How to create a Community? The 5 questions to ask yourself

How to create a valuable Community ? In a world where human relationships travel more and more online, many of us ask.

Since the dawn of time, humans have been a social animal because, by their very nature, they tend to aggregate with other individuals and become a society. Aristotle understood this more than two thousand years ago, but what has changed since then are the places where the meeting takes place: in the Third Millennium we have become social animals.

In spite of what one might think, however, “digital companies” are not the children of Facebook or other social networks. At the end of the 90s there were already IRC channels, thematic chats in which millions of users with the same interests exchanged instant messages, while in the early ’00s the forums spreading from which the first digital communities sprouted.

With the advent of social networks, places have multiplied and competition has become fierce. This makes building a strong community much more difficult.

Today there are millions of channels dedicated to the most diverse topics. Gathering a group of people with common values, interests or goals and instilling in them a strong sense of belonging simply by offering a virtual place in which to cement the sense of sharing is a real challenge. Because all Internet users already feel part of something.

You know, difficult trials entice the most daring. It is no coincidence that marketers and start-ups, but also brand of well-known fame, they have started digital communities to create value around a brand only in recent times. Not all, however, have had the same success.

How to create a winning community in 2021? Here are the 5 questions to answer in order not to take the leap in the dark.

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Why could my community be useful to people? What insight would I like to satisfy by creating this community?

The first thing to do before starting a digital community is to ask yourself what is the unexpressed need you would like to give voice to, that is to identify the deepest motivation that drives you to aggregate a group of people who have something to share .

Together with a small team, in 2017 I developed Discover Marsica, a photographic community born on Instagram that today has more than 4,000 followers and a few hundred loyal ones. At that time the photographic pages for the promotion of the territory were growing day by day and I had noticed with amazement that the Marsica – that is the area of ​​Abruzzo from which I come – was not represented enough on Instagram.

For this reason I decided to open Discover Marsica, that is to encourage photography enthusiasts to take and share more photos of the Marsica and give visibility to a territory that was almost absent from the most famous photographic social network in the world.

Why should I open an online community? In this case the answer is all in the story I just told you.

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What will my community do?

Once you have clarified the deep motivation that drives you to build an online micro-company, you will need to think about the core concept to cement the sense of belonging of its members, naturally leading them to interact with the people of the community, with you and with the brand.

Defining the theme – or themes – around which all the activities of the community will develop will allow you to manage it better and make people feel really part of something .

Example: If I create a community on SEO , then I have to really talk about SEO. If I also dealt with topics like Social Advertising or Marketing Automation, I would betray the expectations of those who trust me.

Where there is no clarity, there is no trust. And, without trust, the community doesn’t stand up.

Question number 3: Where to create a community? Or rather, on which platforms should my community be present?

The truth is, answering this question isn’t easy: choosing the right place for a digital community depends on many factors.

To avoid a bad choice, you could consider 2 in particular:

  1. Where is the target : go to channels where it is more likely to intercept the typical member of the community. Before deciding where the people you want to call you or your brand will meet, outline the profile of the buyer persona and scan the social media – especially the competitor – to find out where that kind of conversation is taking place. Obviously you can choose multiple reference platforms, but you will have to make sure you can manage them effectively (later I will talk to you about teamwork in managing online communities) or perhaps choose a channel not yet beaten by competitors. In Marketing, the surprise effect is also important!
  2. The nature of the community : For a community of amateurs, Instagram would be more appropriate than LinkedIn. But if you were a professional photographer and you wanted to create a digital community in which to compare yourself with your colleagues on the job market in the photography sector during the Pandemic, you could choose LinkedIn. While creating a community on Facebook is the most immediate thing you think about when considering starting an online community, it’s not always the right solution. It must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

How to create a successful community? The contents are fundamental because they stimulate participation and act as a social glue . Of course we’re talking about relevant content . In particular, posts should be relevant to the community theme and generate engagement within the group .

The skill of a community manager lies in identifying the types of content that have the most value for the audience. To achieve this, experiment and publish consistently (but never save on quality ). Create different content and analyze audience response. Emphasize content created directly by users to stimulate conversation “from below”. Launch new proposals and welcome new requests.

Remember that strong digital communities are human-sized, not company-friendly or brand-person-sized.

How to create a valuable community? With the right content .

You might be interested : stimulating participation in online communities with social psychology

Whether you want to create a corporate community or develop a small amateur project, I have bad news for you: either way you may need help .

Of course, no one forbids you to work alone, but I dispassionately advise you to invest time and budget to find the right team or to ask your company for support if they have chosen you as the sole manager of an online community creation and management project.

Creating a successful community cannot ignore how those who manage it are organized. Unless you manage to become a community manager, content manager, graphic designer, photographer and social media analyst all at once.

To learn more : what you do and how you become a community manager

What is the sixth question to ask before create an online community? Tell me in the comments.

In this post I wanted to give 5 food for thought to clarify ideas before creating a virtual community and avoiding the flop.

But what is a community in your opinion? And what does it mean to create one of value?

Tell me about your experience.

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