Sharing my idea - online community for an offline group

16 replies
I wanted to share some of my ideas on user acquisition and ways to attract visitors for new online projects. This is mostly applicable for online communities, such as discussion forums, but in the end of the day, you get a popular web resource with unique content and real traffic.

I was always interested in building online communities. Out of my experience, the most difficult part for any online project is to attract new visitors. My question was if there is anything that can help me with this? The answer was yes.

Imagine, there is an active (offline) group with a big number of members that meet on a regular basis in real world, (e.g. once a month). There are plenty of groups like this which don't have online presence. Now, imagine you join this group, partner up with the organizers and offer them to build an online community so the group members can also communicate online. For example, they can discuss their topics of interest, plan new meeting, talk about past meetups, etc, etc. This is going to be beneficial for the group organizers as it will make the group better connected, more vibrant and it will bring more members as it will be discovered via search engines.

From the marketing point of view, the online group will get traffic and active members organically without spending much time and energy on user acquisition. The members will be creating new posts which will be visible to search engines, that will eventually generate more organic traffic.

What do you think?
#community #group #idea #offline #online #sharing
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    There are plenty of groups like this which don't have online presence.
    I think this is an idea that may be too late to be relevant - at least in the US.

    Who are 'they'? What field are they in?I know of several offline groups that meet - realtors, financial investors, social groups, hobby groups, sports groups....some are large and some small.

    They ALL have an online presence - because it's an easy thing to do now with social media. It is almost impossible to find a 'group' of people today where there are not members of the group with internet experience.

    The ease of adding message groups, blogs, and social media provide any and all access such groups might want/need - without adding a 'person' or 'service' into the mix. Some groups would not want search engine attention or want to attract 'outsiders' to their group.

    Sorry to seem negative - but when evaluating a new business idea you need to look at negatives as well as positives. It's easy to fall into the habit of explaining why something CAN work for you - and ignore looking at why it might not work at all.
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    • Profile picture of the author EdwinWS
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      I think this is an idea that may be too late to be relevant - at least in the US.

      Who are 'they'? What field are they in?I know of several offline groups that meet - realtors, financial investors, social groups, hobby groups, sports groups....some are large and some small.

      .

      Yes, I agree, some of them already have a LinkedIn or FB group. But often times they are dysfunctional or empty. The thing is that offline communities focus on their topic of interest and they may not understand the value and benefits of building an online community. They might be not interested in building anything online either.

      As for the groups, there are lots of them, check Meetup.com and find most popular groups in a large US city.

      To be more specific, let me give you two random examples
      1. leanstartup conference - a popular startup conference with multiple events per year
      2. goto conference - programming conference with events all around the world and a huge number of funs and supporters
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  • Profile picture of the author akshay7
    No idea is bad. However, I would suggest you do a lot more research about it.

    Are these groups generally small ? What is their average member size ?
    How will you reach these groups ?
    Why can't they just join something like Slack or Discord or anything more domain specific ?
    How many such groups do you estimate there are ?
    How do you intend to find these groups ?
    Is there any reason why these groups don't want online presence ? Maybe a whatsapp group serves them well already.
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    • Profile picture of the author 55sadhikar
      Originally Posted by akshay7 View Post

      No idea is bad. However, I would suggest you do a lot more research about it.

      Are these groups generally small ? What is their average member size ?
      How will you reach these groups ?
      Why can't they just join something like Slack or Discord or anything more domain specific ?
      How many such groups do you estimate there are ?
      How do you intend to find these groups ?
      Is there any reason why these groups don't want online presence ? Maybe a whatsapp group serves them well already.
      Your questions are very illogical for some of them..
      Basically, you are asking ,are there websites already about a niche? If they are there; then you shouldn't go in that niche because they are already well served!
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      • Profile picture of the author akshay7
        Originally Posted by 55sadhikar View Post

        Your questions are very illogical for some of them..
        Basically, you are asking ,are there websites already about a niche? If they are there; then you shouldn't go in that niche because they are already well served!
        No, my questions aren't there to discourage. These are the questions that need clarity. Having competitors which are doing well in a niche is a good thing. However, not knowing about them and jumping in, only to realise that you don't know how to differentiate later makes the battle tough.

        Are you really suggesting OP to get into the business without researching these questions?
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    • Profile picture of the author EdwinWS
      Originally Posted by akshay7 View Post

      No idea is bad. However, I would suggest you do a lot more research about it.
      Let me try answer to some of these questions.

      How will you reach these groups ? This is a tricky part. But nothing is free in this world, right? You need to join these groups, become an active member, maybe volunteer, then at some moment suggest your help to the organizers and pitch this idea

      Why can't they just join something like Slack or Discord or anything more domain specific ? Some of them may have something like this, some not. Slack/Discord are more ephemeral. Overall, it takes time and efforts to build an online community and it is not as simile as it sounds. I noticed, there are some groups that tried to setup a discussion forum or LinkedIn group but didn't pay attention to it and it got abandoned.

      How do you intend to find these groups ? - Look at meetups, online conferences... anyway, Google is your friend

      Is there any reason why these groups don't want online presence ? some of them have, some not. A lot of reasons. They may be not interested in it, they may not realize the benefits, they may lack expertise and knowledge in building online communities.
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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    No idea is bad.
    Yes, they are.
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    • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
      Originally Posted by IGotMine View Post

      Yes, they are.
      What made you say that?
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      • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
        Originally Posted by Reddevil007 View Post

        What made you say that?
        Are you serious?

