What do you do when you want to give your fans or customers more?
Maybe you’re an influencer with a huge following looking for a way to monetize and connect. Or maybe you’re a business, trying to find a way to keep your customers engaged and help them get the most out of your product or service.
The answer might be an online brand community.
Online brand communities are places where fans and customers come together to ask questions, get support, attend events, buy more products, and even meet friends. And while there are a lot of different ways brands are using online communities, in this article, we’ll showcase 14 of the absolute best.
While these online brand community examples range from small businesses to huge corporations, from creators to companies, the thing that they all have in common is that they’ve figured out how to use a community to give their customers or fans more connection and value.
If you want more support in building your online community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!
What’s an online brand community?
An online brand community is a space where customers, users, and fans can come together to engage with a brand.
Usually, online brand communities offer a range of support from actual customer service to bonuses and incentives for superusers to opportunities to make friends. They're built around a shared need to get more from a brand.
14 Online brand community examples
Oiselle is a women’s running apparel company that built an online brand community with Mighty Pro. Their community, Oiselle Volée, is a place where women can gather together around the joy of running.
When Oiselle was looking to build their online brand community, they wanted a space where they could let members connect with other runners. But they also wanted to offer valuable resources to their members.
Their answer was to build a paid brand community that’s now almost 4,000 members strong.
Over time, the community evolved from being a place where people could get tips or find a running partner to being a place where people who identify as women could grab a cup of coffee and chat with like-minded people. This included subcommunities formed to create space and connection for specific groups, like LGBTQ+ women or women of color.
“It's also an extension of what we can do as a company: offer this space for people that maybe can't go out and talk about their identity with somebody else.” – Carolyn Gardner, Oiselle Team Leader
Oiselle Volée showcases what an online brand community can be, and it’s so much more than just customer support. It brings people together around the ideals and values that shape the brand and helps its customers build true friendships around a shared love of exercise – and that’s what makes it great.
If there’s an online brand community that truly exemplifies the wonder that can happen when fans come together for the joy of a product, it’s Lego. Lego’s online brand community is pure magic, where people gather to meet fellow Lego enthusiasts, chat, and enter contests.
Oh yeah, and our personal favorite. Users can submit their own Lego designs, and people vote on which ones they like best. The ones with the most votes will be turned into official Lego kits! And when you can mix consumer-led product design with enthusiastic voters that give you free market research – that’s magical.
3. LO sister
Sadie Robertson Huff is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, TV star, and influential voice for young Christian women. She has a podcast called WOAH, That’s Good and 4.6 million followers on Insta.
And last year, Sadie used Mighty Pro to launch her own online brand community and app – LO sister. It’s a faith-based community that helps young women live out their faith and meet others on their spiritual journeys.
4. Yoga with Adriene
She was looking to build a community to help her 10 million+ followers go deeper into the practice of Yoga and connect with others, so she launched the Find What Feels Good (FWFG) Kula Community.
She built an amazing online brand community that – so far – well over 200,000 members have accessed. Members get all sorts of bonuses, like virtual yoga retreats, 30-day yoga journeys, and access to other subgroups.
The community even has a totally branded, white-label app so that users can take their yoga journey directly on their cell phones.
What’s great about the FWFG Kula community is that it transforms YouTube viewers into members, bringing them from passive watchers to engaged belongers. And that journey into belonging is central to creating online brand communities that work.
When Airbnb thinks about travel, they think about more than just becoming the world’s largest hotel. They know that their business only runs if they have thousands and millions of hosts who know how to make their guests’ experiences totally memorable.
And that’s why Airbnb launched a support community to help the people who open their homes go from lost newbies to superhosts.
What makes Airbnb’s community great is that it serves as a one-stop shop for onboarding new hosts and getting them up to speed with how Airbnb works. There’s also lots of info under the “Help” section for troubleshooting when things go wrong, which they occasionally do.
And, to connect hosts on more than just opening their homes, Airbnb also includes a section called “Interests” to promote conversations and friendship building. Airbnb is using its brand community to help its hosts do their best work and create a welcoming space for guests, and that’s pretty cool!
6. Sktchy Art School
Jordan Melnick had realized the power of community long before he founded Sketchy Art School – organizing bike scavenger hunts and recruiting local bands to cover Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ album.
But one community event, Sktchy Miami, seemed to offer something especially special. It simply brought together a bunch of people to drop in and draw each other. He was surprised at the popularity of the in-person event, with 500 or 600 people right from the beginning, and he decided to take the movement online.
A community formed around sharing photos and drawing portraits from them, and it’s grown to be over 18,000 strong. Jordan also offers different drawing courses in the community: Sktchy Art School.
What’s great about Sktchy as an online brand community is that it’s a grassroots movement. It’s not a company with a huge marketing budget. It’s just a bunch of people who love creating and meeting other creatives who come together to draw.
If you’re not under 15 or someone who’s up-to-date on the promising future of the metaverse, you might not know what Roblox is. Roblox is an online brand community that’s 150 million strong and lets people build games and worlds, create avatars, and immerse themselves in virtual reality.
