If you go to Google and type “how to build an online community” in the search bar, you will find numerous articles about building an online community on your computer screen. However, most of these blogs give more information than what you need. Building online communities are essential for the business's growth. As a website owner, you must understand that no one can be a critic of your website the same way as your visitors.
Regardless of how great a website developer you are or how much honesty you show, you can never pinpoint the mistakes in your website the same as your viewers. Your website viewers are the heartbeat of any business, ensuring that your business evolves and competes with the rest of the market industry. As a website owner, you must take note of all the criticism they give you and use it to improve your platform. It is a pretty naive approach to just comment on the positive reviews sent by them all the time.
Reasons to Create an Online Community
Before you understand how to build an online community, you must know why you are creating an online community in the first place. Are you using community members as a stepping stone to attract new audiences? Are you using community members to improve certain aspects of your website? If you take note of the online reviews submitted by your viewers, there is no doubt that they will stay loyal to your website. If your customers buy from your website and don’t stop talking about it, they work as “word-of-mouth” marketers for your platform.
Online communities help individuals to become brand ambassadors and spread the word about your brand products. Even though you have community members, it is still a direct connection between yourself and your customers, and any of your competitors cannot access it. Therefore, building online communities ensures that your customers' critical data is preserved. If you create a solid customer base through your community, you will generate more online sales.
Types of Online Communities
1) Social Community
The influence of social media is there for everyone to see and isn’t a secret to anybody’s eyes. Whether they are doing their professional work or their personal work, their activities usually correspond with social media trends. When you develop a community online, make sure you don’t leave out the opinions they submit on your social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are the most common social media platforms influencing an online business.
Image taken from YouTube
If you are promoting blogs or other website content, Twitter and Facebook are the best platforms for you. Facebook advertising is a cost-effective way to promote eCommerce products on your website. When your company understands how to build an online community, you will use it to show your side, broadcast information, exclusive product news, and knowledge of consumer behaviors. As the customers cannot touch or sense the displayed products, they can only trust a website by taking note of the user’s side.
2) Support Community
Your support community is there to build connections between your customers and users regarding the website’s products, services, and features. For example, you can be a part of a sports company and develop sports products, like football shoes, tennis rackets, goalkeeper gloves, etc. If the customers feel that certain attributes are missing within your products, they will instantly let you know via the support community.
Image taken from Strikingly
When you know how to build an online community, you can integrate a live chat feature into your working plans. The live chat feature will be helpful to your community online because it will help you in building a long-term relationship with the customers. On many of our established Strikingly websites, you will see the live chat support feature appearing as soon as we land on that particular platform. Without a doubt, the best way to collect information about the status of your products is through your customers.
3) Advocate Community
The advocate community is associated with all the unofficial brand ambassadors or influencers that spend time promoting your website products. This is a brilliant way to promote your brand, as it only requires ordinary word of mouth. When you understand how to build an online community, you must understand the fact that these communities are there to give a boost to your online sales. They help you in the building of professional integrity and brand visibility.
Image taken from Strikingly
Strikingly provides its viewers with an “Idea forum” feature. This feature helps the viewers to interact directly with the Strikingly website owners. Most importantly, they can also interact about a specific cause. For example, if a viewer is new to the platform and they have no idea about the website features, another visitor may come and help them out with certain things.
Tips to Create an Online Community
As mentioned before, you must identify your objectives before understanding how to build an online community. Are you using the community to increase customer engagement? Do you want to reduce your costs on customer support? Do you believe in using the community to increase brand awareness? Do you want to increase website traffic on your platform? Some of these questions need to be answered before you start prioritizing your community members.
Creating and prioritizing a community without doing homework is like going to a party without wearing formal clothes. No one will be attracted to you, and no one will even bother whether you are there or not. Similarly, no one will care about you if you don’t care what your online reviews say. When you prioritize the community, you must ensure it benefits both the consumer and the company.
When you visualize how to build an online community, you require a table hierarchy to ensure it runs effectively. You must prioritize your working panels and sections accordingly, such as administrators, coordinators, correspondents, and managers. Another thing that you should be focusing on is the website content.
Apart from the content that the consumers will create on your network, you need specialized content creators at your disposal. These content creators and subject makers will actively contribute to content optimization for your community. It is important to note that your community is vital to the functioning of your overall company.
3) Creating a Community
Image taken from Strikingly
You must select the best platform to serve your community correctly. There is no point in understanding how to build an online community when you don’t know how to make the most out of it. Strikingly allows you to establish a community online on your website. When configuring our provided website templates, ensure that you conduct the following procedures:
Create different categories for your customers. There is no problem if those categories are generic initially. You can further develop those categories based on the customer feedback you receive.
Make it easy for the customers to send their reviews. If they find any complications, they will not get involved in the feedback process.
Make sure that you assign responsibilities to every person on your staff. Moreover, you should ensure user limitations.
Different users have different perspectives about a particular website. You must focus on all of those reviews individually.
Create trust badges for the community members actively participating in your website content.
The brand image of your website must coincide with the expectations and demands of your customers.
Once you have executed your plans on how to build an online community, you need to make sure that your target market recognizes it. If your target audience isn’t hyped about your community plans, all your hard work will go down the drain. Individuals will only become members of your community if they are excited by what you plan to offer.
The best thing you can do is create social media advertisements to attract wider audiences. As Facebook has the highest number of online users within the current community, you can take advantage of the cost-effective Facebook ad feature. You can also offer discounts on the eCommerce products you provide on your website.
If you have understood how to build an online community from this article, you must start building your objectives and putting your plans into perspective. For any business plan's long-term growth, your community's opinion is critical. You cannot think that you know everything about your business plan and expect your business to flourish.
To take note of public opinion, you must include the contact forms as part of your Strikingly website. Apart from the contact details, it also gives the consumers to make their opinion heard about the website's products, services, and brand. If you are struggling with integrating website features on Strikingly, you can talk to our Happiness Officers about it. So, register yourself with Strikingly and build your consumers’ trust on your website.