Online community benefits everyone involved in its creation and day to day operations. You may launch a website particularly for the purpose of attracting and growing a following, centered around a common interest or topic. You also may be a brand owner, who’d like his fans to have a place to come together and discuss things related to your business. In any case, there’s a number of advantages of online communities for both admins and members alike. Let’s take a closer look at what these are.
Online community benefits it’s members mostly, as they and their interactions are the essence of it. Founders, who may, or may not be on par with people frequenting the given site can also draw certain benefits from hosting the community, though.
A digital community isn’t that much different from a real-life club after all. How would you like to have a group of loyal supporters engaging in discussion, exchanging information, spreading the word – basically helping your enterprise grow?
Not only can you be a passive observer of this activity. Ideally, you’d become a part of the discussion. The interaction platform you’ve made available would be a place for you to reach out to the members, collect business intelligence, conduct subtle sales, as well as do many other things, depending on the niche you’re in and your goals.
If you have a major business goal with your online community, getting engaged and providing valuable insights would help you position yourself as an expert in the industry.
Regardless of whether you’re doing it for business or pleasure, your focus should be on the people, so to help you understand the importance of an online community, here are ways in which it benefits its members and thus makes them stick around and keep coming back to your site.
Online community renders geographical location a non-factor
This is a huge boon of online communities, especially if you consider the innumerable niche interests people have. Finding like-minded individuals in one’s vicinity may be difficult if not straight impossible.
Thus, a website bringing together people of similar interest is like a beacon for those hungry for interaction they can’t get locally.
Online community is a source of expert knowledge
Even if one’s passionate about a certain topic, there’s probably always more to be learned. That said, online community benefits include having first-hand access to expert knowledge.
Members come to exchange knowledge about the subject, while you get a deeper understanding of what makes them tick by observing and taking part in the conversation.
Being able to pick each others brains or consult information obtained elsewhere would be a huge advantage for your visitors and the best thing about it is that the exchange of information happens on a global scale.
Online community can hold live events too
So here’s another example of how a digital community strongly resembles a real-life one. Socializing is very important for forming strong bonds between members and luckily we now have plenty of means for making it happen on the Internet.
Live video streams, broadcasts, or podcasts, combined with live involvement of the audience are all great ways for community members to get to know each other and you better.
There’s a lot of room for creativity there and it’s obviously fun for everyone involved.
Online community fights exclusion of disabled people
Now, here’s what may be a hugely overlooked advantage of online communities.
What many may not realize is that there are a lot of people battling obstacles like social anxieties, physical illnesses, and other limitations, who either seek peer support, or simply follow their interests, but may not be able to do it in the real world.
Online community benefits them in a way where they can get and stay in touch with other individuals like them, which is a huge boon for their mental health.
Online community is mobile
Finally, with the technology available these days, online communities are mobile and active 24/7. If you attract a slew of people from all over the globe, chances are there’s always going to be someone on the site.
Widespread use of mobile devices to communicate across the world for free, in real time, allows members to move freely, while remaining engaged into community affairs.
How do you grow an online community?
I hope that by now you’ve realized the importance and benefits of running an online community. The question now is how do you promote its growth? How do you make it thrive?
Obviously, it’s essential for members to be able to interact efficiently if they were to keep coming back to your site and remain engaged.
Communication tools available are diverse, however, there’s one particular means that online communities find especially useful.
Group live chat, with multiple chat rooms and private conversations, allowing for exchange of media-rich messages in real time is what I have in mind here. A solution like Chatwee is affordable, extremely easy to install, and requires no maintenance on your part. I suggest you give it a try if you’re looking to grow your online community.
Final word on online community benefits
The truth is that your online community is probably already out there. All you have to do is help it channel its energy by providing the right environment and a platform for interaction.
Oftentimes, joining an online community is the only way people can get together with other like-minded individuals to foster their passion, so they’ll be actively seeking opportunities to join a relevant site.
A well-developed community will be self-maintained, however, you may still consider being an active participant, since this has a number of advantages for you as its founder, as discussed above. Now go out there, get the right tools and start growing. Good luck!