Building A Thriving Online Community: The Top Social Media Platforms To Consider
Social media platforms and the communities they host hold significant sway in your marketing efforts. By leveraging these platforms to build communities, you can strategically enhance engagement with your brand. As you encourage leads and customers to participate in these communities, interacting with your brand’s values and identity, you increase the likelihood of cultivating loyal customers who are invested in your products or services.
Achieving this goal often requires adapting to new trends. For example, it’s growing increasingly common for brands across a range of industries to boost engagement by developing active online communities on social media platforms.
You could be doing the same. The following guide will help. It explains what a social media online community is, what social media platforms you may consider when planning your community, and what you can do to identify the best social media to create an online community for your brand.
What is an Online Community?
An online community is simply a community whose members connect with one another through the internet. Typically, members of an online community will share some common bonds.
A successful online community is one that drives engagement. For an online community to thrive, its members need to consistently interact not only with each other but with any content that is posted to the community.
Why Build an Online Community?
There are many reasons to consider building an online community, particularly if you’re a marketer. Examples to consider include the following:
- Networking with other professionals in your niche
- Encouraging users to generate their own content with your products and/or services
- Cultivating a strong sense of brand loyalty among new leads and existing customers
- Offering customer support
Be aware that some members of an online community may even become unofficial brand ambassadors. Their enthusiasm for and devotion to your brand could help you attract even more customers.
Types of Online Communities
Online communities come in many forms. Again, the fundamental quality of all members of an online community is that they share some sort of bond or connection. Examples include:
- Interest: Many of the most popular online communities bring together individuals who share an interest in a topic. That topic can be as basic and general as a sports team or as niche as a theoretical academic principle.
- Action: Online communities often help to connect individuals who wish to address an issue via common action. For example, an activist group could create an online community for the purposes of organizing rallies and other such tasks.
- Place: Many real-world places have corresponding online communities. For instance, there’s likely already a Facebook group for members of your town, city, or county.
- Practice or Profession: Again, online communities can be ideal for professional networking purposes. According to research, people are actually more likely to use online communities to connect with peers and colleagues than to connect with families and friends.
- Learning: Some online communities exist to help participants develop a skill together or achieve some other type of common learning goal.
- Brand: There are instances when online communities exist primarily to represent a brand and its values. Nike is one brand that has been an early adopter of this strategy, offering its customers a sense of community in the digital realm.
Consider the needs and preferences of your audience when deciding what type of community to create. Doing so is key to planning a community that yields engagement.
Best Social Media Platforms to Consider and Their Strengths
It’s wise to use existing social media to create an online community instead of trying to create your own from scratch. If you’re not sure what’s the best social media to create an online community, consider the most popular options:
- Facebook: Facebook allows for diverse communities with various formats of content.
- Instagram: Instagram is ideal for influencers and visual content.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social media platform perfect for building an online community of like-minded professionals.
- Twitter: Twitter allows members of an online social media community to participate in real-time discussions of trending topics.
- Reddit: Consider starting an online community on Reddit if your area of focus is very niche.
- YouTube: You may create a community on YouTube if you want to emphasize posting and sharing video content.
Consider researching the demographics of users on these various social media platforms. Your goal is to identify which platforms your potential customers are most likely to use.
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Community
When trying to decide what is the best social media to create your online community, keep the following advice in mind:
- Clearly define the purpose of your community and the specific goals you wish to achieve by starting it
- Define your target audience and perform research to determine what social media platforms are most popular among your audience
- Experiment with each platform, evaluating their features and functionality to confirm whether a given platform will be able to effectively serve your needs
- Ensure a social media platform allows you to create the type of community that aligns with your brand’s values
- Decide whether you want to build a community on a single platform or whether building communities on multiple platforms may give you the opportunity to cast a wider net
- Consider selecting a flexible social media platform that will allow you to adapt to changing social media trends with relative ease
- Confirm a platform’s data and analytics tools will allow you to monitor engagement
- Analyze your competitors, finding out which social media platforms they’ve created communities with
Most importantly, be an active participant in your community. Creating an online community on social media gives you the chance to forge a deeper connection with your customers. These tips will help you achieve that critical goal.
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