Community Building: How To Win Fans and Influence Users # Webinomychat

Building a loyal community is an essential competitive advantage for any website or business, and it’s no different on the web. With all of the noise online, those who can successfully build up a following and keep their brand visible to users are among the most influential.

Building an engaged community is one of the most important skills in marketing today. The “how to build an engaged community” article discusses the importance of building a strong, loyal following.

When a company first starts out, its primary goal is to recruit customers, sell goods, earn a profit, and expand quickly enough to become a viable corporation. What they typically neglect in the process is the importance of fostering their consumers’ long-term involvement and good attitude.

We discussed how to prioritize people before profits at last week’s #SEMrushchat, and how to develop a community that buys a company’s goods, supports its brand, provides constructive criticism, and helps it earn money in the process. Jen Cole, Community Manager at Social Media Examiner, was our guest, and she provided her knowledge on how to establish a community while growing a company. Jen and our other conversation participants had the following to say:

Q1. Describe community building in your own words and explain why it is necessary in today’s world.

Inbound and outbound marketing methods like as advertising, promotion, branding, engaging audiences through many media, and providing customer service are all part of marketing. Your main emphasis, on the other hand, is on gaining more consumers and, eventually, selling your goods or service.

Instead, community development aims to address your audience’s hidden social and “interest” demands as a whole (which includes customers, employees, and the community at large). The goal is to encourage regular bidirectional contact so that you can:

  • Remove any impediments to communication.

  • Determine the requirements and desires of your customers.

  • Increase your consumer base with word-of-mouth.

  • Increase the number of people who use the product and how satisfied they are with it.

  • Use constructive comments to help improve the product.

  • Boost client retention.

  • Recognize and reward brand evangelists.

  • Reduce suspicion about brand message.

  • Prevent public relations issues and reduce the effect of unfavorable emotion.


Jen likens a digital tribe to a tribe. It has a similar dynamic to the “now here, right now” mentality that has been popular on the internet in recent years. Consumers only purchase from brands they are familiar with, like, and trust.


A1. The act of forming a devoted tribe around a brand is known as digital community development. This is critical in today’s world since we live in a “I want it now” culture, and consumers prefer to purchase from companies they recognize, like, and trust. #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Building a community entails engaging consumers across several online and physical platforms and establishing reputation in each.

A1 in my opinion. A continuous, personal touch is required in the art of community building. Whether it’s via online social media or participating in/organizing local events in your region. It will pay off for you, your customers, and your community if you have the patience and enthusiasm. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — SEO Consultant (@JLFaverio)

Building a community is about bringing people together behind a brand and harnessing that synergy to drive development.

A1. IMO Community building is the way for brands to bring engagement at a personal level. People buy from people, I know it’s a cliche, but successful communities help drive, keep & grow revenue while providing a superb brand experience #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Blas Giffuni (@BGiffuni)

A1: Community development entails getting individuals together on a regular basis to participate in activities that have a similar interest and channeling that connection via a platform. A community may be THE most important engine of a company’s success if done correctly. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Kevin Indig (@Kevin Indig)

It’s all about having spontaneous discussions when it comes to community development.

A1: Community development entails conversing *with* people rather than *at* them. There might be a lot of yelling in today’s environment. But those who speak the loudest aren’t necessarily the ones who get heard… #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — TMC (@wearetmc)

Community development is creating common interests that are important to your company and nurturing an audience online.

A1. Community building is the process of cultivating an online audience of people who have similar interests. You’ll have a better sense of what material to generate for them if you construct this community online. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Matt Shanley (@MattShanley)

A1. Digital community development entails developing and interacting with an online network of consumers, advocates, and fans. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Reva Minkoff (@revaminkoff)

A1. I see community from an anthropological perspective: a group of people who have common interests and ideas. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Jonathan Wilson (@jonathanbwilson)

It’s all about forming and maintaining ties in a community.

A1: Knowing who your audience is and making it a point to form a connection with them is the key to building a community.

It’s critical to build trust with your community in business. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Express Writers (@ExpWriters)

A1 Community Building is the process of forming bonds with others that enable you to exchange ideas and a feeling of belonging, as well as creating a third online space where people feel at ease visiting and spending time. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018

In the brand-customer relationship, community development is about creating trust and honesty.

A1: Knowing who your audience is and making it a point to form a connection with them is the key to building a community.

It’s critical to build trust with your community in business. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Express Writers (@ExpWriters)

A1: It’s ensuring that someone is there for us through our worst hours, without pointing fingers or passing judgment.

