Online Communities. Weird or Amazing?
Over the last few years I've seen a rise in online communities and I'm curious... Do people like them? Online communities are typically hosted on Facebook. They're private groups where people can meet and discuss various topics. I've seen groups for fitness, working professionals, fan groups, the list goes on. They don't have a huge spotlight in the marketing industry but I think there's something special about them.
My thoughts on online communities? It depends on the theme/topic of the group, but they all have potential to be something amazing. I was an online fitness coach and I hosted a few online groups. I had a pretty positive experience with them! The purpose of my groups were to motivate my clients to stick to their fitness plan. It was a place for them to check-in, hold themselves accountable, and get motivation from me and others in the group. It was safe place and very effective. Although, when hosted incorrectly, online communities could easily turn into something negative.
When setting up an online community it's best to have one topic in mind and set strict guidelines that members have to follow. Otherwise your online community can easily flip into a negative place where people no longer feel safe from judgement and guilt. You don't want your online group to be a place where people compare themselves to others and feel guilty about their journey. It's best to know the people that you let into your online community and have an application process in place. Facebook makes this easy! Not only can you make your group private but you can set-up a questionnaire for people who want to join.
If you read my blog on Marketing Trends, you know that I believe we'll see an increase in companies making the effort to connect more with their customers. Online communities can be a way of doing that. Set-up a private group on Facebook for existing customers or potential customers and encourage them to engage with each other to discuss your products or services.
I feel like online communities are a great way to connect with your audience and communicate directly with them. Plus the people that are part of your group benefit. Imagine having a tupperware addiction, but having no one in your life to chat for hours about tupperware with. Then you get added to a private group on Facebook and you can talk about tupperware all day long. You have found your tribe and it's a really great feeling.
Comment below on what you think of online communities. Are you part of one? If so, do you like it?