You’ve set up your community platform, readied your resources, and planned your posts. But maybe your members aren’t as engaged as you’d like them to be.
Don’t fret! There are proven ways to boost member participation, and that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.
We’ll show you 5 examples of creator-led, thriving online communities. It will shed light on different types of online communities, their unique features, and their creative engagement strategies.
By the end of this article, you’ll have an array of new ideas on how to build an online community that encourages participation and meets your members’ needs.
What is an online community?
An online community is a virtual space where individuals with shared interests or goals connect, interact, and build relationships over the internet.
It serves as a digital platform for members to share…
… while fostering a sense of belonging and collaboration without the limitations of physical proximity.
Naturally Sassy is an example of a membership site with an awesome online community. Members enjoy online workouts, get access to healthy recipes, and – best of all – log in to the Naturally Sassy community and interact with other fitness and health enthusiasts in the group.
Benefits of online communities
Cultivating a successful online community is one of the best ways to secure your access to your audience away from any third-party platforms and algorithms. (Those things can be pretty unpredictable).
Here are some of the primary advantages of focusing on building your online community:
- Viewer engagement. At Uscreen, we’ve found members who engage within their respective online communities watch more content and stay active longer. Communities can also help to onboard and engage people who are new to your content.
- Valuable feedback. An online community offers direct access to member opinions and preferences, allowing you to tailor future video content to your members’ needs.
- Brand loyalty. Engaged community members are more likely to support the things that you create. From a paid video membership to physical products and merchandise, there’s nothing quite like customer loyalty.
- Content co-creation opportunities. Members make the best content suggestions and are sometimes even willing to product user generated content for you. This helps you build a richer content library that resonates strongly with your members.
- Culture of support. An online community fosters strong connections and a supportive culture where members build meaningful relationships, share knowledge, and ask and answer questions.
- Brand advocacy. Satisfied members often become your best advocates, spreading the word about your content and products through their networks, which can significantly boost organic growth and credibility.
5 online community examples and their engagement strategies
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of growing your online community, let’s take a look at 5 examples from different membership communities. Each example will give you new ideas to boost member participation.
1. Bikini Body Mommy
Bikini Body Mommy is Briana Christine’s health and fitness community designed specifically for moms.
As a mother, Briana knows what it’s like to gain and lose weight throughout the various phases of motherhood. Her membership community focuses on helping women navigate fitness, weight fluctuations, and hormone changes, and offers support for moms in this challenging phase of life.
Bikini Body Mommy’s features
With thousands of online communities for fitness, what attracts moms to Bikini Body Mommy? Here are 3 distinct features that make this online community stand out:
- Real-life inspiration. As a mom on the postpartum fitness roller coaster, I know how discouraging it can be to open Instagram and only see perfectly toned fitness models. Briana Christine is different. She doesn’t only share pictures and stories of when she’s in peak physical condition. She shares all her ups and downs over the years. That’s relatable and comforting, and shows achieving fitness is possible – no matter where you are in the journey.
- Diverse and inclusive fitness approach. This community stands out for its inclusive fitness philosophy, welcoming women of all shapes, sizes, and fitness levels. This creates a supportive environment where every member feels welcome, valued, and motivated to participate.
- Comprehensive resource library. Offering an extensive collection of over 1,800 workouts, meal plans, recipes, and coaching guides, Bikini Body Mommy provides a one-stop solution for fitness and wellness needs.
Bikini Body Mommy’s community engagement strategies
Creating a safe place online for mothers to share personal fitness details and encourage each other can be challenging. Here are 3 things Bikini Body Mommy offers to boost engagement levels:
- Structured fitness and nutrition programs. This support community presents detailed workout routines and nutrition plans, including meal plans, shopping lists, and diet-friendly recipes. Members know exactly what steps they need to take to make progress and can discuss where they are in the journey.
- Live interactive coaching sessions. Members can participate in regular live coaching events with Briana Christine and other community members. These sessions offer real-time support and a chance to get personalized advice from the coach.
- Shared experiences and success stories. The support community highlights real-life stories and testimonials from its members. This creates a space for members to share their experiences and get inspiration and ideas from others.