But it’s also a meeting of devoted individuals who will give us the truth because they care about us.

A brand’s community may make or kill it. #SEMRushChat

September 26, 2018 — Narmadhaa (@s narmadhaa)


Q2. What are the top three ways a company may guarantee that its community is engaged and loyal?

Acceptance is the foundation upon which communities, both online and offline, are established and strengthened. When a company connects individuals with the goal of building a close-knit community, they must make every effort to show their human side and emphasize it above corporate communication in their social media routine.

For this:

  1. Persuade your audience to accept you. Assist them in identifying with your brand as well as other members of your community. Recognize their viewpoint and demonstrate how they may connect to your business.

  2. Solve their issues incessantly (and swiftly). Nothing compares to being able to achieve that with your product or service!

  3. Give them a reason to return to your community platform and connect with it. Any content you generate should provide value to your audience by educating or entertaining them.


Jen’s top three recommendations for creating a hyper-active, fervently committed group are as follows:

  1. Make sure your brand’s tone is straightforward, straightforward, and friendly.

  2. Make good use of hashtags.

  3. Prioritize audience engagement above follower acquisition to get the most out of every encounter.

A2. 1. Develop an approachable brand voice (eliminate the jargon, ya’ll!) 2. Develop a hashtag strategy (and monitor it regularly… like twice a day) 3. Prioritize engagement rates over number of followers,& interact w/ everyone as much as possible (& follow back!) #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Keep in touch with your audience on a frequent basis. Make contact with them on all of the platforms that they use. Respond to all of their questions and remarks.

A2 #semrushchat [1] Consistent branding; social media, local events, etc. [2] Respond to all (relevant) comments, messages, and emails Be a human being.

September 26, 2018 — SEO Consultant (@JLFaverio)

A2: Brands can keep their communities engaged by engaging with them on a regular basis, listening to what they have to say, and implementing adjustments in response to requests from the community. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — iPages CMS (@iPagesCMS)

Take use of social media’s community-building elements. Create and maintain Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Chats, and other social media communities. Make use of the right content formats.

A2: 1) Create social media communities (e.g., Facebook and LinkedIn groups), listen and comment on social media, and host a Twitter chat. #semrushchat

— Stoneham Press’s Tim Lewis (@StonehamPress) on September 26, 2018

A2. 1. By creating Twitter chats, a #Slack channel, or LinkedIn group. 2. By using video that not only connects w/ the community but tells a story that people can relate to. 3. By being human, helpful, & holistic with your audience. #SEMRushchat

September 26, 2018 — AL Spaulding (@ALSpaulding)

Recognize the people that make up your neighborhood. Invest time and effort in the community’s survival.

A2: Identify their target audience and how they like to communicate, devote a significant amount of time and money to getting the community up and running, and choose someone to be in charge of the community. It’s either do it well or don’t do it at all. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Kevin Indig (@Kevin Indig)


– Know who you’re speaking with – Establish a secure and welcoming environment – Ask questions and listen to responses #SEMRushChat

September 26, 2018 — Brianna Anderson (@brie e anderson)

Give your viewers something of worth. Make them feel appreciated for being a member of the community.

A2 – 1. Get involved. That kind of community is a give-and-take dynamic, and you can’t expect to be all take. 2. Add value – utilize it to disseminate information and make it desirable to participate. 3. Bring it up in conversation. Setting up and maintaining active communities takes a lot of time and effort. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Adam Reaney (@100percentapr)

Be proactive and unselfish in assisting community members in making the greatest choices for them. Demonstrate the capabilities of your items rather than attempting to sell them. Sales will naturally follow.

A2: 1) Have a product/service that meets a need and understand who the target market is.

2) Position yourself in front of that audience, where they “hang out” and, more importantly, make choices.

3) Make yourself available. Be honest. Engage and communicate with your (possible) consumers. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM)

Show genuine concern for your viewers. Make it unique. Make every effort to make them happy and assist them in achieving their goals.

A2. What I’ve learn so far 1. Know your audience 2. Understand the value that YOU & your brand brings to your audience 3. Educate on that value, always! 4. Be personal, always care about your audience 5. Have fun, be respectful and learn, it’s a community after all #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Blas Giffuni (@BGiffuni)

A2 Make it easier for individuals to say yes to you by being responsive. Accept individuals for who they are and be inclusive. Make people delighted to be a member of your community by being positive. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018


Q3. How can a company gain community trust while still standing out?

Building trust is a process that takes time. To create trust with your audience, you must be completely transparent, as well as diligent in generating meaningful, relevant material.

