How To Build an Online Community Platform (2023 Guide)

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Chris, Chief Editor & WFH Expert

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Are you struggling to get your content noticed in the vast ocean of brand communities out there?

You’re not alone. 

Many businesses and entrepreneurs face the same challenges of building their own social networks, but fear not, the best online community platforms have come to your rescue.

These platforms offer an incredible opportunity to leverage content marketing and reinforce your brand’s online presence.

So, let’s dive into what online communities have in store for you and discover everything you need to know on how to harness their power to promote your brand effectively!

  • Online community platforms enhance content marketing and strengthen a brand’s online presence.
  • These communities enable valuable insights exchange, leading to relevant content, higher engagement, and improved marketing strategies.
  • Businesses can showcase expertise and thought leadership, positioning themselves as industry authorities and building credibility.
  • Alternative platforms gain popularity for entrepreneurs as Facebook faces competition, content saturation, and privacy issues.
  • Video is a powerful tool for boosting community engagement and fostering meaningful interactions among members.
  • To stand out in online communities, focus on high-quality, original content, actively engage by sharing insights, asking questions, participating in discussions, and building relationships to earn credibility.

Why Online Community Platforms are Important for Content Marketing

The importance of online community platforms in content marketing cannot be overstated.

These digital hubs provide an unrivaled opportunity for businesses to engage with their target audience.

Through fostering genuine connections and conversations, content marketers can create a loyal fan base that amplifies reach and drives action.

Community building also facilitates the exchange of valuable insights and feedback.

By participating in discussions and polls, members can guide marketers in crafting content that addresses their pain points, interests, and preferences.

This translates into more relevant content, higher engagement, and ultimately, better results for your marketing strategy.

Furthermore, online community platforms enable businesses to showcase their expertise and thought leadership.

By actively contributing to the conversation with high-quality content, marketers position themselves as industry authorities.

This, in turn, builds trust and credibility, encouraging users to consume and share the content with others within the community, thus creating a snowball effect of increased visibility and reach.

Representation of an online community

What are online community platforms?

Online community platforms are virtual spaces where like-minded people with similar interests and goals congregate to collaborate, share ideas, and support each other in a “community forum” type of setting.

They facilitate meaningful interactions by providing features like forums, social media platforms integrations, private messaging, and content sharing.

By acting as a melting pot of diverse voices and experiences, online community platforms enable businesses and entrepreneurs to learn from one another, promote their content, and grow their networks.

BGE online community

Why Facebook doesn’t cut it anymore for building an online community

In recent years, Facebook has taken a back seat when it comes to building online communities in favour for other free community platforms such as Slack and Discord.

One reason is the dilution of organic reach caused by the platform’s algorithm changes.

This has led to a decline in engagement, making it challenging for businesses to cultivate meaningful connections.

Secondly, Facebook’s crowded space suffers from heavy competition, where businesses vie for attention.

It can lead to content saturation and short-lived visibility.

Moreover, privacy concerns and data-related controversies have resulted in many users becoming hesitant to actively engage in online communities on Facebook.

Consequently, alternative online community platforms have emerged as popular choices for entrepreneurs and businesses.

These platforms cater to niche interests and enable content creators to encourage more targeted and efficient engagement with their audience, setting them apart from the limitations of Facebook.

A Facebook community that is too bloated

How online communities Are Great For Networking Opportunities

Building an online community platform not only boosts your brand’s exposure, but also facilitates valuable networking opportunities with your students!

By engaging with community members and answering their queries, you show your dedication to helping others and add a personal touch to your brand.

This kind of rapport-building paves the way for fruitful collaborations, growing your company by recruiting your ideal candidates, and other content-sharing initiatives.

When building an online community platform, be sure to remain mindful of the essential balance between promotion and genuine contribution. 

As you strike this balance, you’ll earn trust, respect, and visibility within the community, amplifying your content’s impact and reach beyond what your own marketing budget allows for!

How Video is Skyrocketing Online Community Engagement

Video marketing has undeniably become a powerful tool for skyrocketing online community engagement.

The phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that videos are visually appealing, easily digestible, and able to convey complex concepts or evoke emotions in just a matter of seconds.

This crowd-pleasing medium has proven to enhance user experience and nurture rich, meaningful interactions among community members.

Online communities dedicated to content marketing have taken notice of video’s potential and increasingly integrated it into their strategies.

Videos in various forms, such as live streams, tutorials, and webinars, have become essential components in driving attention, provoking discussions, and kickstarting collaborations. 

They’re an ideal catalyst for tapping into the power of communities: offering valuable, shareable information that inspires engagement and loyalty from members.

Consider prioritizing video in your own community as a means to communicate and elevate your brand. 

Storyprompt using video to build an online community platform

How to stand out among other content creators?

Standing out among content creators in online communities requires a strategic approach.

First and foremost, focus on producing high-quality, original content that genuinely interests and engages your target audience.

Authenticity is key, so let your unique voice shine through in your writing, and show a passion for the subject.

Engage with others actively by sharing valuable insights, asking questions, and participating in discussions.

This helps you build relationships and earn credibility within the community.

It also increases your visibility, so when you share content, people are more likely to pay attention and even become fans of your work.

Adapting to these nuances will set you apart and help you gain traction in your content promotion efforts.

Create high quality content for your online community platform

Types of Content Marketing Communities

There are different types of online communities, including support communities, customer experience communities, and branded online communities, among others.

Regardless of the type of community being developed, it is important to establish community guidelines, have a clear plan for community management, and encourage new members to join and participate.

Social Media

First are the Social Media Groups, which are found on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit.

