This community is dedicated to connecting and empowering women in the automotive industry to share their experiences and inspire others. Wow!
  • Adobe isn’t just for creating beautiful designs, they’re also creating beautiful connections with their LinkedIn groups, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud group. Designers and creative professionals can connect, share their awesome work, and get help with using Adobe products.
  • Starbucks is more than just a coffee shop; it’s also a place for coffee lovers to connect on the My Starbucks Idea platform. Members can share their suggestions for new products, services, and experiences, and Starbucks takes these ideas seriously and implements them when possible.
  • Nike is another brand that has built a thriving online community with its Nike Run Club app. Runners can track their progress, connect with other runners, and participate in challenges and events to stay motivated and inspired.

Community is the foundation of a thriving business online.

Building an online community is not rocket science, it’s about having fun, engaging with your audience and creating a space where people can feel comfortable being themselves.

If you want to talk some more, we’re waiting for your DM on Instagram.

Your biggest fan,
Oana Corina Jelea.

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OANA CORINA JELEA

The Big Cheese know-it-all
A lot of brand strategy and storytelling, with a sweet tooth for Instagram management. Constantly on her phone, writing posts, replying to e-mails, and sleeping less than it should be legal. Always open to discussing environmental issues after two glasses of wine. She's the biologist who chose to go digital.
Find her on LinkedIn, Instagram and oanacorina.com

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