What is an Online Community? (and how to start one)


Did you know Facebook pages are more of an “audience” then a “community”?

Think of a Facebook page for a brand or group. People mostly tend to add random bits of cleverness to the page, like you’d see on the wall of a hip pizza joint. Maybe that’s why Facebook first called it a “wall.” But people don’t truly engage with each other in a meaningful way like they do in a community. They mainly engage with the Facebook page admin.

In recent years, many groups have mistaken Facebook for a true online community focused on their mission or brand. Now they’re having a hard time gauging any real value from the interaction they receive on their Facebook wall. Are all these people actually becoming more loyal to the organization? Or are they just leaving random comments and “likes,” then getting distracted by the ads and going on their way.

A true online community increases the members’ connection with the organization or business. And people interact with each other instead of just with an admin.

Online communities naturally remain focused on their mission or brand, so any advertising within them is moderated and for the benefit of the community. Facebook, in contrast, includes random ads that could even be competitors luring your community members away from you.

Online Institute has helped launch thousands of communities, many that have been thriving for over a decade and are still growing.

With Online Institute’s Forum Hosting service , the community software is installed for you on your own branded address (domain name) and our experienced consultants answer your questions. The options include:

  • A discussion board with various topics
  • Embedding of video and file sharing within posts
  • A calendar intergrated with notification features
  • Private Members-only Chat Room
  • A WordPress Blog for Big Announcements, etc.
  • Private messaging between Members and much more

We make it easy to build your membership. You can even enable Facebook login which gives members the option of joining by using their existing Facebook account.

For a free quote or to have any questions answered for your specific community idea, feel free to Contact Us for our best advice on getting started simply and affordably.

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