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One-directional customer relationships are so 2005. The greatest brands of our time don't just talk at their customers, they engage with them and build meaningful connections.
And this is where a customer community comes in.
What is a customer community?
A customer community is a dedicated space that hosts a relationship between a brand or company and its customers; it can allow for questions and answers, knowledge exchange, customer education or promotional opportunities, or product support and feedback.
This relationship could be built in different ways, for example, through email, a website, social media, or a dedicated online forum.
But the important word here is RELATIONSHIP.
Good customer communities aren’t just places for brands to throw sales pitches. The old saying is that people want to do business with those they “know, like, and trust,” and that’s what a customer community does best. It creates the space for this trust to grow.
Why you should build a customer community
People buy a product or service because they want something. Usually, that something is a transformation of some sort, whether it's a clean kitchen (i.e. oven cleaner), to lose 10 pounds (i.e. running gear), to have the perfect garden (i.e. a gardening magazine), or to spend Saturdays in the backyard with their family (i.e. a BBQ).
But just because someone buys a tent, it doesn't mean they know how to camp.
This is where a great customer community comes in.
If you can go beyond the transaction, and help your customers actually succeed with your product or service, you will have raving fans who’ll tell their friends about you. In short, a customer community isn’t simply to sell more. It’s to help your customers succeed.
But there’s more! A thriving customer community will also give you valuable feedback on your products and services, feedback that you might otherwise have to pay to get.
For these reasons and more, building a customer community makes a ton of sense. So what are you waiting for?
You can use Mighty Networks to build a fantastic customer community.
8 awesome examples of customer communities
1. Topstitch Makers
There are some brilliant examples of customer communities right here on Mighty Networks. Look no further than Leigh Metcalf, who built a Mighty Network (AKA a “sewcial network”) as an extension of her fabric and sewing business, Topstitch Studio and Lounge. Her Mighty Network, Topstitch Makers, offers courses and weekly sewalongs to empower members to stitch their way to success.
Duolingo is the app that made language learning fun, easy, and pretty much free (freemium)! And behind the scenes, Duolingo has a dedicated volunteer community that devotes itself to answering user language questions and making the app better.
Sold on the idea that EVERYONE should have access to language learning, these passionate polyglots even volunteer their time to incorporate new languages and modules onto the platform!
Oiselle is a women’s running apparel brand that wanted to go beyond just selling merchandise and help its customers learn and connect with others. And they’ve built a Mighty Network, Oiselle Volée, around the joy of exercise.
At first, it was a place to find a running partner. But the pandemic expanded what the Oiselle community does. Now, its 4000 members can find a place to belong through real conversations and thriving virtual events.
Lego is a multibillion-dollar brand, known to kids for the amazing building potential and known by parents as little landmines that hurt when you step on them.
Actually, Lego is loved around the world by kids and adults alike, and a collection of devoted builders share ideas on the Lego customer community. Members can even vote on which fan builds should get the stamp of approval to become authentic Lego kits!
Peloton rose to prominence during the pandemic when we were all trying to exercise in our living rooms. They created a powerful customer community around exercise. Users can swap scores, video chat during their sessions, and encourage each other on the Peloton Facebook group.
Adobe products are dedicated to creating: photos, videos, music, and more. They’re industry standards. But ask anyone who’s ever used an Adobe product, and they’ll tell you that they’re not easy to learn.
The Adobe customer community provides a space for people to share questions and answers, as well as tips for making the most out of the software. Their slogan, "Come for help, be inspired," pretty much sums their approach, which starts with helping customers figure out their programs, and takes them on a journey towards mastering their craft.
Apple has built a thriving customer community that doubles as a customer support platform. They’ve even gamified the experience so that contributors get points and are allowed more moderation features as they move up levels. Users who get to the top levels also get access to an exclusive community.
And yes, if you’re thinking it, gamifying your customer service so that customers want to spend time providing each other with support is a pretty brilliant use of a customer community.
For a great customer community in action, look no further than Shopify.
Since Shopify helps their customers build stores to sell their stuff, the Shopify community is dedicated to providing training and knowledge-building, answering FAQs, and even hosting live events.