April 3, 2023
Balancing joy and connection, misinformation and clickbait, interactions and fatigue, social media is a double (or triple) edged sword. While it offers unprecedented connectivity, it has also given rise to a growing sense of fatigue and dissatisfaction. As the allure of scrolling aimlessly through endless posts begins to fade, a new phenomenon is emerging - the rise of online communities.
The quest for deeper connections, meaningful conversations, and a sense of belonging has led many to venture beyond the noise and seek solace in a community. A recent study found that over a third of social media users, fed up with bots, clickbait, and misinformation, are actively seeking more meaningful conversations and they’re migrating to communities to achieve this.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that communities provide the best avenue for people to connect on social media. Membership alone, with the implication that everyone will return, brings a longer-term focus. In a community, people can’t abandon a discussion as easily as a Twitter thread because they’ll return to the exact same conversation the next day.
In the age of the influencer, content creators are uniquely positioned to build communities, as they possess the power to build communities around their content. With a large and engaged audience already established, content creators have a valuable asset—a shared common interest. Their content resonates with individuals who are passionate about their niche, forging a connection based on mutual enthusiasm. Leveraging their influence, content creators can foster an environment that encourages interaction, collaboration, and dialogue among their followers.
By actively engaging with their audience, listening to their feedback, and nurturing a sense of belonging, content creators have the ability to transform their following into a thriving community. Through shared experiences and a genuine sense of connection, these communities form around the creator's content, becoming vibrant spaces where like-minded individuals come together to learn, share, and support one another.
However, community can be a bit of a misnomer. For this article, we’re assuming that your community includes easy methods for your members to interact with each other–the driving force behind collective support. Therefore, we’ve excluded platforms like Patreon and YouTube, where the overwhelming majority of the content is delivered in a unidirectionally, from the creator to members en masse, with limited further communication.
So what’s the best platform for creators? Well, that depends on the creator.
In reality, there is no best platform for all creators. Instead, a creator must actively consider their goals and how platforms align with those goals. Therefore, we’ll give you the tools to uncover your goals and evaluate community platforms.
When it comes to goal-setting, it’s important to be as specific as possible. If you’re part of the 83% of creators that are prioritizing community, that’s a great start! But we’ll still need to drill down deeper.
Asking yourself these questions will help you uncover which platform is truly the best for your community. With an articulate understanding of your own goals, you can then evaluate platforms within that context.
Premium online community platforms typically allow you to charge your members for access to the community. Pricing can play a differentiating role in community platforms. Some platforms, such as Sute, are free for creators to get started and take a platform fee from your future earnings. Other platforms, like MightyNetworks or Circle, charge you upfront to launch your community at a fixed monthly rate each month. Be careful, as these platforms also often include an additional percentage charge, so consult with the platform before jumpstarting your community.
At Sute, we’re building communities committed to entrepreneurship, career development, and personal finance. We’re currently taking applications from the best creators in these fields. If that describes you, make sure you apply now to kickoff your community with us!