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How to Build a Thriving Social Community Online – Real World Solutions to Enhance User Communication

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The most successful social media and online communities are those that encourage the members to communicate with each other and exchange their ideas. These platforms are designed to allow users to share thoughts, ideas, and knowledge, to ask questions and receive answers, to seek assistance and empathy.

So, what makes these communicative features so effective? Here is a list of some of the most important ones:

Groups:

The ability to group people together on the same topics is one of the most important features of any social network or online community. Grouping people by their interests allows them to easily find others they have things in common with and makes it easier for them to start conversations. This feature makes it easier for users to keep track of friends and acquaintances, and even strangers who share their interests.

Answers:

Online communities are often used as forums where users can ask questions, get answers, or discuss a variety of topics. This helps them identify common problems, learn how others solved theirs, or share information about a particular field. Answers also include suggested answers that help users solve their own problems without having to do it alone.

Feedback:

Online communities give people an opportunity to share opinions on any given topic and receive feedback from other members. Feedback is important because it enhances communication and creates more opportunities to talk.

Starting Up a Social Media or Online Community 

Before you set out on a journey to build a social media app or have already built the initial user base, it’s important to decide on some aspects of social media user trends. Visualize how your social community will look in the future. How many users are you aiming for? What are their interests and topics and how they would like to engage more? Get answers to:

  1. What kind of engagements do you want to see? 
  1. Who should be able to engage with whom? 
  1. Do you want users to only be able to chat publicly or privately as well?
  1. How many people should be allowed in a group chat? 
  1. Should there be a limit? 

Real Time Chat is Integral to Social Community Success

Real time communication is a must to build user engagement on any platform. If you look around, you’ll find that every second app around you offers real time messaging or chat features in some form. Statista says the world had 3.09 billion mobile phone users’ access to these apps in 2021 alone. 

Real Time chat is an instant messaging system that allows your community to respond to each other in real time. It’s particularly useful for communities where people might want to ask questions or get feedback on posts personally. When a new message arrives, it appears on the member’s screen. The member can decide whether to respond or not. 

Native Push Notifications: The Concept, Applications, and Considerations

Messaging as a Feature for Social Media Users

Messaging feature allows users to save their conversations so they can refer back to them later. This is useful for more extended conversations with multiple messages. Users can update their settings as to when and how frequently they want to receive notifications. 

Setting up private messaging as well as group conversations with moderators and administrators is bare minimum to ask for. There are a variety of other real-time communication features that impact hugely how a social community grows and retains users. These include live chat, messaging, message delivery status, typing indicator, user presence and push and in-app notifications, etc. 

Treat Your Community Members like Humans, Not Numbers or Statistics. 

Building a relationship with them and among them is the key to social media success. It directly depends on how you manage it. Do you want to create a place where they can come together and freely share their thoughts, ideas, and knowledge or do you want a user base that connects through your platform but eventually switches to another chat app like WhatsApp, Slack and Facebook Messenger to connect with each other in real time? 

Don’t Lose Your Users to Slack, Discord, Clubhouse and WhatsApp- Integrate Advanced Chat Features Within Your App

Start With Applozic SDK for FREE

Communication is at the heart of every community. It’s what allows users to interact with each other, support each other, and share knowledge and opinions.

A community makes a place for people to come together in order to discuss a topic that’s important to them. It can be any topic: from politics to finance to sports. The common thing between successful communities is that they offer a space for one-to-one as well as group communication.

Using Real-Time Chat to Optimize Marketplace Engagement & Boost Conversions

Most communities are built around topics- but not all discussions happen publicly. Inside these communities you’ll find smaller groups that tend to grow after the users have identified with each other based on the things they love or care about. The key to making sure your community thrives is getting it right from the start—that means offering the best possible experience for your users from day one. Look at some of the features that any social media app or community requires to build an engaged and loyal user base:

  1. Private as well as Group Chat to enable users to address either one person or a whole group.
  2. Push notifications to allow users to know the activities even when they are offline.
  3. Voice and Video messages to improve communication.
  4. Rich Media Sharing for users to exchange docs, photos, etc.  
  5. Access to block users when one doesn’t want to receive messages from another. 
  6. Profanity filters to moderate content in communities.
  7. Message filtering and Spam protection to moderate users
  8. Quick User deactivation in circumstances where the community’s privacy and safety are at stake.
  9. End-to-end encryptions to protect user data from hackers and prevent any malicious activity.
  10. Message search filters to get back to any message instantly. 
  11. Counters to view how many unread messages are there. 
  12.  Message delivery status and typing indicator.

