3 Ways to Build an Online Community

So, your new website is coming together. You found the perfect theme, added plugins that gave your site the right features, and started creating content that will keep visitors engaged.

Now it’s time to put that beautiful site to work and build an online community.

Building a community means engaging with your audience. Connect with the people interacting with your site, and you can build a loyal following that will support your brand.

Today, we will explore three ways to use your online presence to build a community, and the Jetpack tools that can help you along the way!

Automate your social media posts

Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, and posting to LinkedIn are all parts of connecting with your community and building audience engagement. A regular social media presence not only keeps you top-of-mind, but invites people to interact with you. This may result in forming genuine relationships down the road.

The downside to establishing a social media presence is that it can take up a lot of time — especially if you have multiple social media accounts. Luckily, there’s an easier way to manage everything.

Jetpack’s Publicize feature allows you to automate the entire process. Whenever you publish a blog post to your site, Jetpack will convert it into a social media post for use on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path. You can also re-share old content and schedule when your social media posts will go live.

Afraid to give up complete control of manual posting? There are features within Publicize that can help to ease your mind, like customizing which social platforms you want to post to. You can also tailor each message and add hashtags without changing a post’s title or meta information.

Scheduling shares for content with Publicize

With the time you save from using Jetpack, reward yourself with a much needed coffee break.

Install social plugins to make sharing content easier

Publicize places your website posts on social media; now it’s time to bring social media back to your website.

There are great social media plugins out there that allow you to show off social content right on your site. If you use Jetpack, you can skip dealing with multiple plugins. Jetpack takes care of several different social platforms with the many widgets it offers.

Jetpack displays your Flickr photos with the Flickr widget, your recent Tweets with the Twitter Timeline widget, and even your Facebook content with the Facebook Page Plugin widget. You’ll also find widgets in there for Google+, Goodreads, and Mailchimp.

The community-building widgets don’t stop there. Let’s dive into a few more while you still have some time left during your coffee break.

Let people know what’s going on

Launching a new product? Hosting a live video announcement is a great way to generate some buzz. Trying to bolster interest for your online service or application? Hold a monthly interactive chat on Slack or Skype. Tell people about the biweekly meetups for your book club at the local library, or after-hours network meetings at the local diner.

There are lot of ways to connect with your online community, but they need to know when and where these events are taking place.

With the Upcoming Events Widget, you can publish event dates and details by connecting Jetpack to your Google calendar. Drop this widget into any widget-enabled space on your site and configure it to connect to the iCal link for your Google Calendar. Jetpack will keep the info in sync to keep your community up-to-date.

Sample list of events

You can create extra hype surrounding an event by using the Milestone widget, which counts down to a set date and time. If you’re hosting a special author event at your bookstore, build excitement around it and attract more members of your community by placing a prominent countdown on your homepage.

Example of the milestone widget

Build a community that counts

Once you build an online community, your network of site visitors and business supporters will begin to grow. It takes time and dedication at first, but by using these four tools, you’ll be on the right track to growing an organic, enthusiastic community.

How did you develop your online community? Share your tips in the comments section!

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