In last week’s article, we shared the how and why behind “sticky” online groups— those that seem to grow and expand on their own.
If you read that article and thought, that’s great for those groups. But I don’t have the time/skills/network to build a whole community like that…. We hope today’s insights will prove that any online group can become a magnetic community with the right strategy in place.
How do online groups develop a sense of community?
There are four key strategies you can use to make your online group more than just another feed on your members’ page. And with these strategies in place, over time, your group can become a distinctive community where members go to find resources, connections, promotional opportunities, and belonging.
Here are the four key strategies:
Prioritize accessibility. For your members to notice the value your online group delivers, they must have easy access to it. You need a community platform that’s available on desktop and mobile, that’s easy to search and use, and is exceptionally user-friendly. You also need a digital space free of clutter and spam postings that distract users from the valuable resources, content, events, and conversations happening there. Create a clear, consistent plan to upload your content, connect members to your live virtual events, and quickly address any troubleshooting issues. The more clear and generous the value your community offers, the more excited your members will be. And excited members share!
Seek healthy, diverse participation. In many online groups, a handful of members carry the conversation. Rather than creating a sense of community, this makes it more difficult for less engaged members to share and connect. Instead, encourage frequent communication and participation from all your members. Ask your more vocal members to make a point to engage with new members, and present frequent opportunities for group collaboration. Creating space for diverse voices further builds value into your online community. Make sure you bring diversity and inclusion into your community space so that all members can feel comfortable in the environment.
Listen to feedback. Keep your ears open for group member feedback. What are members talking about on the wall? What kind of posts get the most engagement? What events are the best attended and generate the most conversation? The more feedback you internalize and act on, the better you can tailor your online group to your members, creating a truly valuable community.
Carefully monitor the tone. If you notice your online group is full of spam messages, distracting promotions, or divisive comments, it’s time to moderate. Moving to a community engagement platform that offers a marketplace feature (like TAGFI!) is a great way to give your members promotional opportunities on a dedicated business board— allowing them to leverage their network without creating a spammy environment in your group.
Want to learn more about launching your own interactive marketplace community?
TAGFI is a community marketplace software company that helps online communities, businesses, and group leaders develop thriving digital communities— and recurring revenue. Visit TAGFI.com/groupleaders to explore our software solutions. To see TAGFI software in action and network with other TAGFI group leaders, join our next event here.