In our latest blog series, we’re exploring no-code app ideas that make great business ideas too! We talked about directory apps and the different kinds of directories you could build and monetize.

Today, we’re gonna take a closer look at one of our favorite use cases for an Adalo app – communities! An online community is a group of people who interact with each other on a virtual platform. It’s anything from a community of 5 neighbors on a group chat to a community of a billion people on Facebook.

Communities are great ways to share information, build meaningful relationships, and engage with a specific audience. There’s a really broad range when it comes to how an online community can scale – which means not every community needs to have a mobile app. But having said that, you can decide what type of community you need by answering these simple questions.

  1. What does your community do?
  2. What does your community want?

If you’re trying to build a community of moms in a specific locality that can pass on pre-loved clothing or baby gear. The answers could be:

  1. What does your community do? They’re Moms that have previously bought things for their baby that they may no longer need or want.
  1. What does your community want? The community wants to either get rid of items (clothing, gear, toys, etc) they no longer need or want, or get these items from Moms that no longer want them.

This group of individuals doesn’t want to share their belongings or engage in conversations with a group of a million people. They want a smaller, localized, intimate group that can facilitate easier exchange.

On the flip side, a lifestyle influencer for example, makes a living sharing their travel, daily routine, and life experiences with their community. They may love the idea of growing that community to a million members.

What can I achieve with an online community?

Your online community can be a path to drive sales, build trust, improve brand loyalty if you’re building a brand, and conduct meaningful market research. But here’s an important reminder: the goal of a community isn’t just for profit. Communities like that are often shallow and don’t yield rewarding results.

Deep community engagement starts with relationships and interaction. So if you’d like to achieve meaningful results with an online community, we don’t recommend starting with a business strategy. Start instead with your potential community members in mind.

Your cool app features and design won’t matter nearly as much if you don’t make your community customer-focused.

The blueprint for an online community

Define the purpose and goal: What does your community do, and what problem will it solve for people in it? What’s the final objective?

Select a platform: Where would people in your community typically spend time online? Is it on Facebook? Do they use mobile apps a lot? Are they on Discord?

Build a member profile: Draw up a few profiles of potential community members. This will help you target your outreach more strategically.

Create some rules and norms: It may seem premature, I mean who needs rules when there’s nobody to follow them? But it’s always easier having this framework in place before the time comes for you to actually need it.

Build your community: This could mean creating a mobile app, starting a blog or website, creating a Facebook group, or starting an Instagram account. It helps to choose a certain communication style, design, or brand look and feel that works for your community.

While it’s tempting to think that all communities are alike, they don’t all look the same. Here are some different types of online communities that can be great business opportunities for you.

Learning communities

Learning communities aren’t new, but with the pandemic leading to people wanting opportunities to upskill, smaller online communities popped up all over the place with the goal of driving learning and growing.

In the no-code world, communities like Makerpad and 100DaysofNoCode helped people build products on tools like Adalo without knowing complex coding languages. These communities provided tutorials, premium membership opportunities, and forums where people could solve problems, ask questions, and learn collaboratively.

It may help to keep your learning community somewhat niche and specific so you can curate meaningful content and learning experiences. Building an app is a great way to connect your community and provide content, forums, and regular updates.

Brand Communities

These are communities built around – you guessed it – a brand. But it’s not just about a brand’s products, it usually goes beyond that. For example, there are plenty of Adalo communities that talk about how to use Adalo, how to work around certain limitations, and how to find the best components or APIs for a mobile app.

The Adalo Forum is a brand community that helps Adalo users solve problems, get ideas, and bring their ideas to life!

Support Communities

This can be for support of absolutely any kind! Building a mobile app for a support community is a great idea if it’s likely that someone may need ongoing support. For example. Most people will do a ton of research before buying a laptop. They want to be sure they’re making the right decision.

Much of this information can be found on YouTube, Reddit, or specific tech websites – so an app may not be the best idea. But what if you wanted to build a support community for people dealing with a natural disaster or a national crisis? During the COVID crisis, many support apps were built on Adalo that helped connect people in need with products and services, or get medical assistance.

This required ongoing support, a community that shared knowledge and was willing to help, and regularly updated content and information.

Health and fitness communities are somewhat of a hybrid between support communities and learning communities in that they generally feature a little bit of both. Support communities can be monetized through targeted ad space, or affiliate programs provided the communication about these is clear and transparent.

Networking Communities

Networks are all about building connections, which is why community apps are the perfect place to facilitate these connections. Networking communities like AngelList, LinkedIn, Contra, or Tinder are focused on connecting people to each other for a specific purpose.

Networking communities also help connect businesses to other businesses or vendors. Successful communities are built around a very specific goal, with a particular type of members.

Networking communities can be built around themes like travel and tourism, and can focus on connecting people that face a particular condition, like an illness, to help them benefit from community support.

Once you’ve narrowed down on the type of community you’d like to build, here are some ways to promote your community and get people onboard.

How to promote your community

Join relevant forums and conversations

The first step of starting a community is through being part of a community. Join the conversation, understand pain points, and pay attention to expressed needs. You can plug in your community by focusing on the value it provides and how it solves a problem for someone. Remember that your goal should always be to lead with value! That’s the best way to get people involved.

Invite people you know

Do you know people that want to be a part of the community you built? Your contacts are everyone you know via email, your social media, contact information and network. The one thing that your entire contact list has in common is that they all know more people. This will help multiply your reach exponentially, and has often been the secret driving force behind communities that show massive ‘organic’ growth.

Start a referral program

A referral program rewards members for bringing people into the community. The reward could be a discount code, access to premium content, or a gift. This helps incentivize community sharing and provides motivation to help people spread the word.

Integrate community into your marketing strategy

Think of your community as a product. You need to sell and promote it like you would any other product or service business. Based on who the community caters to, find the right platforms or opportunities to reach potential members. Are they active on Instagram? Reels and regular content will help you draw them in. Do they spend time on certain forums? Join those conversations! Our blog on marketing your app will help you develop a cohesive marketing plan to help your community app scale in the right direction.

Use Adalo’s app templates to build a community app with intuitive designs, slick features, and tons of great components.

Happy building!