In this post we are going to take a trip into the ever-evolving world of community building. From lessons that you can learn from the ones you are already a part of, some of the skills you’ll need for building and maintaining a community, to some of the platforms that you can utilise to help with your adventure.
What is a community?
A community is a social construct that is usually made up of a group of people with similar interests, goals or simply shared experiences/characteristics.
How many communities would you consider yourself a part of?
For me, it looks a little like this…
I’m a part of the Chester, UK community.
I’m a part of the World of Warcraft community (things are getting geeky)
I’m a part of the Warhammer community.
I’m a part of the Small Business/Marketing/Web Design community.
I’m a part of the should go to the gym more community (a common one among many)
All of these have many similarities, they all need certain components to survive and thrive. These common themes are something that I want to explore a little more below.
Care and Kindness – the main quote from this post is all about nurturing your relationships within a community. Sometimes this means that you need to step outside of your own little world bubble and actively try to empathise or help people whenever you can. Being kind is a huge part of this section, it something that’s seen as an easy thing to do but these days lots of people tend to walk by or shoot unfortunate events on their phones. When it comes to an online business, this works in the same kind of way. You want to give people the time of day, take a minute out of your own responsibilities and offer help, advice or a shoulder to cry on if someone needs it.
Communication – This is the killer of many communities as my long years of guild recruitment and leadership can attest. It’s obvious that in life, you’re not going to like everyone you meet and not everyone is going to like you. However, this shouldn’t stop you having the ability to communicate and function in the same circles as other people.
Online communities like World of Warcraft guilds and communities on social media platforms are related. When talking over the internet, it’s easy to get crossed wires and misconstrue what the other person might be saying or hinting at. You might have over 300 people involved in a guild/community in the game and something of that size needs structure and for the leadership team (or GMs/Officers as they are known) to have a good handle over communication with the community. If you are building a Facebook Group or even working with a large group of people, you need the same thing.
Dedication and Commitment – This is tricky in many communities, but successful communities will always have a solid backbone of people that have stuck with you through the bad times and the good. If you want to build a community that runs well then you must put in the effort to make sure that it stands the test of time.
Online and Offline Community Platforms
This next section will depend on the type of community that you are trying to build and the areas of the internet that you might find like-minded people. I’ve created this little graphic below to show some of the community platforms I’m a part, a little mix of both online and real life!
- Twitch – streaming and community creation tool
- Twitter – Popular platform for gaming news, events and socialising on gaming topics, as well as many others.
- Discord – The home of many groups of gaming communities including WoW guilds and classes.
- Reddit – A large platform that splits topics into subreddits, essentially forums that are great for news and communicate with fellow players. Again, home to way more than just gaming subreddits.
- YouTube – Content creation heaven, most video content related to gaming is relayed through YouTube daily.
Small Biz Community
- LinkedIn – Fantastic tool for creating communities and reaching out to people in the same fields as you.
- Facebook – Groups are a really popular way of creating a community especially if you’re a small business with a local focus. Additionally, it’s the most popular social media platform by far in the UK.
- BNI – A real life (yep, real life) networking community that exists worldwide. Great for building relationships and meeting some wonderful friends.
- Basecamp – A project management tool that is actually highly useful for creating smaller communities and connecting people involved in the same projects.
- UK Business Forums – As it says on the tin, it’s a forum that caters towards businesses in the UK. Help others, chat about business and even meet new people!
Chester Community (all real life related)
- Storyhouse – A new hotspot for meet-ups and coffee mornings as well as a great place for entertainment!
- University of Chester – Huge population of students spend a lot of time in the city, meaning that it’s a central hub and a community in its own right.
- Chester Market – Currently undergoing massive amounts of regeneration thanks to the help of some amazing small businesses such as Crustum.
- Chester Racecourse – One of the most famous parts of the city and another focal point of the Chester community. Not only for race days but also as a training and event venue!
- Chester Zoo – Huge proponents of creating a sustainable world, starting with the city of Chester. Again, this is another draw for visitors but it’s also somewhere for Chester locals to be proud of! (If you’d like to see the inner workings of Chester Zoo, check out “The Secret Life of the Zoo” tv show)
Should Be Going to the Gym Community
Need I say more…
As you can see, I’m part of many communities and I’m sure your list would look quite similar if not even more full. Communities are built on relationships and relationships need to be nurtured to be successful. When thinking about foundations to build your own community upon, keep the skills that we mentioned above in mind.
In a future post we will focus on the ways that you can build your own online community. If you’re in a situation with your business and looking for people that might be interested in your products, communities might be a good place to start. Think about this from the viewpoint of a user of your product, what kinds of communities would they be a part of and what would be the best ways to reach them. Keep in mind that the strategy for reaching people like this will differ from platform to platform. Some are much more open to hard selling whilst others will be turned off completely and, in some cases, you might even be banned from joining in – make sure to do your research.
Keep an eye out for future blog posts on this topic and if you’ve got any questions pop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org