Reviewed By

Ekta KohliVerified Expert in Interior Design

With over 11 years of experience in interior design and kitchen design, Ekta has worked on a wide range of projects from residential to commercial. She is currently leading the design team at Infinite Ideas Interiors, India.

Home » Interior Design » How To Build An Online Community for Interior Design Business?

What is an Online Community?

The internet is dominated by social interaction. Millions of folks engage and conduct themselves in spirited and viral discussions, simultaneously voicing their opinions ad feelings. Human nature dictates that we be social, and the onset of the internet has just made it easier for people to be on social media and give their thoughts a voice.

This group of people also act as a driving force in promoting business and spreading the word about your design firm. This group of people exchanging relevant information, harnessing the power of the internet and also maintaining a kind of unspoken conduct is what defines an online community.

Read also – How To Create A Successful Interior Design Website?

Why is an Online Community important for your Interior Design Business?

The field of interior design is very social. Most of the projects you may acquire would have come to you as referrals or word-of-mouth. Designing is a crucial task; most people are comfortable giving the job to a known person or someone who trusts.

In the olden days, the marketing strategy for every new business used to be with their business name plastered in daily newspapers and passing on business cards to anyone they meet. With the arrival of the internet, the social and content marketing factor has gone almost entirely online.

To inculcate trust among your potential client base, you first need to set up a successful community looking for what you have on offer. Talking to them and advising them will help them realize that you are there as a guide.

Online communities devoted to the ideas and discussions surrounding interior design not only help those who are active in the design community but your business as well. Moreover, the more engaged your community gets, the more your design brand gets ranked higher in online search algorithms creating much needed online exposure in the interior design industry.

Read also – How To Create Interior Design Packages for Your Business?

importance of online community for interior design business

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Types of Online Communities for Interior Designers

An online community can be divided into three main categories. Keep in mind your business goals or objectives should orient to what type of online interior decorating community should be nurtured. Let’s take a closer look at each typology in depth.

1. The Support community

This community is made to offer help and support for individuals looking for assistance regarding a service. In interior design, this could be a community where you have new homeowners asking how to get particular things done. This is where you can dive in and help out yourself or let the community you created assist accordingly. The forum on websites like Houzz is a great example.

2. The Discussion community

A Discussion community brings like-minded folks to create enthusiastic discussions on a topic or voice their opinions. From the perspective of interior design businesses, having a community catering to only interior designers can help.

Giving a platform for new ideas and thoughts is an excellent way to make the community and subsequently your firm offering interior design services popular in online searches.

3. The Action community

This kind of community is always considered a hands-on community. Members generally hope to achieve a specific physical task or be a part of physical change, preferably in their familiar locality.

As an interior designer entrepreneur, you can perhaps set up a community to gather artists to paint a dilapidated warehouse or a small scale design project to make your locality look beautiful. This would help get your firm instant exposure to potential design clients. 

Benefits of Building an Online Community

  • Building an online community takes a reasonable amount of time but can be highly beneficial in the long run. Apart from benefits like bringing like-minded people together or helping your local community, it is highly profitable for small business owners and startups. 
  • It would help if you spent very little capital and time to have a thriving online community. Once your community becomes famous in social circles, it can create positive publicity for you in your immediate locality. People will refer your firm or direct people in need to your community. You can create a broad client base, keep in touch and become the sole person offering your services to the community as a whole.
  • The more people are active in your online community, the more traction your pages would get in google search results. This can lead to your webpage ranking higher in search results through SEO and getting a lot of organic leads and ideal clients for your business.
  •  In a nutshell, you get a lot of free publicity and exposure by investing some time into crafting a fantastic online community.

Read also – 10 Best Free Online Interior Design Services

Top Community Platforms for Interior Designers

The best way to get started is to do a case study on existing online communities to help you understand what goes into making a successful online community. You can check out the below mentioned communities for further study.

The Foyr Community is one of the best online communities for interior design professionals and entrepreneurs. You can explore the platform by signing up (It’s Free!) and getting in touch with fellow designers to discuss ideas or perhaps look for a mentor among all the stalwarts in the industry who are also members of the Foyr Community.

You can also look for like-minded designers interested in collaborations and partnerships if you are interested. The best part about the community is not just about interacting with other people but also gaining complimentary access to Foyr Community’s library of tutorials, learning modules and various courses. The library is made significantly to help you out in becoming a successful interior designing practice.

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The ASID boasts a community of over 13500 members and is considered the community to join if you are looking for a collaboration. The online community helps its members on their email list by keeping them abreast of the current trends and styles in the interior design field.

Easily perhaps one of the oldest communities globally, the AIA was founded in 1857 by 13 leading architects of their time. They had the primary plan to explore, promote, and establish the value of architecture. It strives in making the architectural community a professional working space. 

The IIDA is a significant internationally acclaimed community that hosts interior designers, students, and other professionals related to interior design all over the world. 

If you are a practitioner or interested in running a sustainable practice, you need to be a member of the USGBC. The council aims to help achieve sustainable futures in interior design and architecture. 

Read also – 8 Best Interior Design Communities

10 Steps to Building an Online Community for your Interior Design Business

1. Figure out your reason for starting a community

It would be not very smart for you to start an online community just because it is trending now. You need to note down and realize your final objective, which will help you design a community that would benefit your firm.

