10 Online Communities Examples: A Complete Compilation

Online communities have transformed the way we learn, connect, and grow. From mastermind groups to brand-centric communities, these digital spaces offer countless opportunities for personal and professional growth.
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Online communities have transformed the way we learn, connect, and grow. From mastermind groups to brand-centric communities, these digital spaces offer countless opportunities for personal and professional growth. But what makes these communities so engaging, and how can you build a thriving one of your own? In this blog post, we’ll explore 10 inspiring online community examples and the strategies that keep them flourishing.

10 Online Communities Examples

  1. Learning communities. Best for groups who want to learn together and collaborate
  2. Mastermind group communities. Best for serial entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses.
  3. Geographically-based communities. Best for hybrid communities based in the same location
  4. Customer communities. Mostly run by businesses to build their brand
  5. Interest-based communities. Best for people with similar hobbies, interests, cause, and mission
  6. Support communities. Built as an open help forum to support users and customers
  7. Professional development communities. Best for groups that want to advance their careers
  8. Startup accelerator communities. Best for startups that want to scale and accelerate
  9. Corporate communities. Run by L&D teams as an internal learning groups
  10. Fan-based communities. Brands and creators with large fan-based groups

Learning Communities

Learning Communities are like treasure troves of knowledge and collaboration, offering platforms for resource-sharing and continuous education. These communities come in various shapes and sizes, from academic support communities to career-focused groups and hobby and interest-based communities. Members enjoy numerous benefits, such as relationship building, knowledge exchange, and access to unique content and support.

A successful learning community requires passionate members, clear learning objectives, comprehensive teaching methods, and a collective knowledge bank. It is equally important to foster personal growth, professional development, and collaboration, and to ensure access is dependent on a paid membership to maintain commitment. This higher price point ensures members are committed to their transformation.

Want to join a learning community for course creators, instructional designers, edupreneurs, and corporate trainers? Join Thrive by Disco, a free learning community to get full access to our content library and free webinars, and get a first-hand experience of the Disco platform.

A group of people collaborating and sharing resources in a learning community
Use Case #1: Virtual Academies and cohort-based learning communities

Have you ever joined a cohort-based learning program? If yes, then you get the sense of a learning community. Cohort-based courses and virtual academies have built a learning community apart from their main online courses. This is to ensure that the learning experience of the students is transformational, interactive, and engaging.

The best example is AltMBA, a month-long online cohort-based course designed to help leaders make better decisions and be more understanding, and mindful in their leadership effort. Over 5,000 learners at a global scale have attended the AltMBA program.

Additionally, AltMBA is the forerunner of the cohort-based learning model discovered by Seth Godin and Wes Kao. They joined forces with Disco, a world-class learning management system for virtual academies and learning communities.

Use case #2: Slack learning communities

Slack Learning Communities are a pivotal starting point for many learning communities, offering a dynamic platform for members to engage, collaborate, and communicate.

Slack's integration with platforms like Disco has been a game-changer, streamlining community operations and saving community managers hundreds of work hours. This integration facilitates seamless communication, fosters real-time collaboration, and simplifies the process of managing a thriving online community, making it an invaluable tool for community managers and members alike.

Here's a practical guide on how to create Slack group.

DISCO - An Award-Winning Platform for Building Learning Communities

Disco is an acclaimed platform that specializes in building vibrant learning communities. In the year 2023, Disco's innovative approach was recognized when it bagged two prestigious awards: Fast Company's Most Innovative in Education, and EdTech Breakthrough's Startup of the Year.

This exceptional learning platform enjoys the trust of industry leaders such as HyperIsland, Dribbble, AltMBA, WeAreNoCode, and many others. Disco has played a pivotal role in transforming numerous learning communities, helping them grow and scale. With a steadfast mission to support thriving communities, Disco continues to make waves with its top-tier learning platform.

Moreover, Disco offers 24 incredible tools for educational community building. Our users' top choices are AI co-pilot to automate your community management, Slack integration to streamline your communication in every channel, and Member management to efficiently organize your membership communities.

Additionally, Disco's commitment to user experience ensures that the platform is not only influential but also user-friendly, making it an invaluable tool for community managers. With Disco, you can go to bed peacefully knowing that your community is managed well with our powerful automation and integration features. For only $79 monthly, you can start with Disco's Pro plan and build your learning community with ease.

