What is Online Community? An In-Depth Guide

What is Online Community? People often ask this question and get confused with social networking sites and online groups. Communities form everywhere and anywhere, and most of us are part of at least one community without knowing it. Online communities, in general, build a social hub of people with the same interest together. People join a community for specific reasons, and organizations use this to turn the audience into loyal customers. This article will offer you an in-depth guide about online communities and how they benefit you in several ways. So if you are planning to start your community, this guide is for you. Let’s start!!

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Define Online Community

What is Online Community
What is Online Community

An online community refers to an online platform where people with a shared interest connect, engage, inspire, and grow. There are several reasons behind building a community, such as a learning purpose, gaining knowledge, building a network, or simply for a hobby or interest. So to answer what is online community, you must first learn about the various associated factors. The six most common types of communities include:

  • Discussion Community
  • Event Community
  • Support Community
  • Action Community
  • Brand Community
  • Knowledge and Learning Community

Online Communities Vs Social Networks: What’s the Difference?

Social networks have gained immense popularity from the audience. However, both of them differ completely from each other. In a social network, people connect and join to build relationships and network with people sitting across the world.

Typically, the reasons people connect on social networks are completely personal, like sharing thoughts and exchanging their life experiences. Whereas an online community is formed keeping in mind a specific reason as members join for definite reasons only. As a result, people are more likely to connect and engage in fulfilling their needs and being involved beyond sharing information.

A social networking platform only allows people to connect and share their thoughts. However, online communities are more like local clubs where people interact for a reason. If you are planning to start building your community, we are going to guide you through.

5 Benefits of Building an Online Community

benefits of online community
What is Online Community

Direct Customer Relationships

One of the biggest reasons brands use online communities is to gain direct access to their customers. An online community is a place for brands and businesses to have a platform where they can connect with their audience on a more personal level. It offers them a place to learn about their audience and gain feedback about their products or services.

Market Research

What’s better than having a place where you can build personalized relationships with your audience? An online community offers a perfect place for brands and businesses for market research. It allows them to learn how their customers are responding to the new changes and what modifications they ask for. A well-built online community is an excellent source of information for businesses who want to gain insight from their audience before launching a new product or service.

Brand Loyalty and Advocacy

The reason for building an online community might be different, but each business or brand aims to infuse brand loyalty and advocacy among its customers. When you have an active community of people who are already interested in your products or services, it becomes easier to prepare a brigade of evangelists for your brand.

All of us, in one or another way, are addicted to brands whom we cannot cheat. Building this kind of loyalty and advocacy requires great efforts and strategies. With online communities, you can connect with the audience who keep you as their first preference and inspire others to think the same way.

Feedback and Customer Support

Do you think a business can turn into a brand without the right customers feedback? Feedbacks are crucial to learning what your product or service lacks and what modifications are needed. As you get a platform where you have full control and ownership, it becomes easier to understand the customer’s thoughts about your products or services.

Moreover, it also allows businesses and brands to provide customer support and cut costs. When you already have your team of brand advocates ready to answer on your behalf, you don’t have to invest in customer support and focus better on other important stuff. First, your community members are ready to answer the queries of other members. Second, you can respond to each question in a centralized place.

Privacy and Ownership

When you have your online community, you don’t have to fear distraction, privacy, and competitors, as it is a place specifically dedicated to your products and services. Here, you can talk about your products and services without the fear of privacy and ownership, unlike other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. In addition, you can make rules and regulations that your members need to abide by to protect your privacy.

Build Your Online Community With BuddyX Theme

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what is online community

As you learn what is online community and its benefits, it is time to learn how to get started. While building your community, you have two options to keep in mind. One is a mainstream social media website, and the other is hosting your community website. Building your online community is not a complex task anymore.

With a free community-building solution like the BuddyX theme, you can create your community from scratch. Create both public and private communities using BuddyX, which is easily compatible with the top platforms like BuddyPress. Whatever you need is just a click away. Get this free theme with extensive features and functionalities to launch a fully-functional online community.

Create a Space for Your Audience

Online communities form in many ways. It is not only about what is online community but about how to build a space that provides value to your customers. You need to figure out what you want with your online community. The major purpose of a community is centered on providing the audience with what they look for.

In other words, an online community should focus on the primary goal rather than focusing only on marketing. Remember, it’s a place for your audience, and they join because of a motive. So, if you only focus on marketing strategies, the results will be limited.

BuddyX theme

Find a way to make your online community more interactive by offering your members a chance to learn more about your products and services. With BuddyX, you can create your platform for free. However, it requires constant efforts and brainstorming to build your community and grow.

Interesting Reads:

How to Create Your Own Social Networking Website?

How Have Social Networking Websites Affected Social Groups?

How to Build a Social Network Website With WordPress?