What’s an online community and why should I join one?
Understand everything about these groups that, besides being great for sharing ideas, are one of the ways to improve a business’ reach and boost sales.
When we talk about community, we usually think of a group of people geographically close to each other and with interests in common. In the case of an online community, the physical location of the members is no longer important. Despite the geographical distance, we’re still talking about a space for interaction between people who share the same interests.
Online communities are trending on the Internet and are attracting more and more participants because they help people feel that they’re part of something.
Within these groups, users get to know other like-minded people and can give their opinions on various topics related to the proposed topic.
Besides generating a sense of belonging, online communities facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge, and experiences, contributing to the personal and professional development of their members.
For this reason, they have been widely used by companies and digital entrepreneurs to improve the reach of their business and boost sales.
Understand the importance of online communities and learn how you can join these groups in a beneficial and assertive manner.
Why join an online community?
People can join an online community for a variety of reasons, and they aren’t always related to professional issues.
You can be interested in makeup and look for a community covering the subject to ask questions and gain access to tips.
In these cases, online communities are important, because they add value for users and allow them to interact with other people who like what they also like.
Now, if you own a business, participation in online communities should be seen as a promotion strategy.
By following a community, you get a better understanding and a closer look at the audience in your niche. This can provide you with many ideas to implement in your work.
Besides this benefit, we have listed 5 others to show you what you can achieve by participating in an online community.
1. Get to know your user needs
It’s common for users to talk about their pains and needs in the communities in which they participate.
Therefore, they are an excellent opportunity for those who want to create assertive marketing actions to advertise products that are in demand in the market.
If you work with products for dogs and cats, for example, in those communities that cover this subject, you’ll find the most frequent questions from the breeders of these animals. This can help you better understand what they need.
Having access to this information will help you direct your actions and develop useful products that have the potential to stand out and attract customers.
2. Get feedback and keep an eye on the competition
An online community is also a place for people to give feedback on products and services, which makes it an extremely useful environment for those who need to monitor the competition.
By listening to what the audience is saying about other brands in your niche, or even about your product, you can find openings to act on or discover what you need to improve in your business.
3. Talk with potential customers
When you’re in an online community related to your field, the chances of finding potential customers are much higher.
Imagine the following situation:
A person joins a community to ask a question and, in one of the conversations, discovers products and services that are directly related to their issue and can help solve it.
The chances of these participants starting a dialog with brands that offer the solution they’re looking for is great, isn’t it?
After all, they have joined the community precisely because they perceived a need and decided to find a solution for it.
4. Build authority in the market
If you know how to position yourself in a positive manner, convey a professional image, and demonstrate extensive knowledge in your field, members of the online community will start recognizing your authority on that subject.
Because the space encourages interaction among its members, you can give well-reasoned opinions, present easy solutions to people’s everyday problems, and show how your business’ values and goals are compatible with what they value.
This way, you can gain the trust of the participants and show that you’re able to deliver something truly relevant to them.
5. Check engagement in marketing initiatives
In an online community, you can also see how the audience is engaging with the marketing initiatives developed by your competitors or other professionals in related fields.
This observation will help you have ideas that can be applied to your business, and makes it easier to identify the types of actions that bring the best results.
Choose the right online community to join
Can you see how advantageous it can be to join an online community?
There’s no point in becoming a member of several communities if you don’t know how to position yourself.
You need to plan and behave accordingly, so that people will have a good impression and be willing to buy from you.
Here’s what you need to do in order to be successful when you follow this trend:
Choose a segment
You need to choose a niche you’re familiar with and like so that your participation in the online community can be productive.
Members of a group need to interact and exchange information, which becomes difficult if you are in a space that addresses topics with which you aren’t familiar.
If your idea is to sell something you produce or advertise as an Affiliate, choose a community that’s related to your digital product.
Those who work with online courses about natural foods, for example, will obtain much better results in communities about health and cooking than in one that talks about TV shows and movies.
Read all of the community’s rules
Every community needs rules to work well, and it’s no different in the digital environment.
Therefore, it’s essential that you read all the rules of an online community before joining, so as not to do anything inappropriate that could harm or annoy participants and moderators.
If your idea is to be a benchmark in your niche, any wrong attitude can tarnish your business’ image and decrease the chances of getting new customers.
Understand what they’re talking about
Online communities are places for discussion and have tools to allow everyone to participate and give their opinions.
However, it’s essential that people understand the discussions before they participate, so that the subject matter isn’t lost and the questions presented are effectively answered.
When you join a new community, observe the type of discussion that takes place in that space, and try to understand how the participants are positioning themselves.
If you pay attention to this, you’ll be able to understand which conversations you should join in order to achieve your goals, and what your attitude should be like in order to fit into that group.
Participate in the debates
Once you understand how discussions work, it’s important to participate so you can be seen and recognized within that niche.
You need to know how to express your opinion, position yourself, and talk with other members, but you should avoid comments that are controversial and can make people feel uncomfortable.
The goal of an online community is to help participants with a particular issue. Therefore, the atmosphere should always be respectful and collaborative.
If you notice that the opinions are totally contrary to yours or against your values, it’s better to leave that community than to cause fights.
Besides being unhealthy for you, it can cause irreparable damage to your business, such as driving away people who had a good chance of consuming your product.
Learn how to take criticism
Even in peaceful environments, where everyone shares values and goals, it’s inevitable to encounter criticism and divergent opinions.
To participate in an online community, you need to know how to receive all kinds of feedback, including negative feedback.
This type of comment can help you grow professionally, fix flaws in your business, or improve your attitude in a certain respect.
Of course, ideally, everyone should be able to position themselves without being aggressive, but other people won’t always behave as you expect.
Therefore, if someone is rude to you, stay calm and have a positive attitude. This way, you gain points for maturity and professionalism and avoid unnecessary discussions.
Create your own online community
Online communities are a great way to find potential buyers for your product, as well as being a space that stimulates creativity.
By observing what people in that niche are looking for, you can get ideas for new products and services, and you can use them to improve the results of your business, or even start a new venture.
You can participate in all the communities that already exist and are of your interest. But, you should know that you can go beyond what already exists online.
You can create your own online community. This helps you maintain a close relationship with your customers, enrich their experience with your brand, and make it easier for them to provide you with criticism, praise, and suggestions.
Having a community can also be a way to nurture your relationship with people interested in a particular subject and guide them through the customer journey until they become actual buyers of your product.
If your community does something valuable for people, such as answering questions, building knowledge, and solving problems, you will create a bond of trust that can yield good deals.
If you like the idea of having your own online community, Sparkle can help you put this into practice.
This tool is a great option because it delivers 100% of the content you post to users, which doesn’t happen in other communication channels.
Are you interested in this tool? Check out our post on how to use Sparkle to increase sales and stand out.