CommonLounge Archive

Building an online community around your product

December 23, 2017

Community building is all about building authentic connections between customers which attracts more people into the group.

A strong community around a product or service produces community evangelists. These are people who are passionate about a product or service and tell others about how awesome it is.

How to start building a community

Many successful startups that gained traction from community building had an existing audience from a blog or previous company, but this is not necessary.

Communities need to have a mission, or shared sense of purpose, that people will gather around. People who join the community have bought into the vision.

It’s important to be open with the community and include them in decision-making whenever possible.

Make sure to connect with them and value them.

Give them a place to discuss the product or group that they’re so passionate about.

Some companies also send them emails or gifts, though personal interaction is best.

Setting guidelines

It’s extremely important to keep the community a high-quality experience for everyone.

You can do this by setting strict guidelines of what is and is not allowed. Usually the members will police themselves.

Many communities employ a merit system where users vote posts up or down. Posts that get the most votes go to the top of the list.

Communities that develop

Many communities actually serve to develop a company’s product.

Companies like Yelp, Codecademy, and Wikipedia have contributors and editors that create content for the company.

Other companies make their code open-source, so the community can contribute to make it better.

A community is also a great place to find new employees, as they are already passionate about your culture and mission.

Who community building works for

Community building is great for companies whose main aim is to bring people together or who value people in some way.

How to succeed

Find and foster evangelists who love your brand and will tell anyone about it.

Set high standards for your community right from the start.

If you already have a following or audience, you can use it to start a community.

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