The Power of Online Groups

The Power of Online Groups

There’s undeniable satisfaction in being self-sufficient — to be able to say, “I did this on my own!”

But then there are those times when you’re facing an obstacle and think, “I can’t do this alone.”

That’s when support from other people can help you get over that hump and keep you moving forward.

Think: the fitness buddy who pushes you to exercise when you don’t feel like it, or that friend who encourages you stick to your healthy eating plan when you’re tempted by a box of doughnuts — or the complete strangers in your online fitness community who cheer your progress, fueling your motivation to work out.

The people you see in your every day life can be a great source of support, but joining an online group can amplify that support system.

A study on the influence of online communities showed that sharing weight-loss goals and posting progress photos within a group played a key role in the participants’ success.

“Not everyone can get the support they need from the people they interact with in person on a daily basis. It is helpful that technology can support community-building and goal achievement in virtual spaces,” said Dr. Sonya A. Grier, one of the study’s co-authors.

So, just think of what you could accomplish when you multiply that accountability buddy by 10, or 30, or 50, or 100, or 300 people.

Then you’ll have a group of allies at your back who can offer a fresh perspective and practical tips from their own experiences.

When you surround yourself with people united toward a common goal is when you see the true power of a group.

Woman in an online group, looking at social media

Why Is Community Important?

Joining a group made up of other people who are interested in the same thing is only the first step.

When it comes to weight loss and fitness groups, social support and accountability are essential to everyone’s success.

Setting goals together, lifting each other up, and helping each other thrive is the glue that holds a group together.

Studies show that people who participated in weight-loss programs that included social support to hold them accountable were more likely to succeed than those going at it alone.

In addition to pushing one another to work out and eat well, group members can help you overcome obstacles because they know exactly what you’re going through.

But when joining a group, it’s important to remember that support is a two-way street.

“A common mistake people make is to join a group with the mindset of ‘what can I get out of this?,’” says Dave Trager, former senior community manager at BODi. “You also need