Membership sites are a great way to build an audience and create a community of like-minded individuals around a common interest or goal.
Creating a sense of community is essential for any membership site, but it can often be one of the hardest parts of a membership to keep active and engaging for members.
By creating a sense of community, you can encourage members to interact with each other and build relationships that will keep them engaged with your site. This not only helps members feel connected and supported, but it also helps you build a stronger, more loyal audience.
When creating community elements for your membership site, it's important to consider the needs and interests of your members.
For example, if your membership site is focused on health and fitness, you might create a forum for members to share tips and advice, or a social media group where they can connect with other like-minded individuals to share their goals, find encouragement or participate in member challenges. Whatever community elements you create, make sure they are relevant and useful to your members.
Building Community within your Membership Site
Creating a sense of community in your membership site is important for a few reasons.
First, it can help members feel connected to one another and support each other. This can be especially helpful for members who are new to the site or are struggling with their goals.
Second, it can help members feel more engaged with the site and its content. When members feel like they are part of a community, they are more likely to come back to the site and participate in discussions and activities.
Finally, it can help you build a stronger relationship with your members. When members feel like they are part of a community, they are more likely to return and interact.
How to Keep Members Engaged in your Community
There are a few key things you can do to create a sense of community in your membership site.
One of the most important things you can do to keep members engaged and motivated in your membership site is to keep the content fresh and relevant. When members feel like they are constantly learning new and interesting things, they will be more likely to stay engaged because they're experiencing the value your membership. That engagement leads to higher retention rates, which is an added bonus for you.
You should also keep the discussions active and engaging by providing relevant prompts and conversation starters to get people chatting. If the forums are inactive, and if you've promoted "community" as one of the key features of your membership site, your members may not see the value in staying active as a member if all they're hearing is crickets in the discussion groups.
Finally, it's important to show members that you are invested in their success. When you provide support and encouragement, members will be more likely to stick with the site and achieve their goals. If you feel like you don't have the time or bandwidth to personally be active in the community, consider hiring a Community Manager on your team whose sole purpose is to be a friendly, helpful face within your discussion groups.
Fast, Easy Tools to Help You Build Community
Facebook groups are a tried-and-true course and membership component because most people already have a Facebook account, which they use frequently. If you're testing out the idea of adding a community to your membership, using a Facebook group is a great way to "test the waters" and add a community element to your membership site.. If it doesn't work... you didn't have to spend any money on software or spend time setting up a brand new account. You can also leave the group public or closed, depending on your preference.
Another fast, easy way to build community is through forums. If you have a WordPress site, there are a number of plugins that will allow you to easily add a forum to your site. BbPress is a WordPress Plugin that we recommend to our membership site project clients because it integrates nicely with AccessAlly, which is our preferred Membership Site WordPress Plugin. Once again, this is an element that you can easily add or remove from your membership site if you don't see the engagement you want to see within your forum.
Discord is a chat app that is popular with gamers but can also be used for business purposes. If you're looking for a way to add a chat element to your membership site, Discord is a great option. It's easy to use and set up, and you can add as many or as few channels as you want.
Finally, you can also use a tool like Slack to create a chat element for your membership site. Slack is similar to Discord but is more business-focused. Again, it's easy to use and set up, and because it's a popular tool in the online space, your members may already be familiar with this piece of software, which can create a smooth transition for you to begin using it within your membership.
All of these community-building tools are fast, easy to use, and can be easily added to or removed from your membership site. Try out a few different options to see what works best for you and your members.
AccessAlly's new Community Feature
If you're using AccessAlly for your membership site plugin, you may be interested in checking out CommunityAlly.
CommunityAlly is a new AccessAlly feature that has everything you need to connect your members within your existing membership site. You have control over where your members can interact through forums and groups that are customizable inside your offerings right within your existing WordPress Site with AccessAlly.
Conclusion on Community
Creating a sense of community within your membership site doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is one of the best ways to keep members engaged and motivated so they'll remain active members for a long time to come.
Whether you're planning on starting small with a Facebook group or you're interested in using AccessAlly's new CommunityAlly feature to make it easy to connect your members within your existing membership site, I hope you've enjoyed reading our tips on how to create a strong community, as well as fast, easy tools that can help you get started.
If you want help deciding on which community element would work best for your membership site, book a free Discovery Call and we'll go over the options together.