Martinus Evans was a creator with more than 32,000 Instagram followers, where he built an audience around being a beginning runner. With the platforms out there celebrating the fastest, he used his story to inspire the newbies. While planning to turn his following into a business, he started looking for the right online community creator. He discovered Mighty Networks and launched the Slow AF Run Club. In his first year, he made $140,000 with his community.
While there are a lot of different reasons to choose to build a community, there are a lot of creators and brands who are experiencing what Martinus experienced as he turned his social following into a six-figure brand, now with over 6,000 members. It’s the power of an online community.
In this article, we’ll talk about some of the things to think about when searching for an online community creator. And we’ll give you four community creators to consider.
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!
In this article…
What is an online community creator?
An online community creator is a piece of software that lets you build an online community. While that might sound like a bit of a boring answer, the reality is actually really exciting! That's because an online community creator lets you harness the potential of human relationships to build a space for members to connect and learn. You can even build a thriving business out of an online community.
How to choose an online community creator
If you're at the beginning of your journey towards building an online community, choosing the right place to build and host it will definitely be part of your exploration. The right online community creator will work for you, easily giving you the capacity to build from 0 to thousands of members. Ultimately, you should be able to spend your time focusing on growing and serving your community, and not have to spend a lot of time learning tech or looking for support.
That's why we’d advocate for choosing an all-in-one community platform that lets you do everything right out of the box. For many creators who have, in the past, relied on multiple software options cobbled together, having everything in one place makes a huge difference.
Here’s how to choose an online community creator:
Look for features
Obviously, a place to start is to look for a community platform that offers you the features you need. When running an online community, features like live streaming, adding courses, charging for membership, or creating subgroups are what help you bring it to life. They give you more options as a host and let you better serve your members.
Here are some common features to look for in a community platform:
- Payment options
- Single Sign-On (SSO)
- Content options (text, video, polls, etc.)
- Live streaming
- Course creator
- An app
- Email integrations
Give yourself room to grow
There’s something that happens with many community creators. Often people will start a community on one platform, invest their time into it, and then bump up against limitations. They then have to piece together different types of software to make it work. They’re adding Facebook groups, or else mixing in a different program for an app. All this is exhausting, annoying, and–honestly–usually leads to the point where the creator has to move the community or where it just fizzles because it’s too complicated.
Since all this is a ton of work and energy, make sure you choose a platform that gives you room to grow right from the outset. Think about what your community could be, rather than what it is right now.
Pay attention to access
Access is important. Your community members need to be able to ACTUALLY use your community on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean when they finally haul the laptop out from under the bed, dust it off, and search for the lost plug.
Yup, we’re talking here about an app. Even if you’re a regular desktop or laptop user, which many people aren’t, a community app lets you reach people where they’re at, in their pocket. On the Mighty Networks app, they could join a fitness community and watch workouts on the go, take a course and learn a new skill on the bus, or jump onto a live stream while waiting in line.
Ultimately, access flexibility means that more members can log on more often, and all this translates into happier members and a thriving community.
Think about monetization
One final thing we’ll talk about here is monetization. Would you believe that communities that charge something for admission often do better than those that don’t? While this might be surprising at first, it’s actually sort of intuitive. Think about the last time you joined a new Facebook group, excited by the possibilities and the “free” price tag. How many times have you been back to that group?
We’ve learned from our over 12,000 networks that people value what they pay for. It seems counterintuitive, but communities that charge something for membership often do better.
Finally, if you’ve decided to monetize the community, look for a platform that lets you do this in different ways. With Mighty Networks, for example, we let you charge a membership fee. OR you could keep the main membership costs free and add paid subgroups and/or upsell into a course.
There are different ways to monetize, and it’s important to choose a platform that lets you build a business if and how you choose.
4 online community creator options
Mighty Networks is an all-in-one community platform that gives you a place to build, monetize, and grow your community. It’s got more features to work with than any other community platform, things like polls, live streaming, creating blog-post-style articles, adding video, building different plans and membership bundles, and more. It’s the perfect online community creator for building and growing a thriving membership base.
Try it free for 14 days
Tribe is a white-label community platform for businesses that gives you a way to integrate a community into your existing website. It’s designed for corporations to add discussion forums to their business pages. While creating a customer community can take many different forms, Tribe gives users a forum where they can ask questions, start discussions, and share content on mobile apps. Tribe doesn’t have the options for monetization that Mighty Networks has, and it has no course function, but it is an alternative for big businesses that simply want a forum.
Facebook Groups is a free option for people looking to create an online community. We talked above about the limitations of the many Facebook groups out there; let’s be honest, you’ve joined them and never went back. So there are a lot of reasons to avoid Facebook Groups. You’re also fighting the algorithm to actually get people to see your stuff. BUT, it is free to start a Facebook group and to some extent, your members may already have Facebook accounts, so it’s an option.
One final option for an online community creator is a Kajabi community. Kajabi is known for its courses, and it also has a complex set of marketing options for selling those courses: things like email campaigns, welcome flows, and landing pages, which can require separate software to run on other platforms. With this, it has a function that can be used to add a course community to a course you’re building, which gives you a discussion forum and some ways to organize conversations.
If you’re on the hunt for an online community creator, there are some great options to work with–that let you blend all the things we talked about above: comprehensive features, room to grow, access options, and monetization to let you turn it into a business.
So, if you’re ready, come try your hand at building an online community! There’s so much you can do with one. And Mighty Networks gives you all the tools you need to make your dream community a reality. Try it free for 14 days, no credit card required!