Takeaway: Briana Christine’s success shows the power of authenticity. By not sugar-coating her own fitness journey, Briana builds trust in her community.
MazArt Studio Academy is a membership community where oil and acrylic painters come together to learn new painting skills and connect in real time with fellow artists.
Marion Dutton (Maz) is the head of the membership site and brings 15 years of professional painting experience to the community.
MazArt Studio Academy’s features
MazArt isn’t an art community – it’s a painting community. Here are 3 reasons painters join this particular membership site:
- Masterclass. Sometimes the success of a community is centered around a master of a craft. In this case, when members sign up, they know they’re getting expert instruction from Marion Dutton herself.
- Focused subjects. Several successful online communities offer diverse types of art instruction, but MazArt homes in. It focuses on helping painters who want to learn how to paint birds, flowers, landscapes, animals, portraits, and classic still lifes.
- Painting style. You won’t find abstract art, Surrealism, or Cubism covered in Marion’s membership site. She creates a niche community by attracting painters looking to improve their realistic painting skills.
MazArt Studio Academy’s engagement strategies
Here are some ways MazArt encourages painters to spend more time on her membership site:
- Live Wednesday workshops. There’s a reason why live painting workshops are popping up all over – it’s fun to paint with friends. The same sentiment rings true whether you’re visiting a studio IRL or participating in a live online class. MazArt encourages community participation by making it a group event every Wednesday.
- Exclusive off-Facebook community. MazArt Studio Academy offers access to an exclusive community, the MazArtisans, away from the distractions of social media platforms. This private space is full of focused discussions and helpful advice.
- Courses. Not everyone can attend live Wednesday workshops. Not to worry. MazArt offers community members full access to pre-recorded courses. That way, members can participate in the membership site when it’s most convenient for them.
Takeaway: If your community is run by influencers, creators, or any other prominent and skilled professional, lean into the masterclass idea. People will come for the master and stay for the community.
Chemmunity is an online learning community for college students studying Organic Chemistry. The site provides step-by-step video lessons, practice problems, and exams that cater to students at varying levels of understanding.
The purpose? To make Organic Chemistry topics more digestible and give members plenty of practice to help them fully grasp the content.
Here’s what sets Chemmunity apart as the go-to online community for college students learning a tough subject:
- Focused content. Chemmunity specializes exclusively in Organic Chemistry with step-by-step video lessons and practice problems tailored to this subject. This focused approach provides students with a dedicated and robust resource for mastering complex concepts.
- Complementary practice material. The best way to learn anything is to practice. Chemmunity provides an extensive collection of practice problems and finals, complete with step-by-step video answers. This reinforces learning and helps students prepare thoroughly for their exams.
- Exclusive off-YouTube content. Anyone can access introductory Organic Chemistry lessons on Melissa Maribel’s YouTube channel. But this community is for students who want to delve deeper and study more.
Chemmunity’s engagement strategies
While people signing up for an Organic Chemistry community are probably highly motivated to work through Chemmunity’s content, that doesn’t mean the company lets community strategy fall by the wayside. Here’s what they do to keep future scientists coming back for more:
- Interactive video lessons. Chemmunity lets students ask questions during the lesson. This interactive approach helps keep members involved in the learning process.
- Content updates and expansion. By continuously adding new videos, Chemmunity keeps its content fresh and gives students new material to work through.
- Private homework help group for premium members. Organic Chemistry is one of the most difficult college courses. A private homework help group allows members to post detailed questions and get personalized support.
Takeaway: To maintain member engagement and relevance, update content regularly. This is especially true for content-focused communities that focus on complex or evolving subjects.
Physique57 is a barre fitness membership site that promises its members visible results in as little as 8 workouts. To hook members, this community offers a complimentary 2-week program members can try at home.
The workouts can be streamed on various devices, offering a convenient way to stay fit and motivated with expert guidance, community support, and a range of challenging yet fun barre exercises.
Here are 3 of Physique57’s community features that make it hard for barre-enthusiasts to resist:
- Award-winning barre workouts. When you sign up for a Physique57 membership, you’re getting an elite experience. This membership site is recognized as the “Best Overall Barre Workout” by Good Housekeeping and Shape Magazine.
