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Community Growth

Online Community Types

Different types of online communities can be used for different purposes. How then, do we choose what kind of community to create? Platform and purpose are important determining factors when starting an online community. Also, in order for the community to be successful members must remain at the centre.

  1. Platform is the medium where we host our community. Should we use Facebook pages, Facebook groups or maybe Twitter Chats? Everything that relates to our brand and company on the web acts as a platform. Many businesses use their corporate website or blog as a medium for housing their community.
  2. Purpose is the essence of the community. It is the “big why” behind its creation. Why do we bring those members together? What do we want to accomplish by creating the community? The answer is simple: We need to serve the community in an effective and efficient way. That's when sales leads and income will follow.

The purpose of the community relates to the brand and the products, as in the examples in our previous post. Our purpose is not to sell the products or advertise a company (which may lead to failure).

According to the purpose the community serves, it can belong to the following types:

  • Special interest communities: based on a shared interest that symbolizes a piece of the members’ identities. For example: antique car refinishers, sports journalists, Jane Austen readers, or German Shepherd owners)
  • Trigger communities: These communities form around significant life events or phases: periods in which people come together seeking support and important information. You may find additional info in this website: Goj2.com

Other common factors that relate to the community's purpose and determine its type:

  • Interest: People who share common interests or passions come together to form a community. (special interest communities)
  • Place: People getting together based on geographical areas. (special interest or trigger communities)
  • Practice: Profession or practice methods are a binding factor of these communities. (special interest communities)
  • Ideology: People aspiring to the same humanitarian goal and aim to bring about similar changes. (special interest or trigger communities)
  • Circumstances: People are brought together by circumstances or external forces (trigger communities)

Furthermore there may be additional subcategories within these communities.

  1. Family Groups: Communities where families (including extended families) get together sharing news & events.
  2. Role Playing: Where people dress up and act like characters from comics or mythology. Today, this is a growing trend.
  3. Medical Support Group: People suffering from similar medical problems come together in such communities, especially around major illnesses like cancer.
  4. Ethnic Group: People from particular ethnic groups come together to share their lives.
  5. Travel Communities: Travelers form communities to share tips, reviews and off-beat activities. They may suggest places to visit or to avoid.
  6. Professional Groups: These communities are drawn together by occupation. People following a certain profession come together to share insights, new developments and news. They offer advice, tips and support.
  7. Special Interest Groups: These communities focus along any common interest or similarities in lifestyle.
  8. Creative Sharing Groups: These communities attract creative people. They share their work and guide each other towards greater skills development.
  9. Groups Around Geographical Areas. These groups form a place to speak, listen and interact with other people from the same area.
  10. Collaborative Groups: These communities evolve when a group of people work collaboratively, taking advantage of social medias’ communication capabilities.
  11. Hobby Groups: People are bound by interest in a particular craft or hobby and share tips and experiences.
  12. DIY groups: There is a growing group of DIY enthusiasts. These communities form through a common interest in DIY techniques and projects.
  13. Relationship Groups: Businesses use such communities to build stronger relations with their clients. Individuals seek a relationship and want to come together and interact with others.

Those are some of the types of communities found in the internet. There are many more covering topics and interests that people can share.

What type of community would you like to support on the internet? Why?

Resources and info: cleverism.com

Further reading: What is an Online Community?