Mastermind Group Communities (Group Coaching Community)

A diverse group of individuals engaged in a mastermind group meeting

Mastermind groups are essentially a meeting of minds.

They are a collective of individuals, all motivated by a desire for personal growth or career progression, who come together in an online space to share ideas, provide advice, and bolster each other's growth. The fundamental elements of a successful mastermind group are effective leadership, mutual trust among participants, and a unified vision of success.

For instance, consider a mastermind group where clients with similar life experiences or paths share their insights outside the formal coaching sessions. This creates a safe environment for reflection and growth, enhancing the value of the services offered by the business, particularly in brand communities.

Use Case #1: COHO

One example of a thriving mastermind group is COHO, the leading community for senior to director-level professionals navigating the ever-evolving landscape of learning and careers. Cultivate personal growth, access curated guidance, and thrive in the world of tomorrow.

Use case #2: Private communities

Another example is private communities commonly known as gated communities with a rigorous selection process. These communities are private and sometimes are 'invite-only' to keep their quality, connection, and exclusivity to themselves.

In essence, joining a mastermind group opens up a plethora of networking opportunities and provides invaluable insights, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment for growth.

Geographically-Based Communities

Local and geographically based communities focus on specific geographic areas or physical spaces, connecting members based on shared local interests, events, or news.

Examples of these communities include networking communities, religious communities, and event communities focused on local and regional happenings such as CUE SF, a community of educators based in California and Nevada.

On another note, e-commerce companies can also benefit from investing in local communities where they have a strong following or a physical store, maximizing their potential and customer base. By understanding the types of online communities, businesses can better target their marketing efforts and build stronger connections with their audience.

These virtual communities offer a unique way to unite members based on shared local experiences, providing valuable networking opportunities and fostering a sense of belonging within the event community. Leveraging existing local connections enables businesses to create prosperous online communities and social communities that benefit both members and the company.

Customer Communities (Brand communities)

Customer communities, also known as brand-centric communities are built around a specific brand or company, fostering emotional connections and loyalty among members while providing valuable customer insights.

Use Case: DRIBBBLE

Creating your own online community can help generate brand loyalty and access valuable customer feedback. Examples of successful brand-centric communities include Dribbble, an online brand community that launched its 12-week Product Design Course. Read their full story.

Members of a brand-centric community engaging with the brand's products and services

In short, a customer community offers businesses a wealth of benefits, such as invaluable customer insights, promising leads, and fantastic marketing opportunities. By fostering strong relationships and emotional connections with customers, companies can build a successful online community that serves as a valuable resource for growth.

Interest-Based Communities

Hobby and Interest-Based Communities connect members with shared interests or passions, offering opportunities for learning, collaboration, and product discovery. From fitness and yoga to social justice or causes, these communities bring together like-minded individuals who are eager to learn and explore new products within their shared interests.

Members of a hobby-based community participating in a collaborative activity
Use Case: Invisible College

A compelling example of an interest-based community is the Invisible College, a unique educational platform dedicated to empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills to navigate and succeed in the web3 ecosystem.

As a member of this community, you gain access to comprehensive courses, weekly events, and continuous support via a private Discord server. Membership in this community is uniquely tied to the Decentralien NFT collection, offering a novel approach to education where members have direct ownership of their learning journey.

Invisible College is committed to providing its students with the necessary skills, network, and opportunities to thrive in the web3 environment.

Support Communities (Commonly Help Forums)

Support and Help Communities, also known as support community, provide public spaces for customers to seek assistance, share solutions, and scale support processes more efficiently than traditional methods.

Use Case: Bubble Forum with 2M community members

One standout example of a support community is Bubble.io, the world's largest no-code community that empowers non-technical users to build web applications without coding.

To supplement this, Bubble provides an open help forum with over 2 million community members. This forum is a hub where users can quickly get answers to their queries, with responses coming directly from fellow community members, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment.

The advantage of Support and Help Communities is their discoverability via search engines, which makes scaling support processes easier as your team won’t have to answer the same question multiple times. Providing a welcoming and accessible environment can help these communities become a resource for both customers and businesses.

