The Simple Way To Build An Awesome, Thriving Community Of Like-Minded People
Anyone can create an online community, AKA a digital space where members interact with each other. But that doesn't mean it'll be impactful or develop a sense of belonging for its members. That's because creating a community of like-minded people who 'get you' and your mission takes more than just creating a group on Facebook or Reddit rallying under a common interest.
So why does it matter if your community is for like-minded individuals instead of a more general audience?
You probably think that because you use online communities to find new customers and keep tabs on your past ones, the more people involved, the better - even if those people don't fit your ideal demographic. It's easy to get stuck thinking that building your course business is a numbers game. The more people you can reach, the more successful you will be. However, this mindset sells you short because it assumes you can't thrive when catering to the people you're excited about serving. This is entirely false!
If you build a community of like-minded individuals as passionate about you as you are about them, you'll be able to tap into the full power of having a community in the first place. As a result, your business will be able to grow organically and authentically, and you'll no longer need to hunt for new customers constantly.
Having a community of like-minded people will help you move out of the scarcity mindset with your business and adopt one of abundance.
So how do you start developing deeper connections with your community? The first step is transferring all your community spaces over to SocialGlow.
SocialGlow isn't just a course-building platform. It's a community-thriving one too!
When you transfer your communities over to SocialGlow, you'll notice all the features you have available to you for building courses is just as valuable when you want to manage a community-focused group instead of a learning-focused one.
A community-focused group is a space where like-minded individuals who aren't necessarily your customers yet gather to share ideas, have thought-provoking conversations, and support one another. It's a safe space where people can learn about your business and express themselves. In this kind of Group, you wouldn't give the members access to your paid courses. However, you could use the course feature for community onboarding and set expectations.
A learning-focused group is a space you would use to complement the paid course material of your students to discuss topics and assignments. These groups enable social learning, encouragement, and more personal support during the learning process - heightening the value your clients receive when they purchase one of your courses.
Both groups are essential, but this article will focus on using SocialGlow to build a robust community-focused group filled with like-minded individuals, so you can grow your business through word-of-mouth and retain members that will follow you to the ends of the earth!
Create a Safe Space Using SocialGlow:
First, you will need to get specific. What are your beliefs and worldview around your topic of choice? There are likely many schools of thought within your industry. Which one do you subscribe to? If this has never occurred to you, research the different opinions.
Have you ever been on a chat forum and noticed the in-fighting underneath the original post? That's because those responding all have different opinions on how to even think about the question in the first place. When those participating in a conversation can't agree with what the poster is saying, it hinders genuine connection. It doesn't allow for a space where everyone feels heard and understood.
Knowing your specific outlook on your topic will help you find others who feel the same way.
For example, let's say you want to create a group of people passionate about nutrition. Instead of creating a vague group for wellness or health, you should narrow it down to a group for those who are passionate about nutrition but believe in intuitive eating practices over counting calories. Even though many people are passionate about the general thing you're passionate about, it doesn't mean that you'll always agree with everyone in that world. Narrowing down your Group to cater to the subsections of the industry will help you produce a robust and like-minded space faster.
Because when everyone is operating under the assumption that you all believe the same things, your community members will feel safer and encouraged to discuss their thoughts and feelings openly.
SocialGlow provides this by making groups an exclusive experience with privacy, eliminating distractions, and giving you complete control over how you want to manage them.
Like-minded individuals you want as clients and group members value their privacy as much as you do. They want to know that the engagement and the content they share with the community will not be sold or used to advertise to them. On all the SocialGlow membership tiers, there are no ads. And you can rest assured that none of your client's data or yours is sold or used for anything other than tracking your KPIs, key performance indicators to ensure everything is running smoothly and thriving in your groups.
No one can find your Group unless specifically given a code to access it. This protects your members' information because your community will be contained in a space outside sources can't corrupt. As a result, your members will invest more in a community they feel safe in.
Like-minded individuals want a space to learn and gather online without distractions. Unfortunately, with free platforms, competing content is vying for your members' attention.
When your groups are in SocialGlow, distractions are eliminated. Your members will only see what you've curated for them. And because SocialGlow's mission is to create the best user experience and not to sell user data, no algorithm gets in the way of your members seeing your content. Anything posted in your groups is seen. Not just what Facebook deems as beneficial to its agenda, which will facilitate more genuine and engaging conversations because everyone will have an equal opportunity for their thoughts and ideas to be recognized.