There are various variables that contribute to internet trust:

  • Search visibility: In order to give the greatest experience to searchers, Google identifies and prioritizes brand signals. The more terms your community members discover you for, the more likely they are to remember your brand outside of the platform.

  • Encourage consumers to provide reviews and give ratings on how beneficial your items are. Potential consumers evaluate current evaluations and ratings before making a purchasing choice, according to research after study.

  • Authenticity: Showcase your knowledge and thought leadership by having your writing published on industry-leading websites. Furthermore, the more social media shares this material receives, the more trustworthy it seems to your viewers.


According to Jen, brands who can use live interactions with their audience to leverage transparency and consumer education will stand out. She is a firm believer in companies publicly displaying empathy for their consumers on social media.

A3. Be upfront with them when they ask questions, use live-broadcasting platforms to conduct real-time interactions with them, and frequently feed them nuggets of free educational material. Make use of your empathy! #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Create content that solves a problem for your consumers and adds value to your audience.

A3: By consistently creating content FOR the audience and not for themselves. And, taking the time to engage with their audience by recognizing their comments and answering their questions. Content creation & engagement is the yin & yang of brand building. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Maria Marchewka (@ MariaMarchewka)

To grow your consumer base, you must maintain consistency in product quality, brand voice, and marketing communication.

A3: You must be consistent and provide high-quality service. This applies to everything from your product to your marketing. It needs to be a single voice; it’s pointless to scream from the rafters that your products are the greatest if they aren’t. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Kieran Ledger (@KJLedger)

#semrushchat A3

It takes time and a lot of consistency to build trust.

However, dominating your local market before expanding into other areas is a rapid and equally lucrative technique.

September 26, 2018 — SEO Consultant (@JLFaverio)

Transparency, honesty, and integrity are essential for conveying your brand’s human face.

A3: Consistency over time builds trust. You must put forth the effort: continual participation and moderation are required. However, it is beneficial to reveal the human side of a business and to be “genuine.” #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Kevin Indig (@Kevin Indig)

A3) Integrity, trustworthiness, credibility, value (not simply price), responsiveness, and humour (where appropriate)… #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — David Rosam (@davidrosam)

A3. Honesty. Integrity. Integrity. You can’t go wrong if you do what you say you’ll do. That, and providing excellent, dependable customer service. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Adam Reaney (@100percentapr)

A3: Be open and honest with yourself. If you want to create trust with your community, don’t keep anything hidden from them. #semrushchat

— September 26, 2018 — Netvantage Marketing (@netvantage)

Always go above and above for your customers. But, every now and again, try something unexpected.


1. Make sure you have the correct expectations. 2. Make sure you live up to their expectations.

*Old School Rule => Expectations Set = Expectations Met

*(But it’s easier said than done!) #SEMrushchat #semrushchat #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Avtar (@Avtar Madan)

Customer service that is dependable is critical to keeping your customers coming back and your community happy about your business.

A3 Brands should follow through on their commitments (or better, promise only what they know will work out OK). Customers/clients will feel safe and return. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Dorothée Lefering (@DoroLef)

A3. Just remember not to attempt to outwit your viewers. Social media comments are shown. Make your content a discussion board. If I observe a brand’s history of quickly addressing difficulties or reacting to complaints, I’m more willing to connect with them. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Matt Shanley (@MattShanley)

You must acquire and display excellent leadership abilities if you want your community to prosper.

A3 As a leader, you may lead a community that trusts, depends on, and respects you if you are accountable, dependable, and courteous. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018

A3: Continually build individuals up in your community. People will remember how you made them feel rather than what you did. #semrushchat

— Stoneham Press’s Tim Lewis (@StonehamPress) on September 26, 2018


The expectation of value is the single most essential reason why individuals in your specialty want to join your community. By sharing information with them, you may provide them exclusivity and added value. In exchange, you have a better chance of receiving insightful input that you can utilize to drive product innovation – all you have to do is be on the lookout for these insights and eager to act on them.

Building your community is just as vital as growing your business, and you should approach it similarly. The main difference is that instead of looking for “customers,” you should seek for “people” who are interested in topics related to your business. Always remember why you started the community in the first place.


Jen makes it obvious that “being human” is at the heart of your attempts to develop an online community. When you exhibit empathy and compassion for your audience’s viewpoints and communicate with them on a regular basis, they will automatically relate to your branded content.

A4. The most essential things to concentrate on are content relevancy, patience and empathy for your audience, and ensuring that you communicate with them on a daily basis. Keep things human by sharing your experience with them. #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Remember that your community is made up of individuals.

