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6 Steps to Creating an Online Community for Business Research

An Online Community Management Software (OCMS) is a sophisticated and integrated solution with many capabilities designed to develop and manage online communities efficiently. You may use this software to create, expand, administer, and even brand online communities.

Online communities are groups of individuals that engage and communicate with one another over the internet. Business forums, academic communities, chat rooms, gaming forums, and other individuals with similar interests are examples of online communities. This blog explores the steps to develop a textbook online community for business research.

Define the aim and purpose

This is the first step in creating an online community, and without it, you cannot proceed to step two. People will not comprehend why they should join your community if it lacks a purpose. You should describe the purpose of the planned online community as well as the objectives to be met.

Locate an appropriate Online Community Management Software

To begin an online community for research purposes, you must first choose management software. Online community research tools, such as Recollective, are crucial for any firm wanting to present its products online. The online community is ideal for testing the efficacy of your goods, gathering insights and comments from your community, and appreciating any communication, favorable or bad. Researchers may use Recollective to conduct online qualitative research from anywhere in the globe!

Determine the online community’s primary stakeholders

Your community should be as well-organized as your company. You want team members committed to particular duties in your community, just as you have CEOs, managers, and supervisors in your firm. The position of each team member in your community will determine the duties they do in your community.

Choose a community platform

The next step is to choose the platform on which you will construct your online community. The question you should be asking yourself right now is, “How many people do I want to expand this community to?” You could start a WhatsApp group chat, a Telegram group, or an Instagram group DM for a 10-person community. If you want to build a community of 1000+ people, you should look at other platforms, such as Reddit or a Facebook group. Nobody wants to be a part of a group chat with a thousand other individuals.

You may use a free community platform like Facebook or create your community-owned platform online. 

Free community platform

There are “free” platforms that provide community-like elements, such as Facebook and Twitter. The benefit of free community platforms is that they are free for users and already have an audience. 

Community-owned platform 

Then there’s the privately held platform, such as a community forum. This brand-owned space provides all of the benefits of a social networking platform but with far more control and freedom over how you connect with your members. For example, if you create a blog or website with a forum or comment area for your visitors, you create an owned community that you can administer yourself.

Establish the community’s regulations

While your community exists to serve its members, that does not give them the authority to establish all of the rules. Show individuals the ground rules and standards for admission before they become official members, and have them commit to following them. If they don’t, inform them they’ll be kicked out of the group.

Promote your community

Once you’ve decided on a date, it’s time to notify your target audience. The easiest way to accomplish this is to use your existing internet presence. Promote your launch on your website, through email messages, and by having your sales staff and customer care representatives inform your current and new consumers about it.

Here are some additional pointers to assist you to attract members to your community: 

Invite your contacts

Who do you know who might be interested in being a member of this community? You have a list of connections who all have one thing in common: they all know more people. By informing your contact list about your community, they will notify their friends and so on. Your target member network has grown organically as a result of your networking efforts.

Discuss with anybody and everyone

Make it a practice to talk to people wherever you go, especially if your community revolves on a comprehensive product or service range that is valuable to many people.

Collaborate with influencers

Collaboration with influencers exposes your community to their audience. The influencer should have a network of individuals who are similar to your ideal member – and they should already be paying attention to them. This is a faster way to discover your target member than running paid traffic campaigns.

A referral scheme

Referral programs reward users for suggesting new members to your community. Your incentives can include a free product, a discount voucher, or a prize.

Take away

Finally, knowing how to strike a balance between controlling conversations to maintain order, keeping conversations fresh, and giving members the freedom to feel like they can express themselves is an integral part of becoming an excellent online community moderator. You don’t want chaos, but you also don’t want to stifle debate before it begins.

With these steps, you are now ready to create your online community!

Ana Hoffman
Anna Hoffman is a part-time blogger who writes on Business, Technology, Digital Marketing, Real Estate, Lifestyle, and Educational topics.
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