September 28, 2022

How To Write Guidelines for Your Online Community Platform & Forum

A complete guide to write Community guidelines.

Rishika Shidling

How To Write Guidelines for Your Online Community Platform /Forum

Every country needs rules and regulations to function properly so that everyone is treated equally and everyone follows the same guidelines. Just like that, every online community forum needs guidelines to run its online community well. 


  1. What is an online community forum?
  2. How to write guidelines for your online community.
  3. How can an online community help you build your brand?

What is an online community forum?

An online community forum is an online space created by an organization or a brand, where members, customers, and fans alike can get together, ask questions, discuss interests surrounding the brand, and make social connections. 

Communities can both humanize a brand and make customers feel valued through experiences or direct communication. They help you interact with each other interested in a particular product of a brand and share their personal experiences with the products. 

There are mainly two types of online communities:

  1. Branded community platform
  2. Social media platform

1. Branded community platform

A branded community is a community of individuals that are created based on shared values and passion for products of a particular brand. A branded community is hosted by the organization or brand itself. 

For start-ups and small businesses, these communities can help drive more leads, improve brand loyalty and increase user retention. When creating content, it’s important to keep in mind that not all consumers are created equal. 

Content is the tool that empowers communities to share and engage with a common vision. Great content is what allows brands to sustain engagement and curiosity among people. 

2. Social media platform

These are communities built on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for a particular brand or organization. 

A brand’s community is formed by customers who are emotionally connected with your brand. They use your products, follow you on social media, engage with your branded content, and tell their friends about your brand. 

How to write guidelines for your online community

1. Start with the basic mission

Tell people about the mission and purpose of your online community. You can do so by writing a short paragraph about the dos and don’ts of your community. Also, make sure you have a clear vision of the benefits and purpose of the community. 

Having a clear vision will give your community a direction and glimpse of your brand. 

Here is a good example of community guidelines from Uber:

2. Include the essentials first.

Know what rules are essential for an online community. Every online community should have these basic rules listed below:

  • Be kind to each other and avoid posting content that is offensive and may hurt someone’s feelings.
  • Do not bully or make inflammatory remarks to other community members. 
  • Respect each other’s decisions and privacy. Do not post content that invades others’ privacy. 
  • Don’t upload or post inappropriate content that is nowhere related to the brand. 
  • No spam. Don’t repeatedly send the same messages or content over and over again.
  • Do not promote other products/services without disclosing the relationship with the brand.
  • Do not promote yourself or any other competitor brand. 
  • Treat everyone equally and with respect. 
  • Don’t impersonate other people or organizations or pretend to be someone else. 
  • Do not harass anyone member based on caste, religion, sex, age, nationality, or disability. This will not be tolerated. 
  • Don’t engage in name-calling, bullying, or attacking people. 
  • Comments that degrade any race, religion, gender, age, or abilities are not acceptable. 

It’s your community and this is the place where you and your members get to tell people how they are expected to treat one another. Because online communication excludes the physical and facial cues of in-person conversation, it’s important to state expectations right upfront.

Depending on your industry, topic, or membership, be sure to spell out the rules that will keep confidential information confidential and implement policies to maintain the privacy and anonymity of community members if necessary.

3. Keep the guidelines simple and readable.

Keep your community guidelines easy to digest, short, and easily scanned. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want your members and participants to read it. 

The main aim of community guidelines is that members need to know what is expected of them and what types of behaviors are frowned upon or prohibited within the community. 

Guidelines generally encourage people to participate and refrain from disobeying the rules. 

4. Refer to other community guidelines.

Read the community guidelines of other brands to get an idea about what guidelines are necessary for your online platform. If you already have an open communication channel with your users, it is a good idea to select a group that can give you some feedback regarding your guidelines. 

Writing community guidelines that you can stick to isn’t easy, but if you break the process down into distinct steps, you’ll be well on your way to success. It is also important to stay consistent in the community. 

5. Avoid spamming the community with unnecessary guidelines

This online community guideline should be created in conjunction with your social media policy. Do not add the same community guidelines which already exist in a different tone. 

Apart from this, make sure that your community guidelines are easily available to members and visitors. 

Questions are bound to rise anywhere, make sure people know how and where to enquire about their queries and avoid spamming the same question which is already answered. 

How can an online community help you build your brand?

The true sense of an online community takes social media to the next level and opens up a world known as a social business. Having an online community can help your brand grow its reach and sales in many ways. 

1. Customer loyalty

Customer loyalty describes an ongoing emotional relationship between you and your customer. The most powerful sales increases come from communities where customer retention is the goal and helping existing customers to succeed better is the focus. 

2. Social collaboration

Social collaboration brings an increased understanding of projects throughout the organization, easier knowledge transfer, stronger teams, a better product, and improved culture. 

Public communities can also be used for collaboration if they are properly designed for it and enable you to identify and involve the members in a mutually relevant way.

Get going! 💪

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