Benefits of Starting Your Own Online Community
- Influence by being a facilitator
- Connecting people together
Where Should You Host Your Community?
Find out where people are already talking about your products, brand, services or better yet the topics you want to discuss in your community. It is best to start where there is already a gathering of interested people. If you are starting fresh consider one of the following:
- Facebook Group
- LinkedIn Group
- Google Plus Community
- Your own website/chat board (see below)
Host it on your own site
- VBulletin- paid option (plans start at $19.95/mo. or $249 for life support)
- bbpress- free option (WordPress plugin created by WordPress)
What to talk about?
- Remember that no one likes to be sold to, especially in a community setting.
- Lead with value and common ground topics
- Showcase your expertise but don’t pitch
- Ask questions and encourage conversation.
- Consider a free posting day where members can promote their specials and events on specific days of the week
- Try different themes for different days
- Manage and moderate well
- Don’t forget it takes time to build an active community.
- Join other successful and active communities and see how they do it.
- Some of the best communities (and easiest to build) are built around common interest, NOT a brand.
- Communities that are based on a niche topic are typically more successful than communities that are based on broad topics.
- As your community grows, consider assigning more moderators to help keep the community discussion appropriate.