- a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
But what’s in an online community?
They’re usually hubs of talented, like-minded people. A safe space where people can talk freely about the topic or concept they share in common. A place where everyone can ask for help or feedback when they’re stuck. In our world, our community of Digital Agency Owners is a place for that and more. It’s also a two-way street where we are all self-aware enough to be someone who actively asks and shares rather than just absorbing.
But we’ve all been the new kid in the lunchroom before, and it’s not always easy to feel like a part of the group. That’s why we’ve put together this article to help you get the most out of your communities. We hope it helps.! And remember, you’ll only ever get as much as you give!
13 Ways To Get The Most Out of Your Online Community
1. Get ready from day one: join the community that’s right for you
We work on the internet. Therefore there’s a myriad of communities for everything and everyone. Finding the community that makes the most sense for your niche or your agency is paramount. That will be the place where you’ll find what you’re looking for and what you need, and a space where you feel safe to share your work and reach out for help.
2. What’s the right fit?
If the internet has shown us anything it’s that there is a niche for everyone. Here are our recommendations of the best communities for what you’re looking for:
- Web Design: Agency TrailBlazer and Grow Your Web Design Business by Content Snare. These are both groups for design and web agencies that are growing their business online. Especially useful if you’re on WordPress.
- Learning to start & scale a business: Digital Mavericks and My Web Audit: Agency Mastermind are both great places to learn how to master the essential business skills it takes to run a successful online business.
- Finding a Niche: The Digital Agency Owners group is a community of agency professionals who either already serve a niche market or are interested in learning more about niching down.
3. You found the right community for you, now what?
This one sounds pretty straightforward, I’d like to write “just request join!” Simple, right? But there is a little more nuance here. Most communities are private and vetted to the gills so they will require some kind of approval process.
Make sure you carefully read the rules before you join as they will deny your request to join if answers are ignored or answered incorrectly. In most of these cases, there is no incorrect answer. Communities, especially highly vetted ones in our industry want to ensure that there are no bots, spammers, or leeches joining the group.
Answer the screening questions and requests to join. Ignoring these is a surefire way to get your requests denied.
4. You’re in! Now what?
Check your email! The best communities include a newsletter of some sort to keep you up to date on what’s been going on in the community. And oftentimes they’ll include some tips for getting involved, regular events in the group, and even more. Members of the GoWP DAO community get a welcome email that includes a free t-shirt!
5. Don’t be a lurker, say hello!
Okay, you’ve joined, you got the email, you have your resources. Now what? Introduce yourself! Ask a question! Say hello! Let the group know who you are, why you’re here, and what you can contribute.
6. Expand your network
Expand your horizons and your network, talk to people! Communities always have some sort of channel for discussion — whether it’s the home page of the Facebook group or a Slack workspace, use it! It’s not unusual for communities to host live events either. The DAO community hosts a weekly Happiness Hour call for sharing struggles, discussing a designated topic, and celebrating wins. Attend these events and contribute however you’re able!
7. Share your awesome self
Have you built something really great that you want to share and show off? Share it with the group. Need some feedback? Ask for it! Sharing parts of yourself is what weaves the community together, if everyone is just absorbing the benefits without putting anything out there, the community becomes stagnant. The best communities take on a life of their own because of the members that contribute — be a contributing member of your community!
8. Increase your engagement by structuring and styling your posts
Facebook groups allow you to add some style to your text. Don’t be afraid to make something bold or italicized, add an H1 so it stands out in the feed.
If you’re asking a question, consider making it a poll. Always engage the community by asking them to add value to the post in the comments section. Put a header on your post. Quick, direct question? Use the color background options — make yourself be seen!
9. Share something that’s helping you
We live in a time where everyone is constantly consuming content. Have you found a podcast or a practice that has streamlined your productivity in a way that changed everything for you? Share it with the group! Considering ways to pivot your business because you’re no longer interested in a specific niche? That’s also something that might interest people.
You never know what your peers are struggling with. But if it’s something you’re going through, odds are you aren’t alone. Bring the topic to the table and let your community know what helped you break through.
10. Support the community by practicing gratitude
This may be as simple as saying thank you! Give a like, share, or a funny GIF. Giving credit where credit is due is a powerful way to support a community and recognize other’s efforts.
11. Attend events and get the most out of them!
Live events in Facebook communities are there for the attendees to make the most of. Sure the recording will always be available, but the live event is your chance to get your questions answered. To apply the information to your individual use case and ask for clarification. Still have questions afterward or you weren’t able to attend live? Tag the presenter in a comment and ask your questions! They’re always willing to help out a fellow community member!
Being a community member is great – being an active community member is even better. In any community, it’s the comments, feedback, insights, and experience of the other members that make that community valuable. Make sure you’re adding value. Not just by creating your own posts, but by commenting on others’ too.
13. Have fun!
Very simple… Take it easy and have fun. Being a member of a community is a special experience. When you’re an active member of a vibrant community, it starts to have an impact on other areas of your life, too. The benefits are endless and I hope this article helps you get off on the right foot!
Feeling ready to join a community? Check out the Digital Agency Owners group!