Whether you’re launching a niche product or something you hope will cater to the masses, the benefits of building an online community for your crowdfunding project are undeniable.

Digital communities can turn the initial curiosity of potential customers into a long-term love affair, with loyal followers even promoting your brand to others. And often, the community you first establish will last far beyond the launch of your first products and can form the foundation of future digital marketing campaigns.

Among the many benefits, such as driving traffic to your website and helping you retain customers, online communities also allow you to stay up-to-date with the thoughts and opinions of your fans so that you can adapt your products to be more relevant and user-focused.

What is an Online Community?

An online community is essentially a group of individuals joined by common interests, opinions, and goals, who meet in a virtual space, like a social media platform.

For example, one of the simplest communities you can build is a private group on Facebook. However, depending on your brand and business goals, your online community might be best suited to another platform or channel like LinkedIn. Some online community platforms include:

  • Facebook Groups
  • LinkedIn
  • Disciple
  • Hivebrite
  • BuddyBoss
  • Mighty Networks
  • Circle
  • Tribe

Your community might be an open forum where anyone can come and share their views and opinion, or an invite-only space where entrants are vetted first.

For brands who want to establish a community before or during the launch of a new product or service, an online community often includes a mix of customers, partners, and employees who are brought together in one place to share developments, news, ideas and establish a stronger emotional connection between members and the brand.

This initiative could be led by your crowdfunding marketing agency, by yourself, or even by a chosen follower in some instances, who are willing to lead the group thanks to their simple love of your brand.

What Happens in Online Communities?

Whatever your platform of choice, the major activity that should be taking place within your online community is the development of a meaningful connection between an individual and the brand, as well as between member individuals. A few things that encourage this are:

  • Discussions on topics relating to the brand, product or community theme
  • Direct feedback and opinion sharing about product elements (especially useful during the testing and development stage of new products)
  • Sharing of interesting content that relates to the community (videos, articles, personal reflections etc.)
  • Fan based projects and artworks (you can set up a competition where fans develop artwork for the brand for the chance of winning a prize and having their work published)
  • Sharing of industry news
  • Useful advice and tips for group members

Why Are Online Communities Important?

When launching a crowdfunding project, there are several unique ways your community can benefit you.

  • Communities can attract new followers to your brand who will eventually turn into paying customers when your product or project is launched
  • It’s a cheap way to gather market research data from real people without commissioning interviews or surveys
  • Creating a strong connection between people at an early stage will often inspire long-term loyalty ad individuals may become your greatest advocates
  • When partners or investors see the scale of your community they are more likely to believe in your project and get on board
  • Online communities are a direct way to communicate with your customers, which can support sales inquiries and other activities
  • Running an online community lets you be seen as a leader in your space and you’ll have the chance to shape the conversion as you go
  • Having a regular dialogue with your community helps you stay up-to-date and improve your products

Investing In Your Community

Whether you plan to handle the growth and management of an online community yourself or seek help from a crowdfunding marketing agency, this activity is far more than just a social media strategy that can improve your brand awareness potential.

Successful online communities can be a vital tool when developing your product pre-launch and can give you a deeper insight into the mindset of your customers.

If you want to learn more about how you can promote your Kickstarter with community building or other marketing initiatives, get in touch with us at Wow Your Crowd.