13 Tips to Grow an Online Community

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Explore the expert insights on how to grow your online community successfully.

13 Tips to Grow an Online Community
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Community Masters

Picture your community as a cozy digital hangout – a place where folks with the same passions come to chat, learn, and connect. The secret sauce to kickstart growth? A crystal-clear purpose that speaks to your community's heart. 

Whether you're crazy about comic books, sustainable living, or knitting sweaters for cats, define your purpose, knowing what brings people together sets the stage for something awesome.

Growing your online community can definitely be a thrilling adventure, but it's not without its challenges. Engagement can be tricky. Some members dive into discussions, while others hang back. Balancing freedom with rules is another puzzle. 

You want an open vibe, but not chaos. 

And then there's the unwanted attention – spammers and trolls. They're like party crashers you need to handle.

Growing an online community takes time, effort, and a strategic approach. But fret not, we’ve got you covered. In this blog, we share the expert tips and strategies to help you build and nurture a thriving online community:

What is an Online Community?

An online community is like a virtual hangout where people who are into similar stuff can gather and chat without actually meeting up in person. You know how you might join a group of fellow garden enthusiasts in your neighborhood? 

Well, online communities are like that, but they happen on the internet.

Let’s say you're really into baking. You can join an online community dedicated to baking. In this community, you can share your cake creations, ask for advice on tricky recipes, and even swap tips on how to get that perfect crust. All of this chatting happens through your computer or phone, using text, pictures, videos, and even live chats.

And here's the cool thing: you don't all have to be online at the same time. You can post something today, and someone else might respond tomorrow. It's like a continuous conversation that goes on whenever you have time to hop in.

Online communities are great for connecting with people who might be far away, but who totally get your interests. You can find communities for everything – from gaming and painting to fashion and coding. And just like any club, these online communities usually have some rules to keep things friendly and respectful.

So, whether you're a fan of discussing your favorite TV shows, sharing workout routines, or even just finding pals who love llamas as much as you do, there's probably an online community out there waiting for you to join in and be part of the conversation!

13 Expert Tips to Grow Your Online Community

Leverage Multi-Channel Engagement

Utilize a variety of online platforms and channels to reach a wider audience. In addition to traditional social media platforms, consider newer platforms and formats that are gaining popularity in 2023, such as audio-based social networks, live streaming, and virtual reality spaces. Adapt your content and engagement strategies to suit the preferences of each platform's users.

Scenes, the all-in-one community-building platform, takes multichannel collaboration to the next level by offering an extensive channel library. Voice, video, text, forums, calendars, media, resources – you name it, we've got it. Whether you're looking for a lively real-time discussion, a space for deep dive forums, or seamless coordination through calendars, Scenes is engineered for scale on the web and mobile. Our diverse range of channels empowers your community to connect and collaborate in ways that suit their preferences and needs, fostering a rich and engaging experience.

Focus on Micro-Communities

Instead of aiming for a single large community, consider creating and nurturing smaller, specialized micro-communities within your main community. These micro-communities cater to specific interests or niches, allowing members to connect more deeply with like-minded individuals. This approach can foster stronger connections and increase overall engagement.

On Scenes, you can easily create sub-communities and dedicated spaces. For example, within a broader fitness community, you can establish micro-communities for yoga enthusiasts, weightlifters, or runners. Each of these sub-communities gets its own space, complete with specialized discussions, events, and resources. 

This allows members to connect more intimately with like-minded individuals, fostering stronger bonds and meaningful interactions. Whether your community is all about art, technology, or wellness, Scenes empowers you to tailor the experience to your members' specific passions

Interactive and Immersive Experiences

Capitalize on interactive and immersive experiences to engage your community members. Host virtual events, workshops, and webinars that encourage active participation and create unique and memorable experiences that set your community apart. With Scenes, creating such immersive experiences is as easy as a few clicks, making it a perfect fit for communities centered around creativity, education, or industry discussions.

For instance, if you're running a cooking community, and you want to host a live cooking class. With Scenes, you can easily set up a live stream where your members can join in, ask questions, chat, and cook along with you in real time. Or perhaps you're managing a tech community, and you want to organize a webinar on the latest trends. Scenes have got you covered there too – you can set up webinars, invite guest speakers, and engage your community in insightful discussions.

Amplify User-Generated Content

Encourage members to actively contribute user-generated content. Showcase their creations, stories, and insights prominently within the community. Recognize and celebrate their contributions through features like member spotlights, guest posts, or collaborative projects. This not only increases engagement but also fosters a sense of ownership among members.

GoPro, for example, relies on User-Generated Content (UGC) to maintain its thriving YouTube channel. Remarkably, its top three videos were originally captured by customers themselves. 

