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Group of friends hugging. Text above reads "HOW TO BUILD A COMMUNITY".

How To Build A Community

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Jun 13, 2024
Read Time: X Min
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It takes work to build a community, but the rewards are huge. A genuinely engaged audience becomes a network of people who share and support your mission. 

Building a strong and friendly community is more necessary now than ever. People might grow lonely inside their computers, but they need support from those around them.

When you create a community of shared interests, you benefit from that community's energy and collective smarts. Your members benefit even more, and you thrive.

What Is A Community?

A community is a group of people united by shared interests, values, and goals. It’s a space where individuals connect, learn, and support one another.

Communities can form around various themes, such as:

  • Hobbies and passions: People who love cooking, gardening, or playing music enjoy sharing their experiences and knowledge with others who appreciate the same activities.
  • Professions and skills: Entrepreneurs, marketers, or developers can collaborate, network, and learn from each other’s expertise within a professional community.
  • Locations and cultures: Local neighborhoods, cities, or cultural groups foster a sense of belonging and pride among residents who celebrate their shared heritage and work together to improve their community.
  • Beliefs and causes: Individuals passionate about environmental conservation, social justice, or personal growth can unite to positively impact and support each other’s journeys.

Why Build A Community?

Building a community offers immense value for both you and your members:

  • Fosters belonging and connection: In an increasingly digital world, people crave genuine human connections. A community provides a space where members feel accepted, understood, and part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Enables knowledge sharing and support: Communities facilitate the exchange of ideas, experiences, and resources among members. Individuals can turn to the community for advice, inspiration, and collaborative problem-solving when facing challenges.
  • Enhances loyalty and engagement: Communities strengthen members’ emotional attachment to your brand or mission by creating a sense of belonging and providing value. Engaged members are more likely to become advocates, repeat customers, or long-term supporters.
  • Facilitates growth and goal achievement: A thriving community rallies around shared objectives, whether it’s personal growth, skill development, or making a positive impact. Members can motivate and support each other in pursuing their aspirations, leading to individual and collective success.

Building a community takes effort, but the rewards are well worth it. A vibrant community benefits its members and fuels your own growth and impact. It’s a powerful asset that can help you achieve your mission, gain valuable insights, and create lasting relationships with your audience.

Don’t know where to start? Get our free guide and learn how to find your niche in less than 10 minutes.

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How To Build A Community In 7 Steps

Building a thriving community requires thoughtful planning and consistent effort. Here are the key steps to creating a vibrant community:

1. Define Your Community’s Purpose And Values

Before diving into the tactical steps of building your community, take time to establish a solid foundation. Your community’s purpose and values act as a guiding light, helping you make decisions and attract the right members.

Identify Shared Interests, Goals And Values

  • Shared interests: What topics, hobbies, or challenges will bring your community members together? For example, a love for cooking, a passion for environmental conservation, or a desire to master public speaking skills.
  • Common goals: What do your members hope to achieve by joining your community? This could include learning new skills, connecting with like-minded individuals, or working together to make a positive impact.
  • Core values: What principles and beliefs will guide your community’s interactions and decisions? Consider values such as inclusivity, transparency, collaboration, or continuous learning.

Craft A Clear Mission Statement

Distill your community’s purpose into a concise mission statement. This should communicate the essence of what your community stands for and aims to accomplish. A well-defined mission statement helps potential members quickly understand if your community aligns with their interests and needs.

Establish Community Guidelines

Create a set of guidelines that outline the expected behaviors and norms within your community. These guidelines should reflect your core values and ensure a safe, respectful, and productive environment for all members. 

Include guidelines around topics such as:

  • Respect and inclusivity
  • Constructive feedback and dialogue
  • Promotion and self-promotion
  • Privacy and confidentiality

Communicate these guidelines to new members and consistently enforce them to maintain a positive community culture.

