There is a difference between being a part of a community and leading your own community-driven website. We all know what the word “community” means, but an online community is more than just a feel good concept. It is a business model and it’s one that works.
There are several successful online communities with different business models:
- Facebook is an online community that allows people to connect with their friends online and establish you social and business contacts.
- LinkedIn is a similar type community focused more heavily on professionals.
- YouTube is an online video sharing community.
- Flickr is an online photo sharing community.
- Ning is a community of social networks.
- Twitter is a community based on simplicity of delivery and one-to-many communication.
I think you’re starting to get the idea. Even Google has its own community features. Some blogs, many well known and many more not so well known, are themselves little communities of like-minded people.
An online community is just that – a social connection between members of a like-minded group. It can be business related, political, geared toward a hobby or interest or merely social. Any way you look at it, the members all have one common interest.
So how does this relate to you? Well, you could build a successful business around a community of like-minded people within your niche. And you can establish that community as a separate business entity from your everyday business, complete with its own monetization plan and marketing plan. You could, but will you?