7 Reasons Why You Should Build an Online Community

One of the biggest challenges with in-person events is that you connect, exchange business cards, LinkedIn’s, but then great likelihood never chat again. With community, you can invite them to join and continue the conversation with them or other members of your community. This is a great way to keep the conversation alive. This keeps them top of mind without the forced pressure of having to connect with them directly right away.

2. Breakdown the silos

In an industry such as mental health, there are professionals in nonprofits, for-profits, governments, education, etc. These professionals are extremely siloed and typically know one another in their respective silos. With community, you can break down these silos and create an environment that supports conversation and collaboration. You provide these professionals with new perspectives and resources that they did not have prior to joining your community.

3. A connector in the space

By creating an online community you will be seen as an influencer, organizer, and (hopefully) connector in the space. The reason I say hopefully is that you can start a community for selfish reasons versus bringing people together as documented in the previous point. In my opinion, community organizers have a responsibility to connect like-minded individuals. This can create a synergy where The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts.

4. Bring people together with like-minded interests

To further add to points 2 and 3, when you create an online community you bring people together with like-minded interests. If you create a gaming community, you are bringing that may turn into life-long relationships. Once your community becomes large, you will unlikely keep track with all of the relationships you helped foster. Hopefully, they credit you at some point if it leads to business or who knows even marriage.

5. You will learn about your niche

Organizing your own community will allow you to learn first-hand about your niche. You will see members asking questions, sharing new content, resources, etc. This will allow you to stay abreast with this topic, helping cement you as a subject matter expert in the field. Hopefully, your community members will provide different perspectives, fostering conversation, identifying pain points, and new solutions that may not have been evident to you in the past.

6. Disseminate information

With community, it is far easier to spread a message or values you may hold versus doing it alone. Other members may be able to guide you to appropriate channels to help spread your values or work. For example in the field of mental health, removing the stigma is a HUGE endeavor, but it seems far more doable when you have 6,000 other people sharing and communicating the importance of being open to treatment as well as being open with their loved ones.

7. Support people

Community is a powerful support mechanism. In the case of 18percent, the mental health community that I co-founded, members express the importance of being able to connect with others who know how they’re feeling. Perhaps they too have suffered depression or a bad breakup. When you can be in someone else’s shoes, you share that relatability and which forms a trust. Strong communities build trust which in turn will lead to support. Support does not necessarily be in the form of emotional support, it can also be helping you land a job or connecting you with the right person to help you get to the next level.

Organizing community is much more than filling an online community platform with members. When you bring members together it can lead to positive outcomes, collaboration, learning, and support. With community, members can often achieve more than they would do if each person worked individually. If you are looking to get started, here are the best online community platforms to choose from.

Originally published at https://zachschleien.com on August 8, 2019.

Day Job: Johnson & Johnson / Creator of 18percent & Filter Off

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