2. Identify And Attract Your Ideal Members

To build a thriving community, you need to attract the right people who share your community’s purpose and values. Here’s how to identify and reach your ideal members:

Develop A Target Member Profile

Create a detailed description of your ideal community member based on shared attributes, interests, and values. Consider factors such as:

  • Demographics (age, location, profession)
  • Psychographics (personality traits, values, lifestyle)
  • Challenges and goals related to your community’s purpose
  • Online and offline behaviors (where they spend time, how they communicate)

Having a clear picture of your target members helps you tailor your community’s offerings and communication to resonate with them.

Find Potential Members Where They Already Gather

Identify online and offline spaces where your ideal members already spend time. This could include:

  • Social media platforms and groups
  • Online forums and communities
  • Industry events and conferences
  • Local meetups and networking groups

Engage in these spaces authentically, providing value and building relationships with potential members. Share insights, answer questions, and demonstrate your expertise without being overly promotional.

Showcase The Benefits Of Joining Your Community

Clearly communicate the value and benefits of being part of your community. Highlight how your community can help members:

  • Connect with like-minded individuals
  • Learn and grow in their areas of interest
  • Collaborate on projects or challenges
  • Access exclusive content, events, or opportunities
  • Feel supported and motivated in pursuing their goals

Use compelling storytelling, testimonials, and case studies to illustrate the transformative power of your community.

Invite And Onboard New Members

Once you’ve attracted potential members, make it easy for them to join your community. Provide clear instructions on how to sign up and what to expect as a new member.

Creating a welcoming onboarding experience helps new members feel valued and integrated into the community. This can include:

  • Personalized welcome messages
  • Introductory resources or guides
  • Opportunities to introduce themselves and connect with other members
  • Assigning a buddy or mentor to guide them through their first steps

Remember, building a community is an ongoing process. Continuously engage with and listen to your members to ensure your community remains relevant and valuable to them.

3. Choose The Right Platform For Engagement

Selecting the best platform to host your community is key. You want a solution that aligns with your community’s purpose, facilitates meaningful interactions, and supports your growth goals. 

Consider these factors when evaluating potential platforms:

  • Features: Look for a platform that offers the features your community needs, such as discussion forums, member profiles, event calendars, and content-sharing capabilities. Prioritize features that encourage engagement and foster connections among members.
  • Customization: Choose a platform that allows you to customize the look and feel of your community to match your brand. The ability to personalize colors, logos, and layout helps create a cohesive and recognizable experience for your members.
  • Scalability: As your community grows, you’ll need a platform that can accommodate increasing member numbers and activity. Ensure the platform can handle a growing user base without compromising performance or user experience.
  • Integration: Consider how well the platform integrates with other tools you use, such as email marketing software, analytics tools, or content management systems. Seamless integration streamlines your workflow and provides a more holistic view of your community’s performance.
  • Mobile responsiveness: With most internet users accessing content via mobile devices, choosing a platform that offers a mobile-friendly experience is a must. Look for platforms with responsive design or dedicated mobile apps to ensure your community is accessible on the go.
  • Support and resources: Evaluate the platform's level of support and resources. Access to helpful documentation, tutorials, and responsive customer support can make a significant difference when setting up and managing your community.

All-in-one platforms like Kajabi offer a comprehensive solution by combining community features with additional tools for creating and selling digital products. These platforms provide an integrated experience, allowing you to host your community, courses, and memberships in one place.

When choosing a platform, prioritize the features and capabilities that align with your community’s needs and goals. Take advantage of free trials or demos to test out different options and get a feel for the user experience. With Kajabi, you get a 14-day free trial to test the platform before committing to one of our paid packages.

4. Seed And Encourage Valuable Discussions

Engaging conversations are the lifeblood of a thriving community. To keep your community active and vibrant, take the lead in initiating meaningful discussions and encouraging members to participate.