A4: Allow individuals to connect with one another and with you. Concentrate on them as much as you can during #semrushchat

— Stoneham Press’s Tim Lewis (@StonehamPress) on September 26, 2018

Listening to your community members is the most important step you can take before engaging, guiding, or solving problems for them.

The importance of engagement is crucial. Two-way communication, problem-solving, and value addition are all part of it.

A4: Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! Participate! If you don’t speak to and listen to your audience, you won’t be able to develop a community. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Express Writers (@ExpWriters)

A4: Building an online community isn’t like the “Field of Dreams” in that you can’t take the “If you build it, they will come” mentality, per se. You need to be present & continually provide value to your target audience. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Maria Marchewka (@ MariaMarchewka)

True involvement is continually stating your company’s mission and using comments to enhance your product and communication channels.

A4. I also like incorporating user suggestions and input into the site/app/product, etc. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Reva Minkoff (@revaminkoff)

Provide a feeling of belonging to community members by making them feel at ease. Assist them in forming connections with one another and with your business.

A4 should be relatable. People want to feel that they don’t have to compete or compare themselves to others, but rather that they can connect to them. #SEMrushchat

(@Clarissa xplain) — Clarissa 26th of September, 2018

A4 Make people feel comfortable asking questions and having conversations; provide an atmosphere for growth & development, let them feel that they belong, and you are building a community. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018

Consider the nature of the platform on which you’re forming a community, and tailor your approach and culture appropriately.

A4: Early on, establish a culture (rules, communication style, and conduct) as well as habits (frequent activities such as AMAs). In some manner, every society need direction. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Kevin Indig (@Kevin Indig)


Negative feedback is an inescapable element of the brand engagement process. You may gain vital information from every unpleasant contact if you use the correct approach, turn it into a chance to build your brand and community status, and perhaps earn a client for life. Here are a few pointers:

  • Consider the customer’s complaint to be a source of worry. After then, try to reassure them.

  • Quickly and consistently respond. Don’t make their suffering worse by keeping them waiting.

  • You have no control over what they say, but you do have power over the result. Assist the client in achieving the desired outcome.


Jen feels that, more often than not, individuals just want to be heard rather than mocked. So, the best approach to deal with their negativity is to show true empathy, recognize their suffering, and do your best to assist them.

A5. This is when all of that empathy comes into play. You must constantly recognize them and make an effort to assist them. Usually, all they want is to be heard! Demonstrate that you are willing to assist. #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Disagreement and discord are unavoidable. Expect a few. Deal with the problem calmly and professionally whenever it occurs.

A5 As a community expands, it should anticipate some disagreement; how it manages this will decide whether it survives. Its capacity to listen and evolve determines how long it will live. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018

A5: Negative interactions should be listened to and addressed gently and professionally. Especially if they have a legitimate point to make. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — iPages CMS (@iPagesCMS)

A5: We don’t have many bad encounters in our community (whether it’s Twitter discussions or answers), but it’s best to handle them gently and reasonably. #SEMRushChat

September 26, 2018 — Marccx Media (@marccxmedia)

It is usually beneficial to have a procedure in place to deal with unwanted comments and assaults. It is preferable to prevent than than cure.

A5. Create a corporate style guide that specifies the tone, voice, and parameters for responding to all online interactions, including unfavorable brand postings. Snark is on brand for some, while polished professionalism is the norm for others. Follow #SEMRushChat on a regular basis.

September 26, 2018 — pair Networks (@pairnetworks)

#semrushchat A5

1) Quickly engage with them, telling them that you want to resolve the problem. 2) Offer a solution, even if it isn’t via your business. 3) Be sympathetic and imagine yourself in their position. 4) If appropriate, make them laugh with a GIF:D

September 26, 2018 — SEO Consultant (@JLFaverio)

Recognize that a problem exists, but also remind the community of your common aims and commitment to progress.

A5. Be the first to confess when you’ve made a mistake and correct it. Negative encounters will be infrequent if you don’t take yourself too seriously and have a fair sense of humor and personality in your community #SEMrushchat.

September 26, 2018 — David Cohen (@explorionary)

A5) I always express my gratitude to members who provide candid and honest comments on unfavorable experiences. We can better our common community by having unpleasant conversations. Also, tell them that we all want to make their life easier/have a nice time/etc. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Jessica Rae (@Jessicaraealt)

Don’t procrastinate on this. As quickly as possible, get to the bottom of it. Take the discussion offline if possible, but make sure your community knows that all of their issues are being handled.