With SocialGlow, you’ll have full ownership of your groups. You will no longer need to worry about rules and protocols that limit your reach by stopping you from communicating with your members. You have zero control over external forces, which could lead you to get randomly suspended and cut off from your community.
Easy to use:
SocialGlow fixes all the problems of Facebook Groups while still feeling like a social media experience. That's because SocialGlow was designed to be easy to use. Learning a new way to interact with an online community would get in the way of developing meaningful connections with like-minded people. On SocialGlow, you can post, like, and comment, making communication seamless.
SocialGlow is also a mobile-first platform, meaning all the features available on your desktop are even better on the app. SocialGlow's app is so easy to navigate that even your least tech-savvy members can access everything your Group offers. Plus, having your community be in their pocket means they are more likely to engage and interact regularly. That regularity of checking into the space is what makes a community strong.
When your members use the app, they'll be notified through their phone's notification banner anytime events, content, or announcements are posted. So they'll always be in sync!
It's also effortless to share your Group with new members. All members invited into the Group can use SocialGlow for free but get all the perks of being a part of the platform, including access to our 24/7 support team. This is helpful for your members who need extra help navigating the space. It ensures no one gets left behind.
The Group where your community will exist has a specific code made only for it. When you share the Group with new people, you'll ask them to download SocialGlow's app from the Apple or Android store and then copy and paste the code you give them to find it.
Here's how to use Invite Codes:
Click on Groups from your dashboard menu. Then, under the Actions column, click the Share icon beside the Group you want to share. A new box will pop up, which generates a unique code and link to your Group.
You can then send that code to anyone you'd like to join your group.
There are two different ways new group members can use the code. Here's a helpful article to see the joining process for a new member.
With SocialGlow's security, ability to limit distractions, and ease of use, you'll have the prime location for a community of like-minded individuals ready to share and be a part of something greater than themselves.
Shape your community for like-mindedness!
When hosting your community on SocialGlow, you can customize things like fonts, key imagery, and buttons without the noise and distractions of social media platforms. This will allow you to provide a consistent tone for your Group that your members will come to trust.
To customize your community, you'll first want to figure out a fun and catchy name. Pick something easily used as an adjective, verb, or noun. That way, when your community is being discussed outside of your Group, there will be a consistent name used when alluding to it that can be adopted by members and non-members alike. Not only does this create consistent messaging, but it solidifies a shared identity, fostering a closer connection among members. And the more loyal a group is, the stronger it will be. It's an easy method to grow an online community while helping your customers feel like they are a part of something meaningful!
When creating a name for your community, please keep it simple, relate it to your topic, keep it positive, and have it be something that describes your ideal member.
Once you have a name for your community that works, you can use it to shape how you label everything else in the Group. For instance, you can rename your Group's roles to fit your community better. So instead of using Host and Co-Host as different roles in groups, you can assign custom names.
The second thing you'll want to do is create your Group on SocialGlow. As you go through all the steps, choose thoughtful answers for each section. It's essential to have a succinct community description that captures the essence of your Group's mission in one quick read. It should include the fundamental pillars of your outlook and beliefs around the Group's shared interest. Your community description sets up the state of mind each member should use when engaging in the community. It'll also weed out anyone coming into your Group that doesn't fit your ideal demographic.
Your Cover Photo is also crucial to developing a consistent tone for your members. It's the first visual users' experience when introduced to your community. Therefore, you'll want to ensure it's aesthetically pleasing and properly represents your brand.
As you're going through the process of creating your Group in SocialGlow, you'll notice an additional options section. Here you'll be able to add "Topics" to your groups. These categories help organize your Group so your members can find information quickly. You can pin information about your Topics, the reason behind choosing them at the top of your Group, and any other logistical details. When creating posts, the Topic option will appear, and you'll be able to choose which category you want to post to appear under. Then, when members search for it, they can easily find it within the Group.
You can also add clickable buttons to your SocialGlow groups, directing your group members to a link you've supplied. You can use this for additional resources your members might need during onboarding.
