There are many advantages to building a community rather than a personal brand. A community is not entirely reliant on you being the face of it, for example. Communities also power the holy grail of branding, word-of-mouth, and referrals (a.k.a free marketing). Some members of a community even contribute content, which means it doesn't fall to one person to create content or surface relevant information for the group.
The content engines of the previous era were newsrooms, television networks, and websites. Guess what they all have in common? Groups of people create content, not just one person.
Influencer and personal brand culture have been largely embraced due to the democratization of social media, where any one person can broadcast to anyone anytime, but the basic rules of content haven't changed. One person can only do so much, even with a suite of creator apps.
One person tirelessly creating content for the sake of audience growth also leads to creator burnout and stress. Burnout is on a rapid rise with creators, regardless of audience size - the odds are that you've experienced it yourself to some degree. It's no wonder many influencers are opting to lean on communities more and more these days.
How to build an online community
There's 2 key things to solve for before you can start building your community. The first is selecting your modmins, and the second is selecting your purpose (we have 4 categories that your purpose can fall into).
Selecting your modmins is crucial because they'll set the tone with you for the nature of the group culture. They'll be posting and engaging as leadership within the group, so picking the right 1, 2, or 3 people to help modmin can be a huge step towards establishing your community. Key members can greatly influence the direction and brand of a community, so selecting a couple quality modmins distributes the work while adding substance.
Selecting your purpose will also take some consideration. There are 4 broad umbrellas that your community purpose will fall into, and we've gathered some examples to help inspire you:
I. Niche Interest
Some communities are formed solely around a niche interest. It could be a group of dedicated Age of Empires players, or a certain type of fashion, or any hobby or niche under the sun. Members will share content related to the niche interest into the group for the enjoyment and appreciation of other afficionados.
- Transit oriented teens - This Facebook group has over 220,000 members who, no matter the walk of life or age (despite the name invoking teenagers), are delighted by public transportation and its ephemera.
II. Trending topics
Some communities are formed around current events, entertainment releases, or pop culture news. Sometimes these communities die down when the news cycle dies down but the connections made there tend to be strong, having formed in the heat of a moment. Often times these communities will revive when there are new developments or revivals of a trending topic.
- Andrew Yang's Dank Meme Stash - This meme group was formed around Andrew Yang's 2020 presidential campaign, and gets a fresh influx of memes and engagement every time Andrew Yang does something remarkable (like subsequently running for NYC Mayor and starting a podcast.)
III. Specific problem solving
Some communities are formed around the common desire to solve a specific problem. Maybe you're looking to break into the world of Twitch streaming, or trying to get started investing in real estate. In these groups, people post to get advice, and comment to learn.
- BRRRR invest - a community for people to learn about how to build a real estate empire, with an exclusive course available to learn the founder's methodology. You can learn from the community for free in the Facebook group.
Some communities are formed around a shared identity. Whether it's a group for women of color in tech careers, or a group for Canadians living in Ohio, people in these groups are united by a shared identity and thrive with a spirit of camaraderie.
- DallasGirlGang - a Facebook group of over 33,000 members, an Instagram account, and a paid membership with exclusive access to community resources.