You've probably heard people talking about “online community” being thrown around a lot recently.
You ever wondered what it means and why everyone keeps talking about it? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
An online community is a group of people who shared the same interest and connect via the internet.
Online communities are powerful because they help people make real connections and friendships.
They allow people from all over the world to come together and bond over shared interests or experiences.
There are vibrant online communities for just about every interest and skill level.
Whether you want to pick up a new language, tap into a professional network, chat about your hobbies, or stream your gaming skills, you'll find a welcoming space in one of these digital destinations.
In this post, you’ll discover exactly what an online community is, why you need to start building one right now, and explore seven of the most popular online communities out there.
Defining Online Community: What It Is and Why It Matters
So basically, an online community is a bunch of people who like the same stuff and hang out together on the internet.
Building an online community is so important today because it allows you to find your tribe, share knowledge, and help each other.
Isn’t it exciting to find people who are just as hyped as you about something you love?
Online communities make it possible to connect with like-minded folks from all over the world.
You can bond over your love of photography, gaming, travel destinations - whatever you geek out over!
Online communities also allow you to learn from each other. You can ask questions, share tips and advice, and spread information.
The collective knowledge of a community is far greater than any one individual.
You never know, you might even become an expert in your field over time by participating in the community!
7 Benefits of Building an Online Community
Building an online community around your brand or business is one of the smartest moves you can make!
Here are just a few of the major benefits:
- Engaged customers. An online community keeps your customers engaged with your brand in an authentic way.
They can connect with each other over shared interests and values. This builds loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing. - Valuable insights. Your community members will share feedback, ask questions, and discuss what they really want and need.
This gives you invaluable market research and helps you improve your products, services and customer experience. - Increased traffic. An active online community will drive more people to your website and social media profiles through sharing, liking, and linking.
This boosts your visibility and authority. - Brand ambassadors. Your most passionate community members will become brand ambassadors, recommending and promoting you to others.
They do this organically because they genuinely love your brand! - Competitive advantage. Online communities are still relatively rare, so launching one will set you apart from competitors.
You'll be seen as an innovator who truly cares about customers. - Future collaborations. The relationships you build within your community can lead to exciting partnerships, sponsorships, and other collaborations down the road. - Sales. Ultimately, a thriving online community drives sales as people get to know, like, and trust your brand.
They become eager to buy from a company that provides so much value!
Creating an online community is a big deal, but it's totally worth it in the end. Just make sure you're giving something worthwhile, connecting with people in a real way, and keeping things positive and friendly.
Do this, and your community will flourish!
How to Build an Engaged Online Community
Building an engaged online community takes work, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Follow these steps to get started:
Choose a topic and platform
Select a topic you’re passionate about and that has an audience. Some popular options include Facebook Groups, Reddit, Discord, and Slack. Each platform has its pros and cons, so evaluate which will work best for your needs.
Set clear rules and guidelines
Lay out community rules and policies to keep things positive and on-topic. Be transparent about what’s allowed and not allowed. Enforce your rules consistently and fairly.
Promote your new community on relevant platforms to attract members. Make it easy to join by keeping barriers to entry low. Offer incentives for new members like exclusive content or promotions. Engage people in discussions and make personal connections.
Keep the conversation going
Post discussion topics, questions, photos or links regularly to keep members engaged. Respond to people and acknowledge their contributions. Ask open-ended questions to spark interesting debates. Recognize and reward active members to encourage participation.
Listen and make improvements
Pay attention to feedback and make changes to improve the experience. Run polls or surveys to better understand members’ needs. Be willing to try new things, even if they don’t all work out. An evolving, member-focused community will keep people coming back.
Building an online community takes dedication, but with the right topic, platform and approach, you'll be on your way to creating a place where people can connect and bond over shared interests. Stay passionate, set the right tone, give members a voice and keep improving - that's the key to success!
7 Examples of Popular Online Communities
Facebook groups are online communities built around a shared interest or activity.
