Building a community
One of the biggest (and most common) misconceptions about the internet is that the same old rules that once applied to print and broadcast media still apply, and that brands and creators can engage with their audiences the same way as they always have.
The shift has been more profound than it seems at first glance, and many brands are still playing catch-up. Transparent, multichannel communications like social media have made it possible for brands and customers to speak to one another openly and publicly, and completely shifted the nature of the relationship.
Online communities are now at the heart of how we communicate online, and learning how to manage and grow them is essential to building a successful online brand. An online community can encompass anything from a branded Facebook page to a thriving, niche internet forum.
What ultimately distinguishes them from other means of communication is being multi-directional and transparent. They aren’t one-way broadcasts between a broadcaster and audience. Everyone can see what everyone else is posting and creating. Online communities thrive on collective effort, sharing and collaboration.
At Pattr, we’re passionate about online communities. They’re at the heart of how we all communicate online, and our platform leverages the power of conversational AI to help grow and cultivate them.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to some basic ways of thinking about your online community, and how you can manage and grow it.
The community garden
Think of an online community like a community garden.
A lot of collective effort goes into ensuring a community garden is healthy, thriving and productive. The soil needs to be fertilised, the produce needs to be planted and weeds need to be pulled before they get out of control. Without ensuring that all contributors are working towards the same goal, it can quickly become chaotic and unproductive.
An online community works in much the same way. It’s not merely enough to post content and let your audience engage with it.
A healthy online community is one where all users feel safe to not only consume content but also to create and share it. A well-cultivated community provides immense value for a brand, helping to generate genuine, positive conversations that build brand advocates for life.
An online community, like a community garden, can quickly become a toxic and unpleasant place if it is not properly looked after. The freedom of communication comes at a cost, and there will always be those who will take advantage of the openness of your community.