5 Ways to Connect With Your Online Community – Entrepreneur
June 15, 2022
To be successful with your online community, you need to make sure your audience knows you and what you stand for. Brand identity is great, but clear brand identity is vital in most markets nowadays. Gray areas leave members unclear where a brand stands and create doubt, so make sure yours is distinct and original for optimal community building.
Along with successes fostered by your brand identity, you want to make sure your members have their own as well. If they feel part of a community, then their success is your success and will rub off on you. As the saying goes, “We rise by lifting others up.” In making sure this is true for your community, you not only want to make deeper connections with members, but you want to come out of each interaction with like-minded individuals having more motivation.
Members look to you for help in many ways, including your thoughts, daily activities, hobbies, places to go on nights out, etc. However, great content is only part of connecting with your community. With more demands for our attention than ever before, your community members will thank you for taking the time out of your day to let them know that you’re not just there but listening, too. It’s more than clicking the “like” button. It’s using your built-up credibility that they’ve come to know and love and reaching through the screen to them. Doing this lets them know they’re appreciated and necessary in that space.
Many opportunities to engage and connect with your community exist, depending on your platform. Here, we give you five of the best ways to interact with your community.
Engage early and be consistent.
As soon as your community starts building is the time to engage members in your content. You set the tone for them. Whatever you say, goes. So, ensure you show up consistently and tell your members what to expect from being part of your community. Providing the needed information lets them know how to act within the group as a whole.
Early engagement shows members that it’s okay, even great, to participate. That’s how you want your community to be. They attribute just as much, if not more than you, regularly. Giving them this agency keeps your community going strong when you step away throughout the day.
However, this doesn’t mean you can slack on your duties as the head of the community. People function best on reliability. Consistency is key. Members will know with regularity the frequency, depth, and duration of your engagement, influencing them to continue checking in on your community hivemind.
Edu-tain your audience.
At the end of 2021, Instagram found that video content generated more comments than regular posts throughout the year. Users no longer wanted a photo of followers’ days, but instead wanted to hear commentary and be entertained in the communities that they followed.
By utilizing a mix of education and entertainment in your content, members slow down to take it in. This allows them time to learn but also to find a laugh throughout their days, leading to comments on what they find interesting and sharing what you provide.
Most likely, what you find fascinating and funny is why people are seeking your content in the first place. They enjoy it too! Share what you enjoy with others. Though brand identity sometimes gets a bad rap for not being genuine, this doesn’t have to be the case. Let your audience know that your community is authentic and that they’re not being led astray by what you say to them versus what you do in reality. Connections are meaningful, so make sure your members realize that you know this and appreciate it too.
Respond to comments.
There are amazing people in your community who have invested their time in your content, so make them feel valued. Doing this also gives you priceless insights into who they are and what they need from you. So, know your audience!
There are numerous ways in which to do this. Start by responding to interesting or in-depth comments. Reward members who take their time engaging with your content in this way. Ask intriguing questions in your content. These will make people want to answer. Consider not only giving them your answers after but allowing them to answer too. In doing this, you not only have additional content for later that day or the next, but you can also share some of their thoughts and ideas.
Shine your spotlight on others.
You built this! Now shine your light on others. By showcasing certain community members, who are the most engaged, valuable, or motivational, you can drive other members who want to be lucky and in the spotlight too. Not only will they love being recognized and selected by you, but they’ll also love the new traffic flowing their way.
One business we found helping others succeed in their video content communities is Uscreen. Founded by its CEO PJ Taei, Uscreen built an all-in-one platform that allows video creators to make money. As a creator, you know the importance of getting paid for your creativity and originality. Help others get to this point as well in their content creations. By sending followers and recognition to select members, they, in turn, will mention you, gaining you new followers and more members to connect with in your community.
Many leaders with a strong following think followers care and respond about their brand. And they do! However, followers now more than ever want to be part of a positive community in which you attract the kind of energy you put out.
Everyone is already surrounded by negativity outside your community, so why give them more? Make them feel good about themselves and what they’re involved in with you. It doesn’t take much to get serotonin flowing; even a simple smile or laugh can do the trick. Your reactions will naturally attract more followers who want your brand’s positivity.
Perhaps most importantly, foster positivity through your language. What members hear, see, and connect with on a video content platform is crucial to them. Use words wisely in how you speak. Utilize terms associated with positive connotations like substituting “great” in place of “okay” or referring to everyone as “friends.”
In doing this, you’re helping their brains connect positively to you and your brand identity. The bond between everyone becomes stronger as no one is a stranger anymore, but “friends” from the same community.
We’ve only listed five methods, but remember that there are so many more approaches to connect and stay that way with your online community. Holistic practices like what we’ve mentioned above keep your credibility in the eyes of your members and give them reasons to stick around and engage with your content.
Perhaps you can get the best compliment when someone else makes a connection or generates a following because of your platform. So connect frequently and consistently with your community, forging relationships that will build your motivation and the motivation of your followers.