With the rapid rise of smart devices, mobile apps have become many people’s primary gateway to the internet – and consequently their online communities. While your online community platform should definitely still be accessible from a desktop computer, neglecting mobile devices might mean missing out on the future.
What does an app-based online community look like?
Creating a smartphone-friendly online community entails much more than just making your community website or platform mobile-responsive. But that also doesn’t mean you have to build your own mobile app from scratch either.
At Open Social there are 3 different ways that we help organizations launch an app-based online community using our newly updated Native App extension:
- Make your online community accessible through the Open Social-branded app. The app allows your members to find your specific community within our app and easily sign in from their phones.
- Launch a custom-branded app for your specific community. After downloading your unique app onto their phones, members can directly access your community platform.
- If your organization has multiple communities, launch a custom-branded app that allows members to access any of your communities from a single app. Members can then switch between your communities within the app as well.
5 Ways a Mobile App Can Boost Your Community
1. Increase your audience
To attract new members, it is increasingly important to have a mobile-first mindset. The first generation that grew up with smart devices are now entering adulthood, currently accounting for 32% of the global population. Moreover, Gen Z also has 60% higher engagement in mobile apps per user than older demographics.
Even if your target demographic is much older, having a mobile app will allow you to appeal to the staggering 5.27 billion unique mobile phone users in the world today.
2. Platforms are designed for ‘taps’ instead of ‘clicks’
We swipe, pinch-zoom and tap on our mobile devices instead of scroll and click with a mouse.
If your community platform is launched as a native mobile app, it ensures that the content interactions, menus and navigation of your platform is designed for mobile device interactivity and ease-of-use. User Experience design for apps is completely different than for desktop computers. Simply relying on a mobile-responsive browser-based platform will only frustrate your members.
3. Push notifications replace email notifications
Most of us struggle to declutter our email inboxes already. Your members might end up ignoring or automatically delete your community email notifications. With a mobile app, however, you can easily send unobtrusive and instantaneous push notifications that pop up on their phones.
Moreover, your member’s smartphone will display the community notification even if the app is closed and the screen locked!
4. Reach community members on the go
Accessing a website or web platform from your phone requires so many steps that it is almost not worth the effort. Your members might rather open up one of the many social media apps on their phone to scroll through while traveling to work on the train or waiting in a queue at a store.
With a native mobile app, your online community platform will be instantly accessible for your member’s home-screen with the tap of a button. If you want to engage your members on the go, then an app is the best (if not only) option available.
5. Provide multiple entry-points to your platform
You don’t have to choose between a mobile or browser-based online community platform. Why not benefit from having both?
The magic of Open Social’s online community platform is it can be made accessible both as a browser-based and app-based platform. This gives your members the choice to access the best version of your community from their preferred device. The content also remains consistent and updated across both your mobile and browser-based community platform – making sure that all members see the same content.
The best way to make sure your online community is future-proof and keeps growing is to make sure that it is accessible from multiple devices and tailored to different digital experiences.
Want to know more about setting up an app-based online community with Open Social? You can get in touch with us and ask all your questions directly.