        I could sit here all day listing really bad ideas.

        To say "No idea is bad" is ridiculous.
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        • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
          Originally Posted by IGotMine View Post

          Are you serious?

          I could sit here all day listing really bad ideas.

          To say "No idea is bad" is ridiculous.

          I am not it's just that I was more interested in knowing the different ideas that you said were bad and I would really be interested in knowing them
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    You asked for responses to your idea - and others here may not see the potential you anticipate. It's far easier to find a need and fill it than to try to convince people they have a need they didn't know about. In my view, 'empty' online groups indicates lack of interest.


    What you described in the OP is nothing like the example (gotomeeting, etc) used above. Always room for a better or more dependable app for group management online. Doesn't matter. If you believe this is an opportunity - pursue it.
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    • Profile picture of the author EdwinWS
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      In my view, 'empty' online groups indicates lack of interest.
      Very often it is not a lack of interest but a lack of attention from from the organizers. It happens because the organizers don't intentionally promote their online communities or they don't know how to do it effectively.
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  • Profile picture of the author savidge4
    I honestly do not understand a bunch of the responses here... I don't think its a bad idea. Anytime, and I mean ANYTIME... you can get in front or YOUR target audience ( and in this case literally in front of them ) its a good thing.

    There is a certain niche out there that has meet-ups and a bunch of websites that allow the sharing of files... but really had no online place to share ideas and knowledge. I am actively doing what it is you are suggesting... going to meet ups and sharing a business card with the URL.

    I was on vacation last week and there happened to be a meet-up in a community I was near, and I stopped by and handed out cards - got a handful of new users out of the deal and a contact with a product distributer.

    I just cant say it enough... ANYTIME you can get in front of your target audience in places they hang out online or offline, you have to go there. Its in YOUR best interest, and theirs. You have to keep in mind that meeting ONE person can exponentially increase your reach. They may have 2 friends, and they may have 2 friends and they may have another 2 friends... kinda like a pyramid scheme for onboarding new members.

    Everyone is so concerned with reaching 1000 people at a time ( and failing at that more often than not ) and forgetting the idea of actually talking to someone one on one and building a base that way - the idea is timeless Johnny Apple Seed, Jesus, Peter the Hermit, Sigmund Freud, Buddha, any of the Kardashians ( sorry )

    Bottom line, the quickest way to 100 - 1000 or 1,000,000+ followers / members is literally one at a time.

    Best of Luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Reddevil007
      Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      I honestly do not understand a bunch of the responses here... I don't think its a bad idea. Anytime, and I mean ANYTIME... you can get in front or YOUR target audience ( and in this case literally in front of them ) its a good thing.

      There is a certain niche out there that has meet-ups and a bunch of websites that allow the sharing of files... but really had no online place to share ideas and knowledge. I am actively doing what it is you are suggesting... going to meet ups and sharing a business card with the URL.

      I was on vacation last week and there happened to be a meet-up in a community I was near, and I stopped by and handed out cards - got a handful of new users out of the deal and a contact with a product distributer.

      I just cant say it enough... ANYTIME you can get in front of your target audience in places they hang out online or offline, you have to go there. Its in YOUR best interest, and theirs. You have to keep in mind that meeting ONE person can exponentially increase your reach. They may have 2 friends, and they may have 2 friends and they may have another 2 friends... kinda like a pyramid scheme for onboarding new members.

      Everyone is so concerned with reaching 1000 people at a time ( and failing at that more often than not ) and forgetting the idea of actually talking to someone one on one and building a base that way - the idea is timeless Johnny Apple Seed, Jesus, Peter the Hermit, Sigmund Freud, Buddha, any of the Kardashians ( sorry )

      Bottom line, the quickest way to 100 - 1000 or 1,000,000+ followers / members is literally one at a time.

      Best of Luck!

      So basically an idea is a bad idea not because we think so but because our target audience said so right?
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Reddevil007 View Post

        So basically an idea is a bad idea not because we think so but because our target audience said so right?
        Wouldn't even say then... all it takes is ONE to go along with the path and its all good. In general most are quick to second guess based on a single comment... which bears creditability if you have 2 followers... but aside from that.. there are those that will agree and those that wont. You simply cant please all the people all the time.

        In terms of building an audience... as long as you are within Intent and Context of a subject, spreading the concept to attract more is a good thing - even if some of the existing members may not so much like it.

        An example... I started an affiliate site selling holsters for guns. Started with holsters for a specific brand. Went an added content for a new brand and caught some grief... actually a bit of grief. The audience at first said NO.. but my sales said 2 and 3x growth. Did I lose some of my core? Probably. Did I gain in the long run? Oh yeah.

        I strongly believe the only bad side to anything is execution. Meaning, the idea itself is never bad. The execution of the idea is what is lacking.
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        • Profile picture of the author akshay7
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

          I strongly believe the only bad side to anything is execution. Meaning, the idea itself is never bad. The execution of the idea is what is lacking.
          I agree with this 100%. Thank you
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