With over 1.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is home to groups for just about everything under the sun.
Join groups to connect with like-minded people, ask questions, share knowledge, and build new friendships. Some of the most popular types of Facebook groups include:
- Hobby and interest groups: Photography, cooking, gardening, etc.
- Health and wellness groups: New parents, chronic illness, fitness, etc.
- Professional networking groups: Entrepreneurs, freelancers, online business owners, etc.
Reddit is a massive network of online communities called subreddits. Each subreddit focuses on a specific topic where members can share links, images, and discuss the latest news and trends.
Some of the most popular subreddits include:
- /r/AskReddit - For open-ended questions and discussions
- /r/explainlikeimfive - For simple explanations of complex topics
- /r/aww - For cute and cuddly animal photos
- /r/movies - For movie news, reviews, discussions and recommendations
- /r/personalfinance - For advice and tips on budgeting, saving, and investing
With over 330 million monthly users, you’re sure to find a subreddit for any of your hobbies, interests or passions.
One of the keys to Reddit's success is its user-driven content curation system, which allows the community to decide what content is worth seeing and what should be removed.
Discord is a popular messaging app for online communities and friend groups.
Discord servers, also known as guilds, are dedicated spaces for people to come together around a common interest.
You can join servers to chat with like-minded people, collaborate on projects, ask for advice, share knowledge, and make new friends. Some of the biggest Discord servers have over 1 million members!
Duolingo is one of the most popular free language learning apps, with over 300 million users.
Duolingo offers short, engaging lessons to help you learn vocabulary and grammar. You can choose from over 20 languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, and more.
Duolingo is perfect for beginners and intermediate learners. The lessons start with basic greetings and phrases, then build up to more advanced vocabulary and grammar over time.
The app tracks your progress and uses adaptive algorithms to focus on topics you find challenging. You can practice every day to keep your skills sharp, even with just 5 or 10 minutes.
The Duolingo community is also a valuable resource.
You can discuss lessons and share tips with other learners, and native speakers provide audio for pronunciation practice.
Duolingo even hosts language events and meetups in some areas.
Similar to Reddit, Quora is a popular Q&A website where people ask and answer questions on any topic.
If you have a burning question, Quora probably has an answer for you.
On Quora, you can follow topics that interest you and engage in thoughtful discussions with others.
The platform promotes respectful dialog and frowns upon personal attacks or trolling.
Questions and answers on Quora tend to be high quality since the community values expertise and well-researched information.
Some of the benefits of Quora include:
Learning new things. Quora has a wealth of knowledge on countless subjects. You can discover insights into topics you're passionate about.
Gaining different perspectives. Quora brings together people from all walks of life. You'll encounter diverse viewpoints that challenge you to think in new ways.
Building your expertise. By asking and answering questions, you can establish yourself as a subject matter expert. This can lead to new opportunities and connections.
Staying on the cutting edge. Quora is a place where people discuss the latest trends, news, and technologies. You'll get exposure to what's happening at the forefront of various industries and areas of interest.
Connecting with like-minded individuals. On Quora, you can follow people who share your interests and values. This makes it easy to engage with a community of kindred spirits.
Overall, Quora is an invaluable resource for learning, sharing knowledge, gaining insights, and connecting with others.
If you have an inquisitive mind, you'll fit right in with the Quora community.
Twitch is one of the most popular live-streaming platforms, especially for gamers. With over 15 million daily users, Twitch allows you to broadcast yourself playing games, watch others play, chat with streamers and join their communities.
As a viewer, you can discover thousands of live streams of some of your favorite games like Fortnite, League of Legends, DOTA 2, and more.
Streamers provide live commentary as they play, answer questions from viewers, and build a dedicated following.
Some of the most popular streamers have millions of followers and subscribers.
If you want to become a streamer yourself, all you need is a Twitch account, a capture card to stream your gameplay, a microphone, and an optional webcam.
