People and organizations often create online communities as a way for their users’ to connect and collaborate with each other over shared interests. These collaborations and connections amongst users’ not only helps the user learn and grow but also aids in the online community gaining spotlight.
This attention has the potential to help curb service costs, drive sales, build trust and loyalty among your target audience.
But it is important to remember that a community is only as good as the people that are a part of it and the relationships it fosters and hence, profits should always be the last thing to think about while creating an Online Community.
Therefore, while building an online community, always think about your users’ first. Their likes, dislikes, problems, etc., because no matter how good your website is or how functional and feature driven your service or product is, if you can’t build a functional community for your users’, your online community will be left a ghost town!
Thus, to help you out we have listed a few features we think are the foundations to building a Successful Online Community!
1. Brand Advocates
Brand Advocacy is one of the most important virtues of a thriving online community!
A community which showcases and encourages the work of its users’ will always attract community members that are passionate and that will support you towards the growth of the community!
This passion and support in turn will help them develop into Brand Advocates for the Online Community and will make them major contributors in content creation and also in assisting other users’.
These Brand Advocates will also help in “Word of Mouth” marketing which in turn will not only help you increase awareness about your services but will help gain new ground in users’ as people will always trust other humans before an advertisement or a marketing gimmick you produce!
According to research 79% people are likely to trust online peer recommendation as much as they trust their family friends!
Hence, a positive, brand advocated online community is definitely a right step for your service and your professional growth.
2. User Generated Content
Generating content that is useful as well as authentic is the mark of a good online community. But, such content can only be generated by the users of your community as they are the ones with first hand experience in regards with the services and products you provide to your community!
Encouraging and nurturing the content they provide helps increase morale and engagement amongst the community members. This helps further strengthen the ties between the members and gives rise to more open communication.
Communities that provide its members with relevant user generated content are successfully on the rise as they are the communities that are focused on its members’ needs and produce content that is for them and by them. This also generates trust and shareability in the community which helps it further grow!
Gamification is a technique which helps repurpose your content to your community in a way that shares the same motivations intrinsic to games.
This feature tries to evoke the same friendliness and competitiveness you feel when playing a game of UNO with your friends and family!
Gamification not only helps your online community learn but is also a valuable asset in terms of engagement. People are more likely to associate a distinct activity they participated in on your community website which made them feel included. This feeling of inclusion helps develop a deeper relationship with your community members’.
This engagement and inclusiveness gets your community members’ more involved in the day to day activities of the online community and gets it buzzing!
Curating your community’s feed to show and promote relevant and personalized content inspires and motivates them to do more and contribute towards the success and growth of the community.
Personalization is hence, an important piece in the puzzle that is a successful community website. This feature helps the community serve the interests of its members’ better and also better understand their needs.
80% users will more likely engage with you and your community if a personalized experience is offered, thus driving up growth.
A key to any successful endeavour be it professional or personal is communication! Being able to communicate in a clear and concise manner not only helps further your vision, but also helps in collaboration and teamwork. Giving your community a platform, where they can share ideas, visions, stories in real time with one another. Help each other with professional or personal review, or just talk about their shared passions is of utmost importance.
This feature will not only help in community engagement but will also help your online community feel closer to each other.
Hence, providing a private and safe space to communicate in an online community is a highly desirable feature.
6. Track Behaviour
Successful Communities thrive and flourish because they provide their community members’ with the content they desire. Though this content can be produced only when you know what your community is searching for, where their interests lie and what their current sentiments are!
Therefore, data becomes your best friend. Analytical tools that help you measure, read and track the behaviour of your members’ thus, are of utmost importance to understand, adapt and dish out relevant content which would be in line with your users’ interests.
With the help of these tools you can also analyze which user is most likely to communicate and discuss various posts and topics in the community and by offering those members with special member deals you can build trust amongst the community!
7. Content Moderation
Every community will have troublesome members who would want to disrupt the communication and collaborative efforts of the members. Hence, monitoring and applying moderation filters is quite important for effective and efficient communication.
Every online community must have content moderation features such as banning uncouth members, administering profane language and limiting the use of personal contact details among others, so as to maintain a private safe space for the members of the community.
This feature will not only help you identify serious members of the community but will also help you maintain decorum and the reputation of your online community.
These were the 7 Key Features we believe will get you and your community running and bustling. Do let us know what other features you believe will help you succeed as a Community Manager!