We’ve talked before about the benefits of an online community for business, but what about the benefits of joining an online community for your audience?
What’s really in it for them? When you decide to start a formal online community, you will probably have to think about the objections that arise when considering joining an online community.
Then you use the benefits of joining an online community to counter those objections.
The Objections to Joining an Online Community
It’s understandable that people will have objections to joining an online community. But when you find the right community, it is so valuable.
And that’s what your online community will be. A value to your audience. A place that is helpful, welcoming, and fun!
But first, you just have to get prospective members passed some of these objections.
- I don’t have time.
- I’m an introvert.
- I don’t want to sound dumb when I participate.
These each have different variations. I don’t have time is sometimes, “I don’t need the distraction”. I’m an introvert is often, “I don’t need help from a community”. And I don’t want to sound dumb also comes out as “I don’t want to bother anyone”.
If you can explain the benefits of joining an online community well, then you should be able to overcome all of these objections.
6 Benefits of Joining An Online Community
The benefits of joining an online community, a good, helpful, engaged online community are going to always far outweigh any of the objections that people may have about joining.
Engagement is the keyword in that sentence. A successful online community is one that has engagement and that provides value.
If you’ve got both of those things, then don’t be shy about letting your audience know how the community can help the achieve their goals.
#1. It’s way better than calling customer service.
An online community’s first function is to provide customer service for your audience. They don’t have to be your paying audience, they just have to be your audience.
It’s the easiest place for your customer to come to get a fast and reliable answer, if, (big IF) you are engaging with the community consistently.
If you (the leader, the owner, the community manager) are in the community, answering questions and monitoring things, then your audience will feel confident that the response they get is a reliable one.
It doesn’t mean you have to answer every question that is asked, but in a community with good engagement, you’ll have members who can and will be happy to answer some of the common questions that come up.
If you’re doing a great job at making sure your community is getting the customer service they need, then this benefit of a joining an online community will certainly overcome the “I don’t have time” objection.
Because no one likes the alternative of waiting for an email back, or worse, waiting on hold!
#2. A community is a place to be accountable.
Your online community is there to help people achieve some type of improvement in their life. For us at Pocket Business, the community is there to help people build a successful online business.
Your community might be helping people reach their gardening goals. Or Fitness goals. Or Parenting goals.
When you have a group of people working toward their goals together, it becomes a great place to stay accountable. And when you have accountability while working toward your goals, you are much more likely to achieve them.
This is obviously a good thing for your audience! But it’s also a good thing for you.
Successful people in your community will become your best testimonials!
And accountability is going to help with the “I’m introvert” objection. When people see others are succeeding and that it is because they are being accountable, it will often override that introverted streak.
#3. The real learning happens in the community.
Your posts, emails, videos and courses on whatever your topic might be are amazing, I’m sure.
They are jam packed with information to help your audience.
But there’s something about mulling over all of that information with other people that really helps people to process that information.
This can be done informally in the normal course of discussion in the community, or it can be done with formal workshops that are available within the community.
This is often when people say things like, “OH it just clicked for me!” or “That was a lightbulb moment!”. Hearing things in a different way in a different setting does help with processing all that information.
This is what helps to overcome the “I don’t want to sound dumb” objection. Seeing how others are progressing with their learning process and watching those aha moments live are what will make the lurkers who are afraid to participate join in.
#4. Learning something is more fun with a friend.
All of the people in your community are working towards the same goal. That’s very powerful.
It’s a whole group of people who have something big and important in common. We’ve already said how important that is for accountability, but it’s more than accountability.
It’s about having people around that you can share your ups and downs with that really and truly understand what you are going through.
People don’t always have that kind of support in their real lives. Getting from their online community is going to help them stick to their goals through difficult times and it gives them a place to celebrate when things are going well!
#5. Collaborating and Networking
For our members at Pocket Business, the community offers a place to find someone to collaborate with to help grow their business.
But your members don’t have to be growing a business to see how collaborating with other members can help them.
A community of homeschooling moms might collaborate on different lesson plans. Crafters could offer to teach other different techniques.
And this is even more evidence for those introverts and “I can do it myself”ers to join in and participate.
#6. They get to help.
This is a big one. One of the most amazing things to witness in an online community is how people will help each other.
They’ll offer answers and advice and I’ve even seen members do a deep dive into a complicated problem another member is experiencing, just out of the kindness of their hearts.
Helping out other people is a good feeling. It builds self esteem. It is possibly the greatest benefit of all of the benefits on the list.
This one, honestly, it beats all the objections. Who doesn’t have time to help someone else out and at the same time build their own self esteem, walk away feeling good, like they did their small part today for humanity?
Everyone has time for that. No matter how shy you are, the pull to help is stronger. And helping is going to start to kill that worst objection of all, “I don’t want to sound dumb”.