These groups provide a casual environment to share and discuss content related to your specific niche, making it an ideal option for businesses exploring communities for the first time.

Not ideal for building tight communitites tied to a products, such as an online course.

Learning Communities

Learning communities are rapidly becoming popular platforms for content marketers.

These communities, often organized around a specific topic, offer members an opportunity to learn from industry experts and connect with like-minded individuals.

These are often based around a key product or service such as an online course, making it ideal for marketers to build for myraid of reasons.

Subscription Based

Subscription-based communities for SaaS companies offer a unique opportunity for content promotion.

In these communities, members pay a fee to access exclusive content, resources, and networking opportunities.

By building in such communities, businesses can strategically target potential customers who are already invested in the services and solutions their company offers.

How To Build a Thriving Online Community Platform From Scratch

Building a thriving online community platform is a powerful way to enhance your brand’s image and promote content effectively.

But where do you start?

If you’re looking to increase brand awareness or develop a stronger sense of community among your customers, aiming to create a social community is a good place to start off with.

Whether it’s a podcast, Facebook Group, or other online community platforms, you can use these to provide support to your customers, gather feedback, and promote customer loyalty.

By focusing on providing value and building relationships with your community members, you can turn your social community into a powerful tool for achieving your business goals.

A man building a product from scratch

Let’s lightly explore the steps on how to build an online community from scratch:

1. Onboard new members

First and foremost, you need to attract your initial members. This can be done through a variety of ways, but your course launch will most likely include an email list to onboard members during the content marketing and sales process.

2. Customize your platform and Content

Then customize your online platform to suit your community’s needs by choosing the right theme, features, and design to spark engagement. Keep in mind the importance of being user-friendly, visually appealing, and easy to navigate.

Provide them with content that’s not only informative, but engaging as well. Ideally you’ll do this by onboarding them to a custom online community platform with quality content already front-loaded.

3. Track Metrics

It’s also important to track your community metrics, including user engagement, retention rates, key performance indicators (KPIs), and the amount of user-generated content being shared.

This helps you evaluate how well your community is performing, and identify areas for improvement.

4. Share your expertise

Sharing expertise and encouraging your community members to help each other is the key to sustained growth. By encouraging a collaborative environment, you strengthen the relationships among your members while also showcasing valuable content.

A funny thing that will happen over time is that dedicated members of your community, your students, will start to take over your workload of engaging and helping out with questions that the community might have.

5. Keep an eye on what’s working

Determine what makes your community special and highlight those aspects that attract and retain members. You can even use this later on as promotional and UGC material for your social media campaigns.

6. Create Opportunities for interactions

Offer varying formats for members to engage with, such as live Q&A sessions, discussion threads, or live events. These interactive experiences massively boosts connection and loyalty within your online community.

7. Don’t move the goal post

Make sure your community revolves around your organization. Promote the values, mission, and culture of your brand to enhance your community’s identity. This cohesive approach will reinforce your brand and keep your target audience engaged with your content.

8. Establish simple guidelines

Also don’t forget about establish clear but simple guidelines. Defining your community’s purpose and setting rules for engagement are essential in maintaining a healthy online environment.

Be transparent about your expectations and consider inviting reliable members to become moderators, ensuring a safe and respectful atmosphere for all.

And once your community is up and running, you can use it to gather valuable feedback, plan marketing campaigns, and even launch new products.

The Pros and Cons of Using Online Communities

Online communities have become a powerful tool for content marketing. As businesses and entrepreneurs look to leverage these platforms, it’s important to understand the pros and cons associated with their use. Let’s discuss some of these advantages and drawbacks.


  • Access to a targeted audience: Online communities often consist of individuals and professionals with shared interests, making them an ideal channel to reach your target market.
  • Increased engagement: Since members of the community are more likely to have a genuine interest in the topics discussed, there’s potential for improved content engagement and conversion.
  • Valuable feedback and insights: Engaging in conversations within these communities provides useful feedback on your content and open up potential collaboration opportunities.


  • Time investment: To effectively leverage online communities, businesses must actively participate in discussions, which requires a significant time commitment.
  • Potential for negative feedback: While communities can provide valuable insights, negative feedback and criticism can impact your brand’s reputation just the same!

Engaging with Your Online Community for Better Results

Engaging with your online community is crucial for achieving better results in your content marketing efforts.

The key to success in any online community is genuine, active participation!

First and foremost, identify the right online community platforms that will work for a tailored experience for your target audience and industry. 

Once you’ve identified the right online community platform to use, it’s time to participating in the online community and engage with fellow members actively.

Respond to comments, offer assistance, and ask questions to stimulate conversations.

This not only promotes your brand but also establishes you as an authority quite quickly. Encourage reciprocal engagement to nurture a deeper connection with your audience.

This creative and holistic approach will provide better results for your content marketing efforts and ensure a stronger online presence.

Final Thoughts: Choosing the Right Online Community platform for Your Online Course

Choosing the right online community platform for your online course is crucial to success, as it can make or break the user experience.

It’s like finding the perfect home for building your brand, and you don’t want it to be on a generic place like Facebook.

But selecting the appropriate platform might feel overwhelming with so many community platforms available.

The Midjourney online community on Discord

Before you pick one that seems good, consider your primary objectives and the unique needs of your target audience.

Are you looking for an affordable platform that offers more advanced features than Facebook, or do you prioritize ease of use and accessibility?

Be sure to evaluate the platform’s reputation, customization options, and ability to grow and adapt with your online course over time.

The best platform will be the one that aligns with your course’s goals, encourage collaboration, and effectively showcases your content.

Make sure to look at key factors such as affordability, user experience, features, and scalability as well! 

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