If you’re reading this, then you’ve already realized the power of utilizing an online community platform for your business.
Online community platforms are great because they’ve done the hard work of developing the tools you need to create unique virtual spaces for your members to interact in. But getting started on a modern community platform can feel daunting.
Good news: it doesn’t have to be.
Ahead, we’re exploring how to get started on a modern community platform.
Why should you get started on a modern community platform?
Community platforms are a great service to use to build a community space for your business because they allow you to skip all of the development woes and focus on your content and member experience.
Unlike traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, modern community platforms are designed to give creators more freedom and control over how they construct their communities.
But most importantly, when you get started on a modern community platform you don’t need thousands of people to be successful. Why? Because on a community platform you can focus on creating deeper connections with your members. Instead of simply having a large group of followers you don’t know, you can focus on bringing together your more dedicated supporters under one roof.
Steps to get started on a modern community platform
Ahead, we’re walking through the key steps you’ll need to consider when building a community on a modern community platform. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, we believe the ideas we’re covering will make your task much easier.
1. Clearly define your community’s Big Purpose
If you’re trying to build an online community, it’s important to first define why you’re bringing people together in the first place.
At the end of the day, a community is a group of like-minded people coming together around a shared interest, idea, or goal and trying to solve it together. Your Big Purpose is the reason why your members are coming together in your community.
Remember, a community works because you’re creating a network of support between your members to accomplish a shared goal together.
2. Figure out who you’re trying to reach
Once you’ve nailed down the motivating purpose behind your community, the next step is to figure out who your ideal member is. Your ideal member is someone who will be the most excited and benefited from joining your online community.
Determining who your audience is though is no easy task. A great way to get started on defining who these people are is to interview a handful of people who seem to be in your target audience. Ask them questions about their goals, what motivates them, what they are afraid of. Use their insights as an anchor to ground your efforts in creating content and experiences that address their needs.
The most important thing to remember is that just because you’re focusing on an ideal member doesn’t mean that you’re stuck catering to them forever. As your community grows, your members will bring in new people with similar interest and the scope can grow
If you’re having difficulty choosing just one kind of person to serve, just remember that you are going to be able to add more kinds of people once you’ve got your community off the ground. This is a momentary focus that will increase your chances of success long term.
3. Choose an online community platform that does it all
Every step we’re talking about is important, but ultimately the most important step to get started on a modern community platform is choosing the right platform to use.
If you’ve done any research into the landscape of online community platforms on the market today, then you know there are a lot. One of the biggest differentiating factors between platforms, however, is whether they are designed with native features in mind or integrations.
When you see a platform that advertises native features that means they have built the tools and services you need right into their platform. This might not seem like a big deal, but what it means is that the features take advantage of what makes the community platform unique.
There are fewer technical issues, and if something does happen, customer support will be better equipped to help you. But most importantly, native features save you a lot of money and time spent juggling multiple platforms.
The other popular approach to build online community platforms is to rely on integrations and plugins. What this means is that the platform itself has made it easy to incorporate platforms you might already be utilizing for your business into your online community.
Using integrations to get started on a modern community platform is an enticing method, and it can be convenient. But many creators will end up dreading it in the long term. The main issue here is that the integrations you utilize aren’t necessarily improving their services based on the changes your community platform makes.
That means you’ll run into compatibility issues from time to time. But as we stated earlier, why force yourself to juggle multiple platforms to have a handle on your community when you can choose a place that does it all?
You’ll save time and a lot of money by choosing somewhere that focuses on native features for their users.
A platform that grows with you
Choose a community platform that allows your business to expand as your membership grows. Even if you’re trying to get started on a modern community platform solely to offer a virtual space for your group of like-minded individuals, that doesn’t mean you might not want to one day host a virtual event or create an online course.
When you choose the right platform, those features will be waiting for you when you’re ready to offer them. Some features that we love are:
- Discussion board posts.
- Polls and Q&As.
- Live & recorded video.
- Live events.
- Paid content.
- Online courses.
And the best community platforms will offer these features natively.
4. Spread the word
Once you have chosen your platform and built your initial content, it’s time to start spreading the word about what you’re building.
If you’re transitioning an existing following over to your new online community space then you might already have an email list ready to go. But if you don’t, that’s fine too. Recruit a small group of people initially to help you spread the word and get your initial members. These folks can be a test group for your content and a way to make your community space seem lively ahead of the official launch.
Having this initial squad of people behind you can make your launch feel less nerve-wracking too. As your community grows, you can create your own network effect in your private community. Each new member that joins provides their own unique perspective and skillset which adds more value to your business.
5. Experiment with new things
One of the easiest ways to stunt the growth of your community is to stick to doing the same things over and over again. Sure, continue doing what works for you and your members, but don’t be afraid to spread your wings a bit and try new forms of content and experiences.
What we’re getting at is when you build an online community there will always be new angles to explore and new ways to interact with your members. An incredibly easy way to figure out how you might diversify your content is to simply ask your members what they’d like to see more of and what isn’t working.
When you’re willing to be flexible and experiment with new kinds of content, you will have more fun as the leader of your community, but you’ll also find ways to bring new people in that wouldn’t have joined otherwise.
Mighty Networks is the best modern community platform
As we’ve stated throughout this article, getting started on a modern community platform is a great way to bring your business to the next level. And Might Network is the best place for you to build your community.
We’ve been around since 2017 and have led the pack when it comes to online community platforms on the market. Why? Because we’ve always believed that giving creators the tools to build online communities can help make the world a better place. Traditional community websites aren’t allowing creators to connect with their audiences in the ways they used to.
When you choose to build a community site on Mighty Networks you’re gaining access to world-class online community tools, online courses, virtual event hosting, and a native mobile app experience available across web, iOS and Android devices.
All of this sounds pretty great, right? Let’s get started building a stellar online community for your business today.