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How to Use UGC To Build A Strong Online Community

Engaged online communities start with passionate people. Make it easy for them to share their passion with user-generated content. Here's how.

August 30, 2021

In the 21st century, it’s all about engaging with brands on a personal level. And the best way to do that is by building an online community.

But how do you build a good one?

There are a bunch of ways to do it, but they all come back to one important element: having engaged people.

First off, you just need people. There is no community without people. It’d be like a creepy empty conference room in a hotel off the freeway. 

But it doesn’t stop there. You need to have engaged people in your community for it to thrive. 

That empty conference room wouldn’t feel much different if all the chairs were filled with sleeping customers. 

In order to get that sweet, sweet network effect all online communities crave, your members have to drive the conversation with posts, shares, and comments. And that’s all driven by passionate people.

Here are some tips for building an online community that welcomes passion and improves your bottom line in the process.

Create a community mechanism

The first step is creating something that allows people to interact. Whether that’s a message board or just making it easy to like posts, people want to engage with your brand.

But humans are visual, so a community mechanism that leans into the visual communication we all crave will elevate your engagement.

Why not include a way for people to record videos commenting on your new products or an AMA section where customers can ask your team questions?

There’s a give and take between you and your audience with engagement. Opening up your brand to fans not just encourages engagement but it also encourages loyalty.

Have continuous engagement

Continuous?! That sounds like a lot!

It actually isn’t if you plan it right. Get that flywheel spinning by “gamifying” your engagement.

Give people digital badge awards if they post or comment X number of times. Or you could send them some actual, tangible swag.

People need more than one reason to interact within your community. We’re all busy, and the “what’s in it for me?” thought tends to be someone’s default mode.

It’s not that much time or money on your end to give a little gift (digital or tangible), but it really amps up interaction within your community.

BuzzFeed does this well with their Community Board
. People straight up write free content for the site because they’re so passionate. And the most passionate members are rewarded by a shout-out in the “Top Users This Week” and “Top Posts” sections. 

Like we mentioned, humans love visuals, but they also love competition. Throw in a leaderboard in your community and watch your engagement soar.­­

Ask your community for feedback

Your community can extend to your e-commerce site, as well. Try building in product sections where buyers can upload videos of them reviewing the product. 

Amazon does this with their reviews. A video demonstrates a product’s features better than only words can. Would you rather read about a charcoal grill or watch something grilled on it? 

Having review transparency shows your audience that you respect and value their feedback, too. It says to them that you want to listen and are open to improve your products. 

The deeper dive of reviews are testimonials. These are the personal stories people tell about how your product or brand affected their lives. And stories resonate with us in a profound way.

If you’re keeping track about what humans like (aside from food and shelter, of course), here’s the recap so far:

  1. Humans like visuals.
  2. Humans like competition.
  3. Humans like stories. 


And we’re about to add #4 in the next section...

Host an event

Ready for #4?

4. Humans like interacting with other humans.

Duh, right? That’s what an online community is about.

But hosting an event takes your engagement to a whole new level.

Whether it’s live or online, an event builds your brand and opens it up to your most passionate fanbase: 

  • They buy tickets for the event, then post about how excited they are about going
  • At the event, they post about how great it is
  • After the event, they post about how happy they are that they went

That’s a before, during, and after waterfall of engagement! And mixed into all of it are people interacting with other attendees (back to the whole “humans liking humans” thing).

Plus, your attendees can help hype up the event for you with their video posts. More brand exposure, more engagement, more sales.

Conclusion

Having an online community isn’t enough. You need to have an engaged online community.

Create a space where you invite your community to share content with you and each other. That not only encourages interaction but also lightens the content production load for you and your team. 

It all goes back to that give and take of engagement. Brands are no longer one-sided. You’re co-creating content with your community, and that’s a good thing. 

As an extra perk, this user-generated video content performs better in marketing than traditional videos. The authentic passion of fans in the videos leads to 4x the click-through-rate at half the cost.

Capsule can help you set up an online community with just a couple clicks.

Try it free for 14 days and watch your loyalty (and sales) grow.