Online communities can be built in many ways,  but there are four ways that can be considered the most effective in terms of getting valuable interaction between users, promoting content, and sharing discussions. Here are them.

1. A membership site

A membership site is an online platform where members (users) can interact and share information. Membership sites make money through paid subscriptions, which motivate users to come back to the community frequently and thus build a strong relationship with other members. This relationship helps generate referrals for your business. Paid subscriptions also mean that you can achieve success with a membership site easier. Moreover, information about users’ preferences and interactions with other members provides valuable data that can be used for marketing campaigns.

2. Forums

A forum is a website where users can create topics and post comments on each of them. This type of online community has been around for many years, but it’s becoming more popular due to the fact that people are starting to use social networks instead of forums to discuss with friends or colleagues about different subjects.  Forums are still effective when you want members to engage deeply in discussions or share knowledge about certain subjects. It can be more effective than blogs or social networks because of the active participation of members.

3. Social networking sites

Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., provide users with a platform to create their own profile (or page), connect with others according to their professional and personal interests, share links, post images or videos and start a public discussion by “liking” someone else’s posts. These sites are very popular among young people and businesses have been adopting them for marketing. You can promote your products directly to your target audience by adding links in the descriptions of the pictures you upload.  This way you’ll be able to get more shares from members who might find it useful for their own friends’ group.

4. Blogs

A blog is like an online journal (or diary) where users write posts about different topics (not only related to yours). On this platform, users can comment below each post, which helps generate discussions and gives you the opportunity to interact with them. Members can share your blog posts on their social media profiles, which allows reaching a wider audience for your business.  Blogs are very popular among users because they offer new content on a regular basis. This means that your community will always be up-to-date with what you’re offering, which might encourage members to become loyal customers and promote your products and services among their friends.

5. Q&A sites

Q&A is a very good way to build an online community. Q&A sites make money by allowing users to answer questions in exchange for compensation or credit on the site while making it easy for people to ask questions about anything. These sites are very useful because they provide an effective way of getting answers from experts and learning new things without having to buy books or attend seminars, where you can meet new people and build relationships. This means that members turn into loyal customers not only because you’re providing them with what they need, but also because they feel valued as part of your community.

Why is it important to build an online community?

An effective way of reaching out to people and building relationships with your audience is establishing a strong online community. Communities are created when members have the chance to interact, share knowledge or opinions about certain subjects, promote their business or interact socially. Communities create loyalty among members, which means that they’re more likely to become your customers if you offer them what they need. They also provide businesses with valuable information not only about their markets but also about the buying trends of consumers who belong to this network. This data can be used in future marketing campaigns in order to improve current business strategies. 

Can anyone do this?

Anyone can build a community, depending on what kind of strategy you choose. You can become a member in forums or social networks related to your business sector and start discussions about topics that are important for your target audience.  You can create a blog where you write posts regularly in order to offer valuable content and encourage members to discuss them with each other.  The most crucial part is showing that you care about the people who follow you by providing them with useful tips and letting them feel special as individuals.

We can say that building an online community is not only useful for businesses but also for consumers because they receive support and advice from people who have similar interests. People want to feel special and recognized by their idols, which is why communities are very effective at creating loyalty among certain groups or even specific members.