Tips For Creating an Thriving Online Community for Your Personal Brand It is no secret that online communities are a powerful tool for brands. Brands such as Sephora with their Beauty Insider Program and Peloton with their popular Facebook group are examples of how utilizing online communities can be beneficial to growing a brand. The benefits of online communities are not reserved for large brands, though. Influencers, creatives, service providers, podcast hosts, authors, and many more personal brands can benefit from such communities as well — both offering value to their audience as well as benefitting and growing their brand. Creating an online community is easy — log onto Facebook or Patreon and create a group, add a name and photo, and publish your group. Creating a group that people want to be an active participant in is a very different story. Creating an online community that provides value to members means that, in turn, the community will provide more value to the creator of the group. Let’s discuss some ways to ensure your group is valuable to members:
1. Establish your Purpose and Goal
In order to get people to participate in your online community, you have to be clear on what you want them to do. Do you want your members to share their experiences with your product? Maybe you are an author and want them to discuss their thoughts on your most recent book. You might be a graphic designer who wants to create a community of designers where they can ask advice from other creatives! Whatever your goal is, be sure that it is established before you start your group.
2. Communicate the Experience through Marketing In your marketing efforts, ensure that you are communicating the experience members will have in your online community. Let them know what to expect when they join your group. This will ensure that you are attracting the right kind of members to your group — people who will engage and create conversations that serve your group’s purpose and goal.
3. Show People How To Participate At the beginning stages of your group, it is up to you to prompt engagement and show your members the ropes! It will take some time for your members to get comfortable posting and engaging without being prompted, so invest some time to create conversations in your group in the beginning. Examples would be creating posts prompting engagement in the comments or sharing posts tagging specific community members to further conversations.
4. Provide Consistent Value To Members In order to create a community that keeps people engaged, you need to ensure that it is providing value. This can be through advice, how-to content, behind the scenes content — the list goes on and on. Examine what fits within your goals and the purpose of your group and establish a consistent way to provide value to members.
5. Highlight Your Community Members Recognizing your community members is a great way to strengthen the bond of your community and ensure every member feels that they are a part of the group. When creating a group for your personal brand, it is pivotal that members feel connected to you as the group “leader” as well. Highlighting members is a fantastic way to do this — whether you make a post about one member each week, highlight members when they have accomplished something, or make a weekly post highlighting all of the new members that joined that week prompting them to introduce themselves in the comments.
Following the steps above is a great way to ensure a solid start to your online community. Success for the future of the group really comes down to one thing — consistency. Continue to engage with your group members, provide them value, and maybe even find ways to monetize your group to provide further value to your personal brand down the road.