3 tips for online communities that work

By Luke D’Emanuele

Being at home with family for an indefinite period will come with its challenges. All dads and mums need their time.

Before lockdown, my ‘getaways’ were at the library and gym. Now, doing my part and following government instruction to isolate, one needs to strategise their lifestyle to adjust.

We all now need to have health, work, family and play all under the one roof.

Of those, health may be the biggest challenge. Have you considered how to keep motivated?

During the brief time in isolation, I have been witnessing a lot of fitness brands scramble to pivot to delivering livestream options.

However, the reality is that if your business has not built the habit of online communication, then your community may not be connected to your brand. You might not even have cultivated a community at all.

There is a warm-up stage, a lather, that needs to be incorporated in your online community to make sure it works when you clients log on, first time, every time. The sad truth is, people have less patience online than in person.

There are several factors to building a successful online community. Here are my top three.

Invest time

Time is a massive ingredient in building an online group that shares, likes and uses discussions to explore all their goals. And there’s no short cut to it.

The reward of the community is being part of it. Businesses who have invested in online media to communicate, educate and motivate will deliver the best results during isolation.

More than ever, we are about to witness the power of the internet.


The administrators need to contribute to the group. Simple as that.

You need to respond, listen and challenge. This is not a set-and-forget strategy. You need to investigate and evaluate to continually grow and transform your community.

The more time you spend contributing, the more you can identify what works and what doesn’t.

Consider yourself to be the mayor of the community. What are your people saying? Are you listening? What suggestions, games, tools and challenges can the administrator perform to bring the community together?

Just like how in real life you might say ‘hi’ to someone in the gym or offer some advice, you need to do the same thing online. Make your people feel welcomed and make them feel like they are part of the community.

Be creative

Think outside the box when challenges arise. Take the example of a fitness community struggling to think of ways to work out without a gym.

The workout at home needs to be different from the exercise at the gym. Can you replace a dumbbell with a bag of rice? The children are going to be home; can you incorporate a workout where the parents and kids all join in together?

What equipment is needed to complete the workout? The less, the better because not everyone will have the same stuff.

Could the tools and strategies you are implementing now be used once isolation is over?

Like I said, get creative!

Luke D’Emanuele is Hook Media’s content development officer.


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