All of us are a part of communities, whether it is a community made up of people with the same interests, family, friends, or colleagues. Similarly, there are online communities that consist of people with similar interests and the same principles. These communities bring the world closer and improve one’s knowledge by sharing information on particular topics.
Although the working model of online communities may differ, they all play a common role in improving the social connections and growing the network across boundaries. If you are looking for information about online communities, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we will look closely at what online communities are, what is a branded online community, and what are their features.
What is an Online Community?
As we have said, you are already a part of some kind of community. But when it comes to online communities, you must be a part of some Facebook group or a Linkedin group that consists of people with shared interests and values. Some communities are often web-based that require registration and continuous activities. But sometimes, the concepts behind online communities can be abstract.
Apart from this, some communities are built by individuals while some by professionals in specific fields. For instance, you can check mhashtag, which is one of the evolving online communities. If you look closer, an online community or internet community is a group of people that share a similar purpose and use the internet to communicate with each other. Every online community comes with its own set of needs and guidelines. And people present in the community must follow these guidelines.
Now, we will focus on the branded community or the communities that are run by organizations.
What is a Branded Online Community?
A professional network that brings people together around a shared organization based on purpose or experience for online collaboration and growth is called a branded online community. These types of online communities are created by organizations that people work with. These communities help people to connect members, employees, customers, partners, etc.
4 Features of Online Communities:
- Online communities help build engagement and empower social support –
Every community is different in some aspects. They have different feel, purpose, and value, which eventually takes different forms and shapes as the time changes. In order to bring people together and closer on an online platform, the online communities think broadly about their members and work on things that offer benefit to their members.
In other terms, an online community influences its members with different strategies to achieve higher engagement and empower their social support. Try to think of your online community as being a part of a group with specific purposes. For instance, if it is a community that uses a specific tool, then its purpose would be to educate and offer tips to people within the community. On the other hand, if it is a community that consists of local cycling enthusiasts, then its purpose might be to connect, plan different events, and educate members about bike safety. No matter what the community is, it will function best when the members interact with each other easily and securely for a better understanding.
- Online communities are multidimensional and vibrant –
Online communities are undoubtedly vibrant, diverse, and multi-dimensional. They thrive because of their members and supporting communities. People across the world are creative and unpredictable, and bringing them together on a single platform where they can engage and interact with each other can feel challenging. But it isn’t always the case because gathering unique people and keeping them connected basically advances the organization or community.
The online communities break the one-way exchange of information and open up new sources for their members. In other words, they deliver valuable information and guidance to people far beyond expectations. If you consider yourself the owner of any community, then you have the power to tap into people’s perspectives and invite them to collaborate their views on the platform. Additionally, you can encourage them to share their skills, knowledge, and expertise with others, which accentuates engagements and meaningful connections.
At last, you will come to know that people who feel like an essential part of the community due to their unique contributions are also the ones who remain loyal and lasting with the community. This process of tapping into the qualities of individuals and letting them influence others is undoubtedly one of the best ways a community grows. It enhances the ability to grow, communicate, and remain relevant with other members of the community.
- Online communities are developed thoughtfully –
Whenever an online community is created, its owners try to keep the community respectable and trustworthy. This ensures that the platform is safe and enjoyable for all the community members. For doing this, community moderation becomes essential. And this is the reason why having a dedicated community management system is so critical.
The main part of becoming a reliable online community moderator is to strike the right balance between controlling communications, maintaining respect, and contributing new ideas for a fresh conversation. Additionally, it is about giving enough freedom to the community members to express their thoughts and views.
All in all, a thoughtfully developed community makes its members genuinely feel that this platform is a place where they can express themselves without being restrained. But most importantly, they are aware of the guidelines which help protect the community.
- Online communities expand from a shared purpose –
As we saw, online communities work when people of shared interests and purpose connect with one other. They come together to either solve a problem or achieve a common goal. For instance, marketers will look for new campaign suggestions, players will look for new products and gaming accessories, and so on. Different communities have different goals, but all of them grow through the same process. That is when we create communities for people who want to connect, learn, and grow together.
We hope you are now clear with what online communities are along with their characteristics.