It’s a grassroots movement, where teams of people or individuals can build worlds or games and release them on the platform. They can also monetize their work, either through selling access or in-game purchases, and the top Roblox activities have millions of users.
What’s probably most amazing about Roblox is how low-tech it is. The graphics are just as clunky and basic as a 1995 PC game.
But what’s amazing about Roblox is that it’s still growing like wildfire. By giving kids (yeah, it is mostly kids) a space where they can meet friends, play, create, and even host metaverse concerts and birthday parties, Roblox works.
It’s an example of an online brand community that proves that the slick design of a brand isn’t as important as the relationships a brand community brings, and that’s why Roblox isn’t going anywhere soon.
8. Topstich Makers
Leigh Metcalf was running a bricks-and-mortar business in Atlanta, Topstich studio, that was built around a love of sewing. But then the pandemic hit and she couldn’t run her in-person sewing workshops and sessions anymore.
She took it online. She turned Topstich from a local to an online business, and created a brand community that included sewing lessons and workshops, sewalongs, and lots of resources.
Today, Topstitch makers has over 500 members and is the perfect spot for people who love sewing.
Leigh’s story is great because it’s one of those examples of a brand community that ended up replacing a bricks-and-mortar business with something totally online. She never did open her storefront again. Instead, she now focuses her energy on her online space and the magic that happens there.
Apple is a giant, with more than 1.8 billion users worldwide. And for that reason, the Apple brand community proves that no company is too big to benefit from the power of community. Although, unlike others on this list, Apple uses its community mostly for customer support.
But if you’re imagining a boring support line operated by Apple staff, think again. The online brand community brings together people who care A LOT about Apple products, many of whom devote serious time, for free, to answer questions and become Apple support ambassadors.
Apple rewards its volunteers with increasing levels of trust, with the top commenters eventually earning a place in a unique, dedicated Apple expert community.
Apple is one of the best examples of a brand community site for a HUGE company, and it shows that you’re never too big to have grassroots support and passionate superfans.
10. Artsnacks Mix
Brother and sister artists Lee and Sarah Rubenstein were selling their art supply boxes on Instagram. While they were excited by the quick growth in their subscription business, they were looking for an opportunity to bring their new customers together for more.
So when they launched an online brand community called ArtSnacks Mix, they knew they’d hit on a winning combination, where artists who bought their boxes could come together, share their work, and get feedback.
What’s great about ArtSnacks mix is that it shows that people who buy products LOVE to have a space to actually use them. It took subscribers and made them community members, and that’s awesome!
Calling all bookkeepers and business owners. QuickBooks is a bookkeeping software that helps businesses large and small invoice, track their accounts and spending, pay employees, and more.
And since bookkeeping isn’t always simple, and getting the books wrong comes at a pretty high cost, the QuickBooks community is a place for people who use the product to get the knowledge they need to use it well.
QuickBooks works as an online brand community because the software itself is complicated. The brand community helps people share advanced knowledge and get their bookkeeping right.
Adobe and QuickBooks probably have more in common than the two realize. This isn’t because bookkeepers and creatives are the same, but because Adobe is also a complicated, industry software that takes some know-how to use.
That’s why the Adobe support community is also a place where creatives can get together and get advice on using the Adobe products – especially when they get stuck. There are lots of great resources there, and lots of keen community members who love to help fellow creatives.
It’s mostly a customer support community, but since Adobe products are so intricate and have such passionate users, it works!
Too many of us know the pain of buying workout clothes only to have them sit in your closet. Nike gets it too, and as a solution built an online brand community to help its customers get the most out of those running shoes.
The Nike community has workouts you can follow, but it also offers members exclusive deals and promos, plus birthday benefits, making it more likely that their customers will be repeat customers. Plus, Nike’s run club gets you inspired to get off the couch and move.
Nike is an interesting example of an online brand community because it mixes accountability and usability advice with upselling more products. But since they have avid fans who are often looking for more gear, it works.
14. Mighty Community
We’d be remiss if we talked about all these online brand communities without mentioning ours. After all, the Mighty Community is a space where people who want to create amazing communities or engaging courses come to learn and grow together!
And did we mention it’s totally free? You can join here!
Come see an online brand community in action, and get a ton of free resources on how to make yours shine!
Whether it’s to offer answers to stuck customers or to bring people together to form long-lasting relationships, an online brand community can pay dividends for your business. It brings the magic of connection and lets your customers and/or fans get more from every interaction with you.
If you’re looking for an amazing place to build and host your online brand community, try building a Mighty Network! Each Mighty Network comes with a powerful community engine, and its flexible Spaces let you choose from features like forums, articles, Q&As, polls, live streaming, courses, and integrated events.
And you can even choose to create your own totally branded white-label app with Mighty Pro. If you’re a brand or company looking for a totally custom solution to your online brand community, schedule a call with us.