Top 10 Ways to Get More People to Join an Online Community7 minute read
Have you noticed that branded online communities are becoming more and more popular now?
Whether you create a Facebook group, or you build a private, branded online community - people are looking to form deeper connections online and need more personalized support.
In today's article, we are going to cover how you can grow an online community (or internet community, discussion forums) and attract new members.
So how do you grow a community if you have 0 members in it?
Before we dive into the strategies to attract new members, we recently hosted a workshop where
Jono Petrohilos explained his secrets of how he grew multiple Facebook groups and online communities from 0 to thousands of members!
Jono is a 7-Figure online course creator, and in his workshop, he also covered how to promote a positive environment and build a thriving online community that results in higher engagement and more sales for you.
You can get the workshop (and access to all future and past workshops!) here: https://www.creatorclimb.com/bundles/live-creator-workshops/preview
Every month we host workshops just like this one in our own online community, called Creator Climb. You can join for free to:
- Get an idea of what our community looks like and how you can customize your own
- Watch the workshops and learn strategies to build thriving communities that convert
Join the Creator Climb Community
Creator Climb is a private community to connect with other course creators, training, courses, interviews and learning materials to help you build and grow your online knowledge business!
Inside you will find our online course, "T-30: Launch Your Course in 30 Days", that teaches a step-by-step process designed to help creators build and launch a successful online course in 30 days!
How to Grow an Online Community and Attract New Members
An online community refers to a social group of individuals who communicate and interact with each other via the internet.
Such a group usually centers around a common interest, hobby, or purpose and members can connect with each other regardless of their location.
For businesses operating online, fostering a sense of community and creating meaningful connections between members should be a key priority.
This is especially true for creators of online courses as their students stand to benefit greatly from the added value and personal touch provided by an online community.
Creators can enhance the learning experience and help students feel more engaged and invested in their courses by encouraging discussion, collaboration, and support among course participants.
Learn more about online communities:
- Why You Should Build an Online Community of Engaged Customers and How to Do it
- How to Price an Online Community: Sell Access to A Community Worth Paying For
- 14 Proven Ways to Make Money From an Online Community
#1: Invite Your Network to Your Community
Start by actively promoting your online community through various channels, and inviting your network to join.
This can involve making announcements about your community and highlighting its benefits on your blog, social media profiles, email lists, and website.
When promoting your community membership, it is crucial to consider what incentives you can offer to entice your target audience.
You should consider what new potential members are interested in learning and how they could benefit from networking and collaborating within your community.
You can also send personalized, individual invites to your network if you know that they will benefit from joining your community.
#2: Keep Existing Members Engaged
If you already have a few members in your online community, it is important that you keep them engaged.
One of the most important factors in engaging members is to make them feel welcomed and appreciated by creating a safe and inclusive community culture. Personally welcoming new members through a personalized email, private message, or mentioning them in the group chat can go a long way in making them feel comfortable.
Another crucial aspect of branded community engagement is consistency in sharing content.
Members are more likely to engage when they know what to expect. Try organizing ideas with a content calendar and building a routine for sharing new content.
Creating recurring virtual events where members can engage in different activities can also be highly effective. For example, you could start an “Ask-me-Anything Tuesday,” where you invite members to share their questions every week on Tuesday for a set time.
Another key aspect of engagement is celebrating your members and their achievements.
Complimenting every small victory your members achieve, setting up challenges for them to complete, and praising your winners can all help members feel appreciated.
Learn more about fostering community engagement here: 7 Steps to Revive Your Online Community and Increase Engagement
#3: Take Advantage of Member Referrals
Word of mouth has always been a powerful marketing tool, and it's no different in the digital age.
When it comes to growing successful online communities, referrals or recommendations from existing members can be a valuable source of new users. After all, people are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know and respect than they are to trust a company's marketing message.
One way to facilitate this is to give members a certain number of invites or incentives to recommend the community to others. This can be in the form of discounts, exclusive content, or points that can be redeemed for rewards. By doing this, you're not only encouraging your existing community members to invite their friends and colleagues, but you're also rewarding them for doing so.
#4: Promote the Community With Organic Marketing
Organic marketing is a long-term marketing strategy that allows you to gain new community members passively over time.
To do organic marketing right, make sure that your community page is SEO optimized and can be easily found on Google by potential customers looking for similar terms.
Learn more about SEO: All You Need to Know About SEO to Sell Online Courses
Next, you should use content creation to share about your community in different formats: promote your community in your blog posts, in your new YouTube videos, podcast episodes or social media posts.
