How Do You Promote Community to Better Your Life and Business?
As a BuddyBoss expert, my team and I have been building community features for customers projects since 2015. Many of these projects, back in the day, were learning sites using private Facebook groups to add a community aspect to the site. Community was secondary, but it provided some key features.
Keep in mind, this was way before the tools for this delivered what we needed. I hadn't picked up my BuddyBoss expert knowledge. BuddyBoss hadn't been invented yet.
We would work with a small business owner that was good at teaching people to invest in real estate, for example. They would take content from their in-person seminars or some other in-person way of teaching and convert it into an online course content.
We would often build these sites using Wordpress. As tools like LearnDash and LifterLMS became available, we put those to use improving how the course experience. We would build and configure courses with lessons. For bigger courses, we might divided the content into sub-lessons. We'd organize the the videos, the copy and downloadable so the course worked well for teaching their content.
As a BuddyBoss expert in the making, we would use what was available at the time for the community features. Typically we would use a private Facebook group. Students would be invited to join the group and that's where they could get they could interact with the instructor and other students. The instructor or their assistants would monitor the groups answering questions. Often times, students farther along in the program would jump in to answer questions. It was a great way to keep students from getting stuck and frustrated. This would lead to fewer of them dropping out. Self doubt can creep in so quickly in solo online learning. Before you know it, you student is thinking, "Maybe I bit off more than I can chew? I think I'll drop out." Adding community tot he site make a big difference providing encouragement and keep people moving along.
We've learned a lot from this time working with on learning projects about how community features can work online. They mimic what people do when they are NOT online. It's what do people in groups or community. They ask someone that knows more then they do for help. We were providing the platform for doing what comes natural to people when they want to learn or work together towards a common goal.
Now that BuddyBoss has matured, and they now have a version that supports building native phone apps, the old Facebook groups have been replaced. BuddyBoss provides more more complete set of features freeing you from the rigid confines of private Facebook groups. The added benefit is you own it. It's not owned by "them."
We are seeing a lot of people supporting and even promoting their real life communities with online community tools. The pandemic made some very real changes in people's acceptance of everything online. It has opened people up to this where before people would think, "Why would I want to do THAT online?" Because of my tech skills, I've seen how people are now open to doing church community online. My own church and several others reached out to me during the pandemic for help. It was out of necessity when people couldn't meet in person.
As time has passed, even the churches are looking at their approach in ways that before would NOT work opening themselves up to new ways of doing this. I personally was surprised to see folks into their 70s and 80s using online tools to stay engaged with their community.
Many of these efforts started with a Facebook group or a something like a Mighty Networks. People used it as a desperate attempt to stay afloat when they couldn't meet in person. As they saw people accept these online methods, they've started looking at the shortcomings of the initial tools they selected. This has led to some pretty creative solution that would NOT have flown pre-pandemic.
For example, we're working with a team to caters to the needs of Reformed singles. You can research Reformed Christians for more information, but these Reformed Christian singles are looking to connect with others like them. Many Christian dating sites don't really cater to their specific needs. Using BuddyBoss, one of our clients has built a platform for getting these singles connected, engaged (pun intended) and married. We've worked with them on organic SEO so they rank well for keyword phrases like "Reformed Singles," "Reformed Christian Dating," etc. The BuddyBoss platform gets these Reformed singles into a community they have been wanting.
We've been working with a real estate broker that provides more support to their realtors than they usually get. They want to giver their realtors tools for growing their businesses. They educate them on how best to sell using proven strategies and tactics that work. They have built a community using BuddyBoss that works for everyone The realtors have tools for making more money. The broker gets more realtors leading to more commissions for them.
I encourage anyone, regardless of what you do, to consider online tools can support and help them promote community in their live and business. What are the things that are holding these efforts back how could approaches like this be used to address those shortcomings. This can be for a professional organization, a church group, student group. If you have disconnected groups that are struggling because there is no unified way to get them talking, collaborating, discussing the subject they share in common, what could mechanisms like this do to change that?