How do you start your online community?

Getting things rolling with your new online community requires determination and intent. You can start it right and let it grow naturally online.

In the late 60’s communities began sprouting up everywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though, living free is not a new thing in the history of humanity. Living together and sharing the resources became the thing to do — again. But even a culture seemingly without rules, had them. Your online community should have structure, too.

Do your own thing, wherever you have to do it and whenever you want. Drop out. Leave society as you have known it. Leave it utterly. Blow the mind of every straight person you can reach. Turn them on, if not to drugs, then to beauty, love, honesty, fun.

TIME The Hippies: The Philosophy of a Subculture

In the hippie movement, there were quite a bit of shared values. Unfortunately, they had issues once it came to drug use and theft. They needed to build their shared values into ground rules.

In order to have a successful online community, you first need to define your values, rules, and platform. That should be done before you start the community.

Determine Your Values

A community is built upon shared values. The commonalities bring us together. Having a written guide helps create a healthy community. Though it’s a company, Buffer does an excellent job making their ten values known even in a creative way as their graphic demonstrates.

There are many types of communities but they have quite a bit of overlap and the successful ones all follow these guidelines.

The four sorts of electronic communities are not mutually exclusive. One community can address multiple needs.

Harvard Business Review

Determine Your Ground Rules

Shared values translate into ground rules. It’s important that these are written. In WordPress, for example, we have a Code of Conduct. Any healthy online community should have moderators to enforce the rules. Ground rules without consequences creates uncertainty which can undermine the purpose of your community.

We learned a lot about setting up ground rules from the forum program. Always make sure everyone understands why they’re contributing and what the goals are.

Duolingo Case Study

Rules with goals are even better. What is your community trying to accomplish? Without direction, people can get aimless and restless and, frankly, grouchy.

Determine Your Platform

Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, or your own social network with PeepSo, you should grow your community in one place (small) before branching out elsewhere. HubSpot even recommends a soft launch of your community while you’re in beta stage. Invite people. Interact. See how it flows. Then expand the invites. Allow your community to grow properly by controlling its growth.

Keeping your community pre-launch private. You do not want outsiders having access to your community until you are ready, so make sure to enable your privacy settings.

HubSpot

Where should you build your online community?

We’re biased, but with our free WordPress plugin you have the ability to create your own custom community. PeepSo is a super-light social network that allows you to quickly and effortlessly add a social network right inside your WordPress site. There’s no reason not to try it today. See our demo.


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Brought to you by PeepSo Team Bridget Willard
I specialize in business to business relationship marketing. Teaching is the new marketing. People skills are even more important to stand out from the crowd of scheduled tweets. I earned a BA in Liberal Studies, got my Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, and after one year my path took another route. That combination of skills has presented opportunities to tutor others and help get accounts started. Go to LinkedIn for more.

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