How To Build an Online Community with Affiliate Marketing

Online communities, private forums and social groups can be some of the most effective ways to grow an audience and loyal following around your brand. However, they also take a lot of time to manage and without the right focus and commitment, they might actually hurt your brand when done correctly.

One of the most challenging aspects to building a successful community around your site or brand, is actually getting users to join and be active. Even if you are able to get users to join, it’s a whole other mission to get them to post, respond or even engage with the content in your group. Just think about the many different pages and groups you might be connected with on Facebook, and how active you are in each of them.

With all of this in mind, today we are going to look at some helpful tips to help your grow your online community.

Choosing the Right Platform for Your Community

Right off the bat, one of the most important decisions you are going to have to make, is where and how you want to start your community. Two of the most common methods for starting out are Facebook Groups, or a privately hosted forum on your site.

For the most part, Facebook Groups are much easier to set up, manage, and grow. With more than two billion users on the platform, this is simply the easiest way to grow a community for your site while also utilizing a platform where millions of people are already logging in daily. It’s also free to use.

The other method is to set up a forum or bulletin board on your site. This has its advantages, but also has plenty of cons as well — such as additional costs, programming, design work, and management. There are several software solutions and third-party providers for site forums, which provide such advantages of vast customizations that you can have in place, and the ability to a payment option if you want to have paid private members.

For most brands and businesses, it’s probably a good idea to get started with Facebook Groups.

How to Make Sure Your Community or Group is Worth It

The idea of starting a group community around your brand might seem like a no brainer and a clear win, but you also need to look at this from the mindset of your users, as well. For most users, it might just be seen as another thing to clutter up their email or social feed while also taking up their time.

With this in mind, you need to ask yourself why someone would want to join your group, and what they’re going to get out of it.

As we all know, social media is already flooded with content as it is, so make sure you know the value you’re providing and what your audience is going to expect after they join. And it’s not just about giving your audience value, but also a reason for them to come back, correspond, and help contribute to your community.

If you have a paid course or a product or service, a private group is perfect for customer support, updates, and engagement. This is something we are commonly seeing in the internet marketing mentor/teaching space.

Why Most Online Communities Fail

If you were to look at the many different forums, bulletin boards and Facebook Groups online, you would likely find millions of them — but only a small percentage are actually thriving and doing well. This is likely because they never got the right attention or were mismanaged over time.

Most communities and groups fail for any of the following reasons:

  • Poor management and no one to keep the group active
  • There is no reason for users to participate or stay active
  • The group is hard to access or bothersome for users

Before starting your group, make sure you consider each of these mistakes and have a plan in place to avoid them.

Quick Tips on How to Grow Your Community with Online Marketing

When it comes time to grow your group or community, there are plenty of ways to accomplish this. With internet and affiliate marketing in mind, here are some methods you might want to try.

1 – If you have a paid membership site or community, be sure to have an affiliate program in place. This way, you can have other websites or marketers promote your group so they can earn a commission on each new lead. Even better, be sure to open the affiliate or referral program for your existing group members as well.

2 – Whether it’s hosted on your site or through Facebook, it’s important to take advantage of the many different advertising and demographic targeting options Facebook has in place. You likely already have a good idea what audience demographic would benefit most from your group, so start playing around with the idea of running paid ads to bring in new members.

3 – Buying ad space on other relevant and competitor websites and forums is also a great way to gain attention for your forum or group. This works particularly well with forums, as users who are already active on one site forum would likely come over to yours and be active as well.

The Growth and Management of Online Communities and Groups

As mentioned earlier, communities and groups can work wonders for businesses and brands when done correctly, but they definitely take a lot of time, work, and effort.

Make sure you put in all of the necessary time and planning before launching your group, as it’s not something you want to just throw together as a side project and ‘see what happens’.

Best of luck in your community growth ventures!