8 Tips For Building An Online Community Around Anything

Over the past few years, a lot of attention has been paid to companies’ growing followers and marketing on social media channels. However, the best kind of engagement involves building a real online community. Online communities that a company curates and grows can help it reach influencers, power brand recognition, increase website traffic, receive user feedback and connect with new potential customers.

Building a community around your startup can be one of the cheapest ways to create momentum for your product. A community is much more than a one-time marketing campaign and it can help you throughout your company’s life cycle if you take the time to grow it right.

Here are 8 tips for building an online community around anything:

1. Start Early

New social networks (such as Pinterest, Snapchat, Ello, and Instagram) pop up all the time. Be an early adopter of new platforms to catch the spike in traffic and interest. You can still achieve great success with established platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. But don’t miss the chance to build on new and rapidly growing social networks in the future. Invest time with current networks, but be on the lookout for fresh opportunities on the ground floor.

2. Create A Loyalty Program

A loyalty or rewards program is a simple way to entice customers to return regularly. Many types of businesses can set up this kind of program, including salons, coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques. Nowadays, you can go beyond the traditional method of punching a card when someone makes a purchase by using mobile apps to track customer loyalty.

3. Engaging/Caring

When someone leaves a comment on your site, you have two choices. Respond or ignore. It is up to you. Some people never respond and some other people respond to every comment no matter what. Of course, it will be difficult to respond to everything as your community grows. However, success happens when you make it everyone else your priority.

4. Leverage Any And All Connections At Your Disposal

You must value your own friends and connections to start the community. Ask them to be a part of your community and to help you grow it. Email lists are often overlooked as a chance to ask your existing community to follow you elsewhere. Social Fresh found early success by building partnerships with conferences and leveraging their audiences, so definitely think about any partners or deals you can make to help build your base.

5. Guest Posts/Videos/Articles

Finding sites in your niche that allow guest posting is an incredible way to build community and bring in new folks. Being a good writer or creator of any medium can qualify you to do guest posts. The key here is to be specific and to take your same philosophy to other people’s sites.

6. Build Partnerships

The importance of third-party sites and groups for promoting a company’s community cannot be overstated. Network with other group owners and active forum moderators on a platform like LinkedIn to cross-promote one another’s communities. Reach out to the news media and influential bloggers to get your online community named on “best of” and “top 50” style lists. Such efforts can boost membership vastly. Invite users to talk about your online community, link to the platform and highlight discussions of interest.

7. Build Your Authority By Speaking & Teaching

No matter what type of business you own, you probably have customers and potential customers who would like to learn more about various topics. You can build your authority and get better known in the community in a variety of ways. Consider speaking at local business events, talk to your local library or community college and put yourself in positions to have your voice heard.

8. Go For The Long Haul

Online-community engagement via social media does not have a specific end date such as a marketing campaign might. Develop a strategy that you can sustain over the long haul. Consider using dedicated, focused staff or a professional social-media consulting firm. When you begin to see traction, redouble your efforts to compound your success.


These are some of the ways that your business can get more active in your community. Today, the online and offline worlds are merging more often so it’s important to focus your efforts in both realms (however your own business operates). When you start thinking about the benefits of building community, you’ll start to come up with ideas of your own. In this post, we shared 8 tips for building an online community around anything.

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