It would be best if you never missed an opportunity to onboard members into your Group. This ensures that the community values are upheld and that the experience remains as consistent as possible and stays true to its original mission. To grow an online community and foster a sense of belonging among members, focus on your customer journey from the first moment they join. The onboarding process for a new community member is a great time to show what being a part of your Group means. It helps them feel welcomed while instilling expectations from the very beginning.
In SocialGlow, you can create a Course that provides all the onboarding information in an organized and easy-to-access way. For example, you could include guides on how to interact with other members, a call to action for new members to introduce themselves in the Group, helpful resources for basic knowledge needed to understand the concepts used in the Group, providing a guide on how to use all of SocialGlow's features and community rules. Having something like this available to new members will help them feel like they are joining a close-knit family of like-minded individuals.
Community guidelines and rules
It's important to have rules on how members should behave in the Group and a strategy to moderate any content related to trolls, spam, and abuse. Moderating content that could interfere with your members feeling safe and like they belong will do wonders in keeping your community intact. You can pin community rules to the top of the Group in a pinned post, add it to a Welcome Course, or add it to a custom clickable button.
Retaining your members
If you want to retain your community members, you must give them incentives. This is where community resources, exclusive content, and gamification can come in handy with growing your online community of like-minded people.
Suppose you demonstrate to members that being part of your online community can give them real value. In that case, you can assure them that being a part of your community and participating in it is worth it.
You must set a good example if you want your members to share. It all starts with you being yourself. Share your stories, struggles, successes, and at least one thing that makes you unique. Be consistent and show up every day. Remember, growing this community should excite you! The more you share and show up, the more your members will too. They need to know you are invested in them.
Share exclusive knowledge for free!
Be bold and give your community-focused Group on SocialGlow information they can sink their teeth into and use practically. Some people may think that only giving vague info or teasers of knowledge in a group is the best way to entice people into buying your courses or digital products because it'll get them curious for more. However, it does the opposite. It doesn't show trust. Instead, providing knowledge shows your community that you are credible and helps develop engaging conversations that will keep people engaged for longer.
Bring in, experts!
An example of valuable content that will excite your members is bringing experts in your field to be interviewed live in your Group. You can stream live events into your Group for your members to see through YouTube Live. If you want more active participation, you can use other streaming services like Google Meet, Zoom, and OneStreamLive.
You can embed videos into posts from past meetings on Zoom, and podcasts streamed on YouTube to give your members exclusive content. That exclusivity and value will have people continue returning to your Group.
Members seeing others actively engaging and communicating will motivate them to contribute as well. SocialGlow provides multiple avenues for your members to interact with the content shared in the Group. For example, they can comment underneath a post or participate in the Group Chat. Of course, some of your members will prefer sharing one way or the other. Having both ensures that both categories of members can participate in a way they feel comfortable with.
Another way to keep your members returning is through gamification! When setting up your Group in SocialGlow, you can turn on the option to give points for each action taken within the Group by members. Those points will accumulate on the Leaderboard, creating healthy competition among members and helping show you who is participating and who is not. One of the secrets of social media is that being on there is a performance. That's why having everyone in one place allows people to 'show off.' Likewise, gamifying the user experience in your Group motivates your members to share and be active because it turns it into a similar performance structure that social media uses to hook their users.
Communities are only worth doing if they are supported consistently. So engage as much and immediately as possible because in the beginning of your growing community, you will be its lifeblood. As membership grows and many start posting independently, more activity will build. But stepping out and letting the members run the show will leave an impression that you don't care. And you don't want that!
However, engaging frequently can become a nuisance if you have to be posting content as well constantly. That's why with SocialGlow, you can create Templates to be scheduled into your Group. Templates allow you to create a community engagement strategy that keeps you focused and on task without becoming overwhelmed.
And when you're not overwhelmed, you can provide more personalized support to your community members. For example, when communicating with your members, use their names, add personal details related to their preferences and interests, and refer back to past communication as much as possible to show they are actively listening and supporting them.
Implementing these strategies when communicating with members will make a huge difference in developing a mutual sense of community.
As you can see, SocialGlow has many features to help you develop a strong community of like-minded people. Once you start building your community, please encourage them to invite their friends to join you. Since you've already spent time developing your community's beliefs, that part will be easy! Eventually, your members will spread the word about your amazing community, and from there, it'll expand!