- Accessible and time-efficient. Not everyone has an hour to spare to go to a gym or the flexibility to work around when a barre class is offered. This membership community offers 10-minute barre sessions you can do from anywhere.
- Beginner-friendly series. Barre is a challenging workout to learn, but it’s not impossible with the right instruction. The Absolute Beginner Series leads novices through workouts by focusing on building foundational skills.
Physique57’s community engagement strategies
It’s exciting to start a new fitness program – especially when January 1st rolls around. Here’s how Physique57 attracts its community members and keeps them exercising throughout the year:
- 14-day free trial program. A complimentary 2-week program lets new members experience workouts without commitment, so they can see the results for themselves.
- Flexible streaming options. Physique57 allows its members to stream workouts on various devices – whether at home, on the go, or online. As such, members can participate in the community whenever and wherever it’s most convenient for them.
- Diverse subscription options. Members of online communities often have different financial needs and preferences. Physique57 caters to all its members by offering monthly and annual subscription plans. This way, members can choose the option that best fits their lifestyle and motivates them most to participate.
Takeaway: Make your community as convenient as possible for your members. Offer different subscription choices, provide free content, create an app, and allow members to stream your content anywhere.
Abundance+ is a membership community – and a thriving community at that – designed for homesteaders. It provides permaculture, gardening, and livestock instruction, and comes with guides and masterclasses from experts like Joel Salatin and the community’s founder, Justin Rhodes.
The Abundance Plus community caters to all levels of homesteading enthusiasts, from beginners to experienced practitioners, making it a valuable resource for anyone interested in a self-sustainable lifestyle.
Abundance Plus’s features
What entices homesteaders to join this community? Here are 3 of its best features:
- Inspirational docuseries. The site features original shows like “Elevated” and “Rooted”, which educate and inspire members through real-life homesteading stories and transformations.
- Support community. Members become part of a private community where they can connect with other homesteaders, share stories, and get answers to questions.
- Discounts from homesteading companies. Abundance Plus members also enjoy exclusive discounts from homestead-related companies, supporting members in their homesteading ventures with cost-effective complementary solutions.
Abundance Plus’s engagement strategies
The site’s community managers keep homesteaders involved through:
- Live content. Abundance Plus hosts monthly live webinars where members interact with homesteading experts. They also host regular Q&A sessions to bring homesteaders together.
- Texting with homesteading “Aunts and Uncles.” Premium monthly subscribers have a direct line to the community’s homesteading experts. Abundance Plus calls these experts the members’ Aunt and Uncles, creating a family feel.
- Community-driven learning and support. The site fosters a strong sense of camaraderie you’d get with local communities through its private forum. Here, members share experiences, seek advice, and weigh in on pressing questions.
Takeaway: To boost member engagement, offer a direct line to your experts. This proven community engagement strategy could mean anything from live Q&As and text messaging to public forums and chats.
Build your online community with Uscreen
You don’t have to overhaul your membership site to boost member engagement rates. You just have to tear a page out of the winning online community playbook and create more opportunities for your members to engage with each other.
Accomplish this by doing what the 5 online communities above have done: start using Uscreen’s community building tools.
Start your free trial today and see why over 25,000 creators build their successful online communities with Uscreen.
Online Community Examples FAQ
Define your target audience, establish clear objectives, and choose the right membership platform to host your community. Then, create guidelines and structures for your brand community that encourage positive interaction, and actively engage with early members.
Consistently produce relevant and high-quality content for your brand community, initiate discussions, and encourage member-generated content to create a successful online community. Recognizing active members, providing incentives for participation, and facilitating events or challenges also drives engagement.
Measure KPIs like the number of active members, engagement rates, content shared, community growth over time, and member satisfaction levels. Surveys and feedback from your brand community also provide qualitative insights into how well the community meets its members’ needs and expectations.
Online communities come in various forms, each serving distinct purposes. Fan communities unite enthusiasts of specific interests, such as movies, music, or sports. Learning communities are dedicated to educational pursuits.
Social communities focus on building personal connections, while virtual communities encompass a broader range of interactions in online spaces. Networking communities are tailored for professional connections and career advancement, whereas insight communities are designed for collaborative problem-solving and innovation in specific fields or topics.