Community spaces don’t just exist in our local areas anymore. The birth of the internet has meant that we are able to interact with like-minded people all over the world and come together to create our own communities. This can be on a full site, or it could be on a small section like the many Reddit subforums. If you want to create your own online community, here are some tips to help you make it the best it can possibly be.
Choose a Niche
Most people form a community online because they want to discuss a certain hobby or find people who might be in the same position as them. You can go as general or as specialised as you like here. Want to have a very generalised website that discusses some of the various techniques for home-schooling that exist? You can do that, and with you can create a platform where parents can come together to talk about what they have found really works – and what should be avoided – for each of their children’s individual needs.
That is very general, but you can also find very specialised groups too. You might want to celebrate a certain TV show or band, or you could even just want to set up an online support network for a remote community. There are so many options to choose from, but you should be able to find the one that works the best for you.
Find a Platform
With a niche established for your community, you then need to find the right platform. Part of this will come down to the style of the community that you want to have. If you want to build a co-operative space where you are an admin but not necessarily a leader, something like a Facebook group might be best. Everyone will be able to make their own posts and announcements, and you can monitor things as you see fit.
However, if you want to actively step into a leadership role, you need to create a brand around yourself with room for an online community within that. Platforms like Instagram and YouTube as well as blogging sites like WordPress are fantastic options here that will allow you to do so.
You will be able to create your ideal space and pitch yourself as the guiding hand within the community. If you want to not just have the community as a hobby on the side but as a full-time job, this is going to be something that you need to do. The sooner you can find the right platform to work from, the quicker you are going to be able to start building those all-important community links.
With the community established, it is time to network! There are two main factors you need to target here. On one side, you should look at ensuring that your fellow community members feel welcome and at home. On the other, you can start to reach out to other communities to begin to build links.
Let’s start within the community. In addition to forums, chats, and other ways to keep in touch, you might want to think about sending out a newsletter. This can be a great way to round things up each month, and can feature news and contributions from members themselves. Checking out how to build an email list to get started. It might be easier than you think to create something that the whole community is proud of.
You also need to start building connections with others where you can. Again, this is easier than you might first think. Is there something that the community wants to branch out to? You could arrange a talk from an expert as a fun activity to do. You could also arrange joint meetings between other like-minded groups. When it comes to expanding the reach of your own little community, the sky is truly the limit!
Accept Change as It Happens
The little community that you first found one day is not going to remain that way forever. It is always going to change in some way, be it the faces coming and going over the years or even the concepts at the core of the group. However, one of the worst things you can do is fight this change in any way.
Change is completely natural and it is something that always needs to be addressed. You might find that something new comes to your community very quickly, or it might be a whole range of very slow and steady alterations that happen over time. Whatever form the change might take, embrace and make it part of the community.
Listen to Your Members
Your members are always going to be the heart and soul of the community you are creating. Even if you are the face and figurehead of the community as a whole, they are going to be the ones who dictate much about it. As a result, you need to listen to them and their views.
If you feel like the community is not where it should be, they might have some excellent ideas to help get you back on track. They might also be able to suggest new concepts that could be introduced, or even a totally new direction for the community as a whole. Never doubt what these members might be able to offer you. With the right leadership and nurturing, you should see the value in each and every one of them.
An online community can be a fabulous place for people to come together in this busy world of ours to learn and interact with each other. Creating this safe space is a wonderful thing to do, but you need to make sure that you are nurturing it in just the right way. Do so, and you should hopefully have an online community that is dedicated to you and ready to offer friendship and companionship no matter what you might face.