One of the major causes of declining community activity is insufficient attention paid to one-to-one communication. If a social network does not provide its users with a private space for conversation and interaction, they will go elsewhere. It becomes a necessity for social network communities to offer private conversations once it has reached a critical mass. 

Start building your social platform from the very beginning with thought for every member’s needs and wishes. Add direct messaging to your app to strengthen your users’ ties, establish more trust between them as well as make their conversations more comfortable and personal.

Messaging API: The Concept, Protocols, and Applications

Why Do Some Communities Fail? 

There are many cases of social media communities that suddenly fall off. No matter how great your community is, it will eventually fail without the right content and functionality to keep people engaged.

Usually the community managers look at lack of new content and very active users or a bad design as the major factors behind the failure of a social community. If you go by all evaluations done in this regard, the most common reasons why communities fall of are:

  1. No real-time chat – It’s a lot easier to find or create content when you can ask questions or share your opinion in real time.
  1. Not enough content – You need fresh content every day to keep people interested and engaged.
  1. Lack of participation – It’s important to have a fair amount of users participating in discussions and contributing content.

Understanding Real Time APIs- Types & Use Cases

It’s not the content that matters. It’s the people. And if you want to build a strong community, you will have to be ready to listen to them and give them the tools they need to communicate with each other.

The best tool for this is a real-time chat for your website or mobile app. It helps turn social media from an impersonal experience into a truly interactive one where users form close bonds and become a real community of like-minded people who are ready to help each other out.

Offering an opportunity for your users to communicate with each other in real time will not only foster engagement and loyalty, but it will also give them a reason to return more often. This is how giants like Facebook and Reddit have retained their users for years.

Don’t Lose Your Users to Slack, Discord, Clubhouse and WhatsApp, Integrate Advanced Chat Features Within Your App – Start With Applozic SDK for FREE

It’s no secret that the most notable social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, have been using real-time messaging services for years to keep their users coming back. With the growth of mobile devices, those services are taking an even more prominent place in our communication habits.

The ability to chat with friends in real time is a feature that can be found in almost every social network. That’s why it’s so important to offer this feature through your application or website as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will lose customers to competitors who do offer it.

But you can’t just add a bunch of chat rooms and call it a day – there are some things you should keep in mind to make users feel they are getting the best possible experience out of your chat implementation:

  1. Offer public and private rooms: If you have a big community, make sure you offer both public and private rooms where people can talk. The public rooms will tend to be where people go to ask questions and share comments, while private ones will be used by small groups of users who want to interact with each other one on one or in small groups.
  1. Offer Rich & Interactive Media Sharing: Allow your users to share media while chatting/messaging. Give the option to share audio files, documents, still images and voice notes within chat. 
  1. Make sure your Chat is secure: When users sign up on your platform or app, they’re trusting you with their personal information. If you’re building it from scratch, protect members of your community with exceptional privacy and security with End-to-end encryptions and advanced backend security. Chat SDKs like Applozic have exceptional privacy and security features to help you keep users’ data organized, protected, and shielded from unwanted hackers.

There is a huge opportunity for social networking and online communities right now to tap into niche segments worldwide. Applozic has enabled several such startups and large scale businesses with relevant technology to integrate real-time chat into their web and mobile apps. An instance of the same is Apna, the LinkedIn of Blue and Grey Collar Workers that has succeeded in building a 16 million strong community in just 21 Months. Once you detect that people are interacting more with each other on your platform, it is time to invest in real-time communication so they can talk more freely without impacting the overall experience.

Innovate Communication to Build a Million Users Strong Community

Integrate Real Time Chat

Author

Shalini is a content creator (and an aspiring yogi) busy telling product stories and exploring the tech genius behind them. Her love for communication keeps her sane in this ever-disruptive world - hence she writes!