Want to grow a vibrant online community but not sure where to start? Well, you’re in luck! Read on to find out the top tips from the experts themselves.
To build a successful online community, you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars, or millions of followers, you even don’t need millions of fans. In order to make a living as the craftsperson you were born to be, you only need thousands of true fans, true supporters.
A true fan is defined as a supporter that will have your back no matter what, they will also probably buy anything you choose to produce in the long run. These diehard fans will drive 200 miles just to meet you, they will buy all of available your merch, and will pretty much do anything just to find a way to connect with you.
Online communities are based around the power of the people. This alone tells us that even if you have roughly a thousand true fans, you’re able to make a living. We’re talking about the kind of living that you’re content in, but not earning millions — let’s not get ahead of ourselves here Steve Jobs.
So, are you interested in gaining all of these true fans? Are you looking to become the next ‘big thing’ of the internet? Do you want to make your mom proud? Well, you’re about to learn how to do all of this, and more.
Let’s dive in.
4 Steps to Building a Successful Online Community
1) Persona Specificity
First things first, you need to gain a deep understanding of your online community. Aim to build a persona for the type of online community you’ve always imagined it to become. Why do this? Well, simply because if you understand what they like to wear and what drinks they love, you can use this type of information to meaningfully target and grow your online community by providing value that you know for a fact they will appreciate.
With this crucial information, you will be able to connect and grow your community at the right time, in the right place.
Why do people still buy Starbucks drinks when they are ridiculously overpriced? Because Starbucks is obsessed with understanding their community, and run initiatives based on what they know about people who chug hundreds of Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato, Caramel Drizzle with Whipped Cream.
When you are lazer focus on your customer habits behaviour and demographic, you will be reaching people before they even know they need you.
2) Patience Is Key
Don’t get grumpy if your community is not growing, chill out, and as cliche as it sounds BE PATIENT. The thing most people don’t understand when they’re looking to grow an online community is the simple act of patience can take you a long way. At the end of the day, it’s a long-term game, not an overnight success.
Having a small group of the community has its own advantage, you get to get direct feedback from these hardcore fans of yours. They will tell you the 10 things you should do and the 100 things you should not do. Grow slowly, think long term.
3) Moderate moderate moderate!
Rule number one when it comes to building a successful online community is to never humiliate a member or make them feel remorse. After all, they do that all by themselves. Ok seriously though, don’t do it. In fact, one of the worst things a moderator can do is belittle their members. Remember to set the tone, define it, and lead by example.
When it comes to moderation people often relate this to kicking community members who don’t abide by the rules and removing the low-quality posts, basically punishing members. However, the most important part about moderating a community is not JUST to enforce the rules you set but to create a high-quality user experience that keeps your community members engaged.
Ensuring the success of online membership communities can be a challenge. You have to attract enough participants to create a dynamic community and, far more challenging, to make sure there are high-quality conversations amongst your community members.
4) Grow an Online Community With Purpose
You also need to set a goal, a purpose, and work towards it. If the purpose of your online community is to help your fans, members, or whatever you would like to call them at this point, reach their financial goals quicker; then you need to make sure you’re always nudging conversations in your forums in the right direction. Only then will you be able to grow an online community successfully.
So, there you have it, professional tips that will allow you to build a successful online community. Now, are you ready to become King or Queen of your online community castle? If so, get started right away at Squeak!
Squeak is a community-building platform in BETA — We aim to empower community builders by letting them participate in revenue share for their efforts in building a community. Sign up for the partners' program here!