A5: If there’s a legitimate issue, address it as quickly as feasible and do all you can to resolve it. You can’t overlook problems since it will just lead to a greater problem in the long run. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Express Writers (@ExpWriters)

A5. I attempt to go to the source of the negativity first. Is there anything I can do to alleviate the discomfort? If they don’t, I ask them to leave (in private). Then disregard any future negativity so I don’t contribute to it. The last step would be to prohibit or block. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Fistbump Media (@FistbumpMedia)

A5: Acknowledge the problem and offer to solve it privately; there’s no need to go through everything publicly. However, it’s critical to demonstrate that you’re responding/handling the problem in a public setting. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM)

Look for the silver lining in every situation. This will assist you in dealing objectively with the circumstance.

A5 Negative feedback may occasionally be a helpful guide to making adjustments, so don’t dismiss it. Assume responsibility, pay attention, and work together to progress. #SEMRUSHChat

Bill Slawski (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) (@bill slawski) ( 26th of September, 2018

Matt Shanley generously gave a real-world example of how his organization dealt with community opposition.

(1/2) A5. Recently, one of our brands had a similar problem. We booked a speaker for our event, got a lot of bad feedback on social media, and restructured the meeting to make his presentation more participatory rather than lecture-style.

September 26, 2018 — Matt Shanley (@MattShanley)

(2/2) A5. Even if they didn’t always agree with our choice of speaker, our community embraced the change. We listened to what they had to say and answered in a manner that was tailored to their needs. #SEMrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Matt Shanley (@MattShanley)


All of your community-specific content initiatives should aim to keep the dialogue alive with your clients. Determine the subjects they like. Don’t be afraid to bring up the issue, no matter how contentious it may be. Use auxiliary channels like email and social media to keep members up to date and urge them to participate in current topics or start new ones.

You must know your users’ behaviors and preferences inside and out in order to develop tailored and relevant information that is laser-targeted at them. Consider the following questions:

  • Who has comparable interests and is willing to speak about them?

  • What level of engagement do they have on the platform you’re targeting?

  • Who do they socialize with on the internet? What celebrities do they respect and follow on social media?

  • What kind of media do they like and share?

  • What kind of material do they disregard? What irritates them?


Jen underlines the necessity of documenting your audience’s dialogues with you. This will be an infinite knowledge base from which you may build relevant content. One of the key goals of community development is education, so constantly be guiding them!

A6. Consider the daily talks you have with individuals regarding your brand. Make a list of those issues and the replies you offer on a regular basis, and then use it to produce content! Continue to keep them informed about new and interesting developments in the sector. #semrushchat

#smechat?? — Jen Cole (@jencoleICT) 26th of September, 2018

Begin by paying careful attention to what everyone is saying. Make a list of the issues that need further information. Use their input and your skills to create content that fills in the gaps in the customer journey.

A6) Pay attention to what’s going on in your community, compile a list of places where you can contribute, and generate material that can aid. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — David Rosam (@davidrosam)

A6: Ideally, it should be addressing common queries, providing live material with interactivity, and offering member benefits. #semrushchat

— Stoneham Press’s Tim Lewis (@StonehamPress) on September 26, 2018

A6. As I previously said, a strong community helps to educate, therefore utilize input from members of the community or your own knowledge to ensure that the audience journey does not have any educational gaps. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Blas Giffuni (@BGiffuni)

Find out what your audience wants to know and what sort of material they like. Create material that reflects this.

A6: It all relies on your target audience’s preferences. And if you’re unsure, it never hurts to ask! #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — Express Writers (@ExpWriters)

A6: Look at what your audience is talking about, sharing, and connecting to; if they like it from someone else, they’ll enjoy it from you as well. Give people the stuff they want to view, when and when they want it. #semrushchat

September 26, 2018 — ThinkSEM (@ThinkSEM)

To increase the success of your content, use data from discussions and track engagement metrics.

#semrushchat A6

1– Use data frmo GSC & SEMR to find topics 2– Promote a local event/service (ex: animal shelter, people love cute animals) 3– Find your uniqueness and your why and promote it

September 26, 2018 — SEO Consultant (@JLFaverio)


What are your opinions on forming a community? Is it important to you to expand your company in terms of users or sales? Even if you missed this fantastic debate, you can still participate by typing in the comments section below or tweeting to @semrush with the hashtag #SEMrushchat, and we’ll jump right in!

And if you’re interested in another live Twitter session, join us on Wednesday for #SEMrushchat, where we’ll be discussing How to Develop a Persona-Led Content Strategy with Alan See!

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