You can stream directly from your gaming console or use streaming software on your PC like OBS Studio.
Build your audience by sticking to a regular streaming schedule, engaging with your viewers, and promoting your channel on other social media.
Twitch also has features like:
- Chat rooms where you can connect with other viewers and the streamer.
- The ability to subscribe to streamers for ad-free viewing and access to subscriber-only chat rooms and live streams.
- An expansive catalog of “Clips” which are short, shareable highlights from live streams.
- Esports events coverage and exclusive content.
- IRL (In Real Life) streams where streamers share aspects of their life outside of gaming.
Whether you want to become the next big streamer or just enjoy watching others play, Twitch has created a one-of-a-kind community for gamers and esports fans.
With live streams happening 24 hours a day, there’s always something entertaining to watch on Twitch.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 600 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
As a member, you can connect with colleagues, mentors, and business contacts to build your professional brand, stay up-to-date with industry news, and discover new career opportunities.
- Connect with co-workers, former colleagues, and industry peers. Send connection requests to build your professional network.
- Join industry-related groups to stay on top of trends, news, and discussions in your field. Engage with like-minded professionals by commenting on posts and starting your own discussions.
- Build your professional profile to help you get discovered by recruiters and new connections. Add a professional headshot, work experience, education, skills, and accomplishments. Get endorsements and recommendations from former managers and co-workers.
- Stay up-to-date with company pages to learn about new job openings, company culture, workplace insights, and employee spotlights. Follow companies you’re interested in to get notified when they post new updates.
- Discover new job opportunities that match your experience and interests. Browse listings for full-time and part-time jobs, internships, and freelance gigs. Apply directly on LinkedIn and let your network know you’re on the job market.
Whether you're looking to make new connections, build your professional brand, or find a new career opportunity, LinkedIn is the best place to start.
The platform makes it easy to connect with like-minded professionals in your industry and stay up-to-date with the latest news and discussions.
With an active, optimized profile and by fully utilizing all of LinkedIn's features, you'll be well on your way to advancing your career.
Slack is a popular communication hub for both professional teams and casual communities.
Whether you’re collaborating with coworkers or connecting with people who share your interests, Slack has a space for you.
- Workspaces for teams: Slack is used by millions of teams and businesses for workplace communication and collaboration. You can create channels, direct message coworkers, share files and integrate with workplace tools like Google Drive, Trello, and Zoom.
- Public channels for communities: In addition to private workspaces, Slack has an array of public channels for people with common interests to connect. There are channels for learning languages, discussing movies and TV shows, getting book recommendations, and more. These public channels are a great way to find your tribe and engage with like-minded people.
- Customize your experience: Slack offers many ways to tailor the platform to your needs. You can create custom channels, add apps and integrations, set notifications preferences, change your interface theme, and choose a profile photo to represent yourself. Whether you’re using Slack for work or play, you can make the space your own.
- Available on all your devices: The Slack app is available on mobile (iOS and Android), desktop (Mac and Windows), and web. So no matter what device you’re using, you can stay up to date with your Slack workspaces and channels. You can also enable notifications to get alerts on your mobile devices whenever there’s an activity in Slack.
Overall, Slack aims to be a flexible and open environment for efficient teamwork and meaningful connections.
If you’re looking to improve communication at your workplace or build a community around shared interests, Slack is worth checking out.
You now have a solid understanding of what online community is and why it's so valuable.
And also explore a few examples of the many excellent online communities that exist today.
Each community offers something unique, but they all share a common goal of bringing people together and fostering engagement and interaction.
The opportunities to connect, share, learn, and grow are endless. So, start building your online community today.
Reach out and engage with like-minded people. Share your knowledge and experiences. Ask questions and provide helpful answers. Promote an environment of support and encouragement.
Your community is out there, so get online and find your tribe! The future is online, so get out there and be a part of it! Build your community and change lives!