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Keys to Developing a Successful Online Community

online communityAll over the world there are various online communities relating to a wide variety of topics. These communities are where people of all ages can participate and obtain information from each other. These communities can be vibrant and wonderful places to learn, collaborate, and engage directly into conversations. While most are friendly places, not all communities are created equal. Before joining or creating an online community you should always evaluate it – seek to understand what an online community needs to be successful and beneficial to all of its members.

Learn the Fundamentals

Fundamental for any community is the need to have members, meaning that you need to find ways to engage your audience and get them involved. Simply put, if nobody joins the community it will no longer exist. If your company seeks to build an online community, it is key to research whether or not there is a need out there for a specific community of this kind to exist. Another key element to successful online communities is that members all feel safe and unthreatened while interacting within the community. Just like in real-world villages, towns, cities and countries, there are rules to ensure everyone can feel safe and secure – the same should be true for your online community. Your community’s moral conduct should be centered towards acceptable and worthwhile content.

Learn to Connect

The online community is built around social connection. They’re places where like-minded individuals can meet, express an opinion, and engage in conversation. A great community should find ways to allow all users to interact regardless of their background, social standings, education and so forth. Without a solid social element to the community, you risk alienating opinions and missing opportunities for interesting connection. Realize that your members’ words, opinions and contributions all influence how your community will continue to grow. You want to create an atmosphere where users are proud and willing to post their content. Keeping members engaged and unafraid to post is vital to the group’s success. Once you have established your community of active participants, you need to make sure the community continues to be active and thriving without the conversation going stale.  You should make sure everyone is talking about the focused topic of the group (you don’t want someone talking about cupcakes on a Mercedes Facebook page), and keep the community on track towards achieving its goals or purpose.

Learn to Thrive

Finally, in order to continue to build a successful community, members require recognition within the community and need to know that they are important.  A great example of this recognition is on Foursquare, where users check into various places on their mobile devices. Users can then gain rewards by checking in so many times. For example, if you check in at your favorite burger place five times, the sixth time when you check in you could receive a reward for 10% off your bill.  While not all rewards need to be monetary, online communities need to recognize members for their content, sharing and helping the community grow. This will instill a sense of achievement or thanks, making users feel important and determined to come back for more. Building a successful online community is a complex process, but being aware of these important factors will bring you one step closer to success. By paying careful attention to these elements, your company can learn to successfully connect and engage an online community – success is just around the corner! Want to learn more about connecting with communities online? Contact SocialNicole today!

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