If you don’t have a valid reason to set up a community, then potential customers won’t have a reason to join it either. Once you figure out your goal, you can draft a schematic flowchart about what you want to achieve and when you want to do so. 

Read also – The Ultimate Guide To Starting An Interior Design Blog

figure out reason for starting interior design community

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2. Identify the type of people who would be most interested in your community

Setting up and identifying your target audience is vital to creating a thriving online community. You also have to make peace that some of your audience will not be interested in joining your community.

Keeping this in mind, you should make a target audience with more parameters. A broad audience may help you cast your net wide but would probably catch very few leads. On the contrary, if your focus is more minor, you will find it easier to attract your target audience and new clients.

Read also – How To Create A Successful Interior Design Portfolio?

identify the interested people in your interior design community

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3. Outline what members will want from you

In the very next step after identifying your target audience, you need to chalk down what your potential community would expect from you. Is it help in design intervention? Or is it a list of places where they can source materials from?

Whatever their query or issue is, you need to successfully identify it and help solve it at a later stage. Once you meet their demands, you can safely assume that they will approach you when they require your services.

Read also – The Ultimate Guide To Building A Strong Interior Design Brand

outline what interior design community members need from you

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4. Determine the community platform you want to use

Facebook is the go-to platform for starting a community, but it may not always be the best option. You need to select your forum based on the number of members you are looking for, the level of discussions you hope to see and whether joining the said platform is complimentary or would there be any charge as per their pricing plan.

If you have very few people in mind, then a group on WhatsApp or telegram would be more appropriate. If you plan to host a larger audience of more than 100 people, then an interface of re-edit or Facebook is preferable. A more expensive option would be designing and running your forum on your website.

Read also – 5 Best Social Media Platforms for Interior Designers

determine the interior design community platform you want to use

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5. Build a member profile fo your interior design online community

When you have a vision for your online community, you may think of having an ideal member. Your objective is to gain as many as members that match the profile of your outstanding member. Your excellent member can be discovered by posing the following questions to the community. 

Who is this community beneficial to?

Is your community serving interior designer professionals, small businesses or homeowners looking for interior design professionals?

Is the community achieving the goal that it has set out on?

Once you get the answers to these questions, you can ask your ideal member the following questions:

What does this community offer that they didn’t have or get before?

How do they feel before joining the community?

How do they feel after spending time in the community?

The answers gained above from building a member profile will reflect what your members think about the community and how you can improve.

Read also – How To Start An Interior Design Business?

build member profile in the interior design community

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6. Develop relevant rules

Society cannot function without rules, and the same goes for an online community. Your community can have a rule as a prerequisite before joining as well. For instance, you can request that only professionals can be part of the community.

There are other guidelines like profanity being banned or sharing content unrelated to the purpose or ideal of the community. The rules created will filter the type of people that inhibit your online community.

Read also – Interior Design Scope of Work for Any Design Projects

develop rules for your interior design community

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7. Assign community roles

A community is just like an organization that needs a host of managers, influencers and moderators to keep it running. You will have to assign people to moderate and manage the forum, and the moderator will decide what content suits the community, what should be removed or what hashtags can be used and promoted.

There would also be an additional responsibility of accepting or declining applicants and responding to queries asked by the members. 

Read also – How To Build An Interior Design Team for Your Design Projects?

assign community rules

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8. Start building your interior design community

You have now completed all the major wet work involved in setting up an online community. It is now time to get the ball rolling by going live with your community and getting found on search engines.

According to your objectives, you can choose to buy a domain and create a website domain through WordPress, start a Facebook group or other social media platforms, launch a group on telegram or WhatsApp and even set up your community in an existing forum. 

Read also – Guide To Video Marketing for Interior Designers

start building your online interior design community

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9. Share your online community

If you want your community to grow and reach newer members, you have to actively consider spreading the word about the existence of your forum. You can achieve this in multiple ways

  • Inviting certain industry celebrities to join your community
  • Share a reference link for members to invite their colleagues and friends
  • Include and spread information about the perks of joining
  • Advertising
  • Publish testimonials with renderings of projects done by you for existing clients on relevant websites

Read also – 12 Digital Marketing Strategies for Interior Designers

share your online community

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10. Embrace different levels of commitment from members

It’s only standard for some members to be more active than others. There would be some who wouldn’t be involved at all. To have a wonderful online community, you need to learn to accept all kinds of members.

There would also be some who share many ideas and be part of many discussions, whereas there may be those who take every idea and execute the design work, not giving any due credit. Unfortunately, all of this is a part of a thriving online community, and you need to learn to accept the fact and act accordingly. 

Read also – A Guide To Client Process Document for Interior Designers

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How Foyr Community is the Best Online Community Platform for Interior Designers?

If you want a standing example of how an online community should function, look no further than the Foyr community. The Foyr community offers an inclusive platform where interior designers can learn, contribute and collaborate with fellow designers.

They can also look for some mentorship from many community members who have been in the field for a long time. Foyr community is entirely free, and you will also have access to a healthy amount of courses, lessons and video tutorials to help you and your business grow to new heights.

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