Check out this article from our blog to get inspired about all the marketing strategies you can do to promote a product: A Complete Guide on How to Promote Your Online Course and Boost Sales
#5: Interact with Other Communities
Without "stealing" community members from your competitor's space, you can try interacting in non-competing spaces to establish yourself as an expert and build genuine connections that will drive people to join your community as well.
You can also collaborate with another online community that complements your topic without competing with you.
If you are able to identify a non-competing community that is interested in partnering with you, you could cross-promotion your online communities with each other's audience, or through content creation.
Collaborating with another online community or simply interacting in similar spaces can help you expand your reach, engage new community members, and ultimately enhance the overall value of your community.
#6: Leverage User-Generated Content
User-generated content, or UGC, refers to content created and shared by consumers themselves, typically about brands or products.
When one of your online course students shares a post on social media reviewing your course, this serves as an example of UGC. Such content is a form of word-of-mouth marketing and can be highly influential in building trust and increasing social proof for your brand.
It can be extremely powerful to leverage UGC inside your own online community by asking people to share their thoughts about your community or your paid products in the chat.
To encourage the creation of this kind of content, there are a number of strategies you can employ.
These may include sharing content on social media, creating a unique hashtag to promote discussion and sharing, and asking customers to share photos or videos showcasing their achievements.
#7: Invite Experts in Your Community
A great way to create a buzz about your community and get more people to join is by inviting "influencers" or experts in the community for a special event.
If your community is centered around a specific topic, your members will be highly interested in learning directly from an expert or getting a chance to speak to a local celebrity or influencer.
Examples of this approach could be asking the guest to join the community for a specific event, maybe giving a talk or webinar, or simply hosting a Q&A.
#8: Redirect Customers to Your Community
If the community is only a part of your business model, and you also sell other products online (such as online courses, digital products, memberships and so on...), you can redirect your existing customers to the community and populate it this way.
You may consider making it "mandatory" for your online course students to post or participate in your community as part of their coursework. For example, you could ask new students to introduce themselves and share their goals with the community in the online course's introduction lesson.
By actively encouraging participation and engagement from your community members, you can foster a sense of community and create a vibrant, interactive space for discussion and learning.
Another way to encourage engagement and participation in your community is to incentivize your members to participate in the conversation.
When sharing content in your community, it's important to consider ways to prompt your members to respond and engage. This might involve posing open-ended questions, tagging other group members in your posts, or commenting on others' contributions.
#9: Be Consistent
When it comes to growing a successful online community, consistency is crucial. Online community building takes time, effort, and dedication, and you need to show up consistently if you want to make it work.
Firstly, consistency builds trust. Your members need to know that they can rely on you (or your community managers) to provide value and engage with them regularly. When you're consistent, you establish a level of trust and reliability with your community. They'll know what to expect from you and will be more likely to stick around and support your brand.
Secondly, consistency encourages participation. When your members know you are consistently present and engaging, they are more likely to participate in discussions and share their content.
They'll also be more likely to invite their friends and peers to join the online community, which helps it grow organically.
Finally, consistency helps you stay on top of your members' minds. When they see your posts regularly, they are more likely to remember your brand and join the conversation.
So, make sure you show up regularly, engage with your members, and provide consistent value to grow your online community effectively.
If this is not an option for you, consider hiring a virtual assistant or one or more community managers to help you grow the community and post consistently once you get it started.
#10: Use the Right Community Platform
In conclusion, creating a thriving online community requires effort, strategy, and patience.
Following the pointers provided in this article, you can easily get more people to join an online community as long as you do these tasks consistently.
But wait, there is another important aspect to consider: your online community platform.
To effectively run an online community, it's important to find an online community platform that offers all the features and tools you need in one place.
More about this: How to Choose the Right Online Community Platform For Your Knowledge Business
That's where Heights Platform comes in as an all-in-one solution.
Not only does Heights Platform allow you to create and sell online courses, but it also includes a community feature built directly into your program. This means that your members can easily access your courses, coaching, and community space without switching between different platforms.
By using Heights Platform, you can ensure that your community is seamlessly integrated into your online course program, making it easier for your members to engage and connect with each other.
Plus, with everything in one place, you can save time and focus on growing your business (without having to pay for extra online community platforms).
Ready to get started? Create a free Heights account today and try out our built-in community feature.Create Your Community Today