Professional Development Communities

Networking and Professional Development Communities connect members for specific purposes, such as business networking or career advancement. Members benefit from knowledge sharing, career advancement, collaboration and partnerships, support, and access to resources and opportunities.

Business networking provides an ideal platform to engage with like-minded individuals in the same industry or profession. It proves to be a great opportunity to build contacts and relationships, which is beneficial in the long run.

Use Case: Professional Associations

A perfect example is Learn Biomimicry, a purposeful learning community that helps you do exactly that…learn biomimicry. Drawing from 10+ years of experience, they have built online courses and programs with world-class biomimicry practitioners, influential educators, and accomplished professionals to bring Nature’s winning strategies. Read their full story.

Leveraging networking and professional development communities aids members in expanding their professional networks, exploring new opportunities, and growing in their careers. With the right community platform, these communities can become an invaluable resource for members, helping them achieve their professional goals.

Startup Accelerators Communities

Startup Accelerator and Incubator Communities are unique environments that foster innovation and growth among startup businesses. These communities, often backed by experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and industry experts, provide startups with the resources, mentorship, and network they need to accelerate their growth and success.

Startup accelerator programs, like YSpace, Altitude Accelerator, Launch Labs, and UCL Tech Labs are prime examples of such communities. They provide intensive, short-term programs that include mentorship, educational components, and networking events, culminating in a public pitch event or demo day to attract investors.

These startup accelerators are using Disco to bring the best learning experiences to their learners and members. Read about their Disco experiences.

Being part of a Startup Accelerators Community can significantly enhance a startup's chances of success by providing access to a network of experienced mentors, potential investors, and like-minded entrepreneurs. These communities offer a collaborative environment that fosters innovation, learning, and growth, making them a crucial resource for startups aiming to make a significant impact in their respective industries.

Corporate Communities (Business Communities)

Corporate Communities are a unique type of online community that exists within the workplace, often created and managed by Learning and Development (L&D) teams.

These communities serve as platforms for employees to share knowledge, learn from each other, and collaborate on various projects. They can be centered around various topics like specific job roles, departments, or professional development topics.

By fostering an environment where employees can share ideas and learn from each other, companies can boost employee engagement, productivity, and ultimately, profitability. At the same time, these communities promote a sense of responsibility among employees, encouraging them to contribute to the community and help each other grow professionally.

Corporate Communities can take different forms, such as internal forums, social media groups, or dedicated learning platforms. The key to a successful corporate community is the active participation of its members, the support and guidance from the L&D team, and a culture that encourages learning and collaboration.

Fan-based Communities

Fan and Creator-Focused Communities form around favorite media or creators, offering exclusive content and experiences for supporters on channels like Patreon or private groups. These communities foster strong emotional connections and loyalty among members while providing invaluable customer insights. Examples include Amanda Palmer’s Patreon community and the Star Wars fan community.

Nurturing a passionate and engaged fanbase allows creators to use fan communities to generate income and expand their brand. These communities can also serve as membership communities, where members gain access to exclusive content, experiences, and support in exchange for their patronage.

Building an Inclusive and Diverse Community

Creating an inclusive and diverse community is key to establishing a welcoming and accessible environment for all learners. Soliciting feedback, implementing community moderation and governance, and promoting inclusivity and diversity are key strategies for fostering an inclusive online community.

Ensuring that community members feel heard, respected, and valued fosters a thriving online space that caters to a diverse range of perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Inclusive and diverse communities, such as Thrive by Disco and AltMBA are prime examples of successful online communities that prioritize accessibility and representation.

Supercharge Your Learning Community

A step-by-step guide to build and grow a thriving learning community.

The Learning Community Playbook by Disco

Our Final Note.

In conclusion, online communities offer a wealth of opportunities for personal and professional growth, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. From mastermind groups to fan-based communities, these digital spaces provide unique platforms for learning, networking, and support.

By implementing effective engagement strategies and fostering inclusivity, you can create a thriving online community that empowers its members and promotes growth. So, take the first step toward building your vibrant community today.

Sign up on the Disco platform and get a 14-day free trial. If creating an account isn't your current preference, take our interactive product tour for an immersive introduction to the Disco experience!

Published on
December 19, 2023
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