Start Conversations Around Key Interests

Identify the topics that resonate most with your community members and use them as a starting point for a discussion. Share thought-provoking questions, interesting articles, or personal experiences related to these key interests. 

Invite members to share their perspectives and insights, fostering a culture of open dialogue and knowledge sharing.

Encourage Questions And Experience Sharing

Create a safe and supportive environment where members feel comfortable asking questions and seeking advice. Regularly prompt members to share their challenges, successes, and lessons learned. 

By encouraging vulnerability and authenticity, you build trust and deepen connections within the community.

Recognize Top Contributors

Acknowledge and celebrate members who consistently contribute valuable content and engage in meaningful discussions. Highlight their expertise and achievements through features such as “Member of the Month” or “Top Contributor” badges. 

Publicly recognizing top contributors shows appreciation for their efforts and inspires others to actively participate.

Spotlight Member-Generated Content

Curate and showcase the best member-generated content, such as insightful posts, helpful resources, or inspiring success stories. 

By focusing the spotlight on valuable contributions, you demonstrate the community's value and encourage others to share their knowledge and experiences.

To further boost engagement, consider implementing gamification elements like points, leaderboards, or rewards for active participation. These incentives can motivate members to contribute regularly and foster a sense of friendly competition.

Regularly monitor discussions, respond to questions, and provide guidance when needed. Your active presence and genuine interest in your members’ contributions will go a long way in creating a vibrant and engaged community.

5. Offer Exclusive Content And Experiences

One powerful way to add value for your community members is by providing exclusive content and experiences they can’t find anywhere else. This keeps them engaged and attracts new members who want access to these valuable resources.

Consider offering:

  • Premium content: Create members-only courses, eBooks, templates, or worksheets that explore topics your community cares about. This gated content makes your community feel special and incentivizes people to join and stay involved.
  • Community events: Host virtual or in-person events, challenges, webinars, or mastermind groups exclusively for your members. These experiences foster connections, learning, and personal growth while strengthening the sense of belonging within your community.
  • Perks and discounts: Offer exclusive discounts to community members on your products or services. You can also partner with other businesses to provide special perks or promotions that align with your community’s interests and needs.

When you consistently deliver valuable content and experiences that members can’t access elsewhere, they will likely remain engaged and invite others to join. Plus, these exclusive offerings can become an additional revenue stream for your business, allowing you to monetize your community in a way that feels authentic and beneficial to your members.

6. Empower Members To Contribute And Lead

As your community grows, tap into your members' collective wisdom and talents. Empowering them to contribute and take on leadership roles lightens your workload and fosters a sense of ownership and investment in the community’s success.

Encourage Member-Led Content And Discussions

Invite members to share their expertise by writing blog posts, creating videos, or leading discussions on topics they’re passionate about. Provide guidelines and support to ensure the content aligns with your community’s values and standards. Showcase member-generated content prominently to inspire others to contribute.

Facilitate Collaborative Projects

Create opportunities for members to work together on projects or initiatives that benefit the community or align with its mission. This could include organizing events, creating resources, or tackling challenges the community faces. Provide the necessary tools and guidance to help these collaborations thrive.

Identify And Empower Potential Leaders

Keep an eye out for members who consistently engage, contribute value, and demonstrate leadership qualities. Reach out to these individuals and offer them opportunities to take on more responsibility within the community. This could involve moderating discussions, mentoring new members, or spearheading initiatives.

Clearly define leadership roles and expectations and provide training and support to help these members succeed in their new positions. Recognize and celebrate their contributions to show appreciation and inspire others to step up.

Empowering members to contribute and lead not only strengthens your community but also helps develop a pipeline of future leaders who can help sustain and grow the community over time.

