Customer engagement is at the heart of every business, so organizations must figure out a way to create online communities that allow them to engage their target audience.
To achieve this goal, it is vital for website owners’ to select a content management system (CMS) that offers a lot of possibilities in terms of interaction, communication, and participation among its users.
Before we proceed, let us first identify the best platform to use in growing online communities, and why using it is integral in increasing customer engagement.
Why use WordPress to grow your online community?
WordPress, with its 64.9% market share in the world of CMS, provides plenty of tools, functionalities, and features that website owners can utilize in fostering engagement among its users.
Throughout the years, WordPress has been trusted by many website owners. Its system has already been tried and tested plenty of times. It’s easier to navigate for beginners, and it involves plenty of features that do not require code on your end.
How to Use WordPress in Growing Your Online Community
Here’s how you can grow your online community using WordPress:
Use a Community Website Plugin
Plugins are software segments composed of functionalities that may be utilized in a WordPress website. It makes adding features possible without knowing anything about code.
In WordPress, these items can be installed on your website. However, because most of the plugins do not come with tech support, website owners should be careful and smart in choosing them. They must be updated and compatible with the latest version of WordPress.
To make this process easier for you, here are some of the best plugins that you can use for your site:
1. Simple Membership
Simple Membership is a lightweight plugin that’s both customizable and user-friendly. It allows website owners to modify the things that their users can do based on the level of their membership.
It also supports PayPal, so accepting secure payments is possible with this plugin on your site. Moreover, it’s free, so anybody can use it without having to worry about add-ons.
bbPress might sound like an odd plugin to some. But in WordPress, bbPress allows site owners to make a full-featured forum as a way to encourage conversation among users. Because of how simple it is to use, it is usable even for beginners.
Just like our previous plugins, using bbPress requires no payment. It also comes with other complementary plugins that expand the tool’s usability.
3. User Submitted Posts
User Submitted Posts is a plugin that works best with a website that focuses on content. It enables users to share their own two cents and experiences. As the website owner, this plugin gives you full control of enabling and approving posts.
The free version of this plugin comes with a basic submission form and limited support. With the premium version, additional submission forms with customization options, and a lifetime of updates and support are available.
Install a Social Community Plugin
Incorporate features which drive user engagement such as chat, private messaging, wall posts, etc., on your website through the following plugins:
AtomChat is a powerful plugin that integrates text chat and video calling on your website. It has 30+ integrations and a roster of features that will take your user engagement to the next level.
It allows real-time chat notifications, HD video conferencing with upto 50 participants, has multilingual chat and translations, collaboration features, monetization with tiered access and ads, and other possibilities that upscale and foster customer engagement.
BuddyPress is a feature-rich plugin that enables profile creation, private messaging, activity streams, and other user-centric features.
It is famous with WordPress websites because of its optimal online support and smooth integration process with website owners.
Bring Over Your Active Facebook Community
Some communities have started on Facebook. Unfortunately, you don’t completely own the space and so you don’t have control over most of the features available. Fortunately, you can bring your community over to your WordPress online community.
1. Mongoose Page Plugin
The Mongoose Page Plugin not only brings your active Facebook community and your followers to your website…
It also adds your Facebook feed and allows your users to interact with you by liking, commenting, and sharing your posts without ever leaving the site by placing a shortcode on your page, widget, or post.
UserPro is a plugin that’s simple and easy to navigate. It allows users to sync their Facebook profiles and other social media channels like Instagram and Twitter.
It also has a Mailchimp integration for advanced email forms and WooCommerce sync for shipping and billing fields. Among other features, it also enables admins to block and unblock user accounts for community safety and control.
3. Ultimate Memberships Pro
Ultimate Memberships Pro has several desirable features, not only for users but also for website owners themselves.
Aside from a social login with sites such as Tumblr and Facebook, it also has dashboard statistics and payment gateways like Paypal and Bank Transfer. It also comes with a restriction of certain keywords and URLs.
Select an Interactive Theme
WordPress has a long list of beautiful and professional themes that are applicable in business. However, as an enterprise owner, you need to choose one that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is also functional and optimal for user communities.
Engagement-wise, three of the most practical community themes to use are:
Lynk is a sophisticated theme that’s both functional and budget-friendly. It comes with features that are mostly used by online stores, news sites, and organizations with plenty of users around the globe.
It has a customizable user menu, Mailchimp integration, user notifications, front-end forms, and a long list of features in store for you. It’s also easy to navigate, and it looks very sleek and organized to the eye.
Kleo is a reliable theme that’s best for people without any knowledge of website development. From a technical perspective, it is both functional and flexible. It has 27 demos that you can experiment with to see which one best fits your taste.
With its multiple site layouts, interactive panel, and other usabilities, community building is not only easy but fun and enjoyable as well.
With its 200+ theme options, Aardvark is a creative theme that prioritizes community aspects.
It integrates a Buddypress plugin and highlights its features that involve searching profiles, posting updates, uploading media, private messaging, and a whole lot more without the hassle of writing code on your part.
Strategically Build Your Community’s Engagement
WordPress is also a platform that enables website owners to strategically build their community’s engagement through words and other relevant content.
Here’s what you can do to strategically build your community’s engagement:
1. Make articles with educational, fun, and interesting information for your users.
2. Conduct webinars and other videos that answer your users’ questions.
3. Ask for their comments and feedback through the comment section.
4. Build an emotional connection with your community by sharing relevant and inspiring experiences.
Growing your online community involves a lot of effort. With all the plugins that you add and the website content that you make, prioritize customer engagement. Build a connection with them. Establish features that encourage interaction among your users and your brand.