As humans, we are hardwired to seek out connections and build relationships with the people around us. There’s an emotional need in all of us to affiliate with and be accepted by members of a group. This need can take form in wanting to belong to a peer group at school, to be accepted by colleagues, to be part of a fan club, or to be an active member of a local church.
So what exactly inspires people to seek out belongingness? In many cases, the desire to join social groups comes from sharing something in common. Men who like the same kinds of vehicles, for example, could go out of their way to make friends with one another. This result is multiplied even more when you take it to a digital environment.
Online communities are becoming increasingly popular because they are more accessible and affordable than traditional types of community building — especially with the rise of people connecting virtually. Digital communities provide connections, relationships, and friendships for the people in them, as well as several professional and personal opportunities. In fact, online communities are so powerful, that it can even bring together people who wouldn’t normally bond in real life.
The many kinds of online communities you find online are thanks to the wide range of interests, professions, and habits of people across the world — each community tailored to the needs of its members. And while there are several different kinds of online communities, you can categorize all of them into 3 types:
Communities of transaction are designed to provide a forum where people can buy, sell, and exchange goods or services, as well as deliver information related to those transactions. They can also be viewed as a type of digital space where producers and consumers interact with no geographical limit.
Members are encouraged to connect with one another to either engage in a specific transaction or ask for the input of other members of the community. Here are some examples of this:
Communities of interest are for specific groups of people who share a common interest, hobby, or passion. They can bring together participants who interact extensively with one another on a certain topic. As a result, communities of interest require a higher degree of interpersonal communication compared to communities of transaction.
Here are some common examples:
Communities of relationship typically rotate around certain life experiences that often are very intense and can lead to the formation of deep personal connections. But there are also other kinds that focus on relationship-building. The primary value of this sort of community is that it allows members to connect and exchange personal stories.
We believe that success will belong to businesses that are able to organize online communities to meet multiple social and commercial needs. By creating a strong online community catered to meet your audience’s needs, businesses will be able to build the type of engagement and loyalty that conventional marketing campaigns can’t achieve.
In Beam.gg, we help community owners achieve optimal engagement levels in their community through gamification. We use features like quests, badges, and experience points to drive member participation and increase retention.
See our features in action by signing up for a free trial!