Gamification and Reward Systems

Implement gamification elements to incentivize engagement and participation. Introduce a points system, badges, or levels that members can earn by contributing, attending events, or helping others. Offer tangible rewards like exclusive content, discounts, or merchandise to further motivate members to get involved.

With Scenes, you can create your own community currency. You can reward these community coins to members based on their activity – whether it's posting helpful content, participating in discussions, or attending events. It's like giving out gold stars for active participation.

Members can then further use these coins for special perks, like accessing exclusive content, getting discounts, or even earning bragging rights. It's a win-win: they're engaged, and you're nurturing retention. 

Cross-Promotion and Partnerships

Collaborate with other online communities, influencers, or organizations that share similar interests or goals. Cross-promote each other's communities, events, or content to tap into new audiences. These partnerships can introduce your community to a wider network and drive organic growth.

Let's say you're running an online community for outdoor enthusiasts, all about hiking, camping, and adventure. To boost your community's growth, you can partner with a popular outdoor gear brand that aligns perfectly with your community's interests. Through this partnership, your community not only gets exposure to a broader audience but also offers exciting experiences to its members

Real-Time Conversations 

Real-time conversation means instant interactions within your community. It's like texting a friend and getting a quick reply, but it happens among your community members. When someone posts something interesting or asks a question, others can jump in almost instantly. This keeps discussions lively and engaging, much like having a real-time conversation at a social gathering.

But it's not just about chatting – it's about creating real-time events too. Think of it like hosting a live event, whether it's a webinar, a Q&A session, or a virtual party. Members can participate, ask questions, and get immediate responses from hosts or experts. It's the kind of stuff that makes your community feel alive and dynamic.

Scenes, the #1 online community-building platform, comes packed with features like chat rooms, voice chats, or live Q&A sessions. These real-time interactions cater to members who seek immediate engagement and can provide a sense of connection that asynchronous interactions might lack.

Clear Purpose and Value Proposition

A clear purpose is the backbone of your online community. It's the common thread that weaves them together. Whether it's a shared passion for photography, an obsession with gaming, or a commitment to eco-friendly living, your purpose unites individuals with similar interests. It's the glue that binds your community, creating a sense of camaraderie.

Define a clear purpose and value proposition for your online community. People join communities that provide value, whether it's knowledge sharing, networking, support, or entertainment. Clearly communicate what members can gain from participating in your community.

Incorporate Social Causes and Impact

In 2023, many online communities are placing a stronger emphasis on social causes and making a positive impact. Align your community with a meaningful cause and organize campaigns, challenges, or fundraisers that encourage members to contribute to the cause. People are more likely to engage with communities that align with their values.

For instance, if you have a mental health support community, start by organizing campaigns to raise awareness about mental health challenges. Collaborate with mental health organizations, and pledge a portion of membership fees toward supporting mental health initiatives.

Member Spotlight and Recognition

Highlight exceptional members through features like member spotlights, "Member of the Month," or showcasing their achievements. 

Regularly feature member profiles, success stories, or interviews that highlight their experiences within the community. Recognizing and celebrating your members not only boosts their sense of belonging but also encourages others to actively engage and aspire to be recognized.

Continuous Feedback Loop

Pay attention to member feedback. What do they like? What can be improved? Adapt your strategies based on their suggestions to ensure your community evolves in the right direction.

Establish a continuous feedback loop with your community members to ensure that you're meeting their needs and expectations. Regularly solicit feedback through surveys, polls, or open discussions. Act on the feedback received, whether it's about content preferences, community guidelines, or technological improvements. Showing that you value and incorporate member feedback helps foster a sense of ownership and investment in the community's growth.

Moderation and Community Guidelines:

Setting clear community guidelines ensures that discussions stay respectful and on-topic. 

And that moderation system? It's your digital bouncer, keeping out spammers and troublemakers. When members know that there's someone ensuring the place stays welcoming, they feel more at ease and eager to participate. It's like knowing you can enjoy your coffee without interruptions.

Effective moderation not only keeps things civil but also maintains the overall quality of your community. That, in turn, enhances its reputation, making it a magnet for new members. They'll see your community as a safe and engaging spot, perfect for sharing their interests and connecting with like-minded individuals.

Growing and nurturing an online community is like tending to a flourishing garden in the digital world. Remember to have a clear purpose that unites your members and keeps them engaged. Choose the right platform, serve up engaging content, and foster real-time conversations that make your community feel alive.

By following these friendly tips, you'll create a space where members connect, learn, and flourish together. Connect with the Scenes team to take your online community to a whole new level of engagement and growth.

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