7. Analyze And Optimize Community Engagement

Tracking and optimizing your community’s engagement is an ongoing process. Regularly assess key metrics to gauge the health and vibrancy of your community:

  • Growth: Monitor the rate at which new members join your community. Steady growth indicates that your community provides value and attracts interest from potential members.
  • Activity: Measure the frequency and quality of member interactions, such as posts, comments, and event participation. High activity levels suggest your community is engaging and relevant to its members.
  • Retention: Track how long members remain active in your community. High retention rates demonstrate that your community continues to provide value and fosters lasting connections.

To gain deeper insights, gather feedback directly from your members. Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to understand what they appreciate about your community and where they see room for improvement. Use this feedback to inform your community strategy and make data-driven decisions.

Continuously experiment with different types of content, events, and outreach strategies to keep your community fresh and engaging. Test new formats, topics, or platforms and measure their impact on engagement metrics. Double down on what resonates with your members and iterate on what doesn’t.

Analytics tools can help you track and visualize community engagement data, making it easier to spot trends and opportunities for optimization. Review your metrics and feedback regularly to ensure your community remains vibrant, valuable, and aligned with its purpose.

With Kajabi, you get a unified dashboard for web analytics. This is where you can view the most important information from all of your communities’ touchpoints in one central location. 

We combine everything into a single, seamless dashboard, unlike other platforms where you have to switch between tabs and reports to get the whole picture. 

Without having to deal with the headache of comparing data from various sources, you can now effortlessly track your revenue, offers sold, subscription metrics, and more.

Additional Tips

Utilize Effective Communication Channels

Effective communication keeps your community connected and informed. Choose channels that best fit your community’s needs and preferences.

  • Email newsletters: Keep members updated on community news, highlight member achievements, and share valuable resources.
  • Social media: Use social media platforms to promote community events, celebrate member successes, and engage with a wider audience.
  • Dedicated forums: Offer a space for deeper discussions, Q&A sessions, and sharing resources related to your community’s interests.

Encourage Real-World Connections

While online interactions form the basis of many communities, real-world connections can deepen relationships and foster a sense of belonging.

  • Local meetups: Organize or encourage local members to meet up in person for social events, workshops, or collaborative projects.
  • Annual conferences: Consider hosting an annual event where members from different locations can come together to learn, network, and celebrate the community.

Leverage Technology To Enhance Engagement

Technology plays a vital role in building and maintaining a community. Use tools that enhance engagement and streamline operations.

  • Interactive webinars: Host webinars or live Q&A sessions to educate, entertain, and engage your community.
  • Mobile app: A dedicated mobile app makes it easy for members to access the community, participate in discussions, and receive notifications on the go.
  • Analytics tools: Use analytics to track engagement, identify popular content, and understand member behavior. This data can help you tailor your community offerings to better meet member needs.

Create And Grow Your Community With Kajabi

At Kajabi, we're all about helping you turn your passion into a thriving business.

That's why we created a platform that lets you make money from your expertise.

With Kajabi, you can build a community, create online courses, set up membership sites, and sell digital products. Plus, we provide all the marketing tools you need to boost your sales.

We know starting a business is a big step. To make it easier, we offer a 14-day free trial. This gives you full access to our tools, templates, and resources so you can see everything Kajabi has to offer.

Discover how Kajabi can help you build a thriving community today. Get started with our 14-day free trial and start building your community.

How To Build A Community: Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Key Components Of A Successful Online Community?

A successful online community includes clear objectives, a user-friendly platform, engaging content, active moderation, and consistent interaction among members. It should also provide value to its members through useful resources, support, and opportunities for networking.

How Do I Choose The Right Platform For My Community?

Consider your community's needs, your technical skills, and your budget. Look for a platform that offers the features you need, such as discussion forums, chat functions, member profiles, and content sharing. Kajabi, for instance, provides an all-in-one solution with tools specifically designed for building and managing online communities.

How Can I Monetize My Online Community?

There are several ways to monetize your community, including offering paid memberships, selling digital products or courses, hosting exclusive events, and providing premium content. Kajabi's platform includes tools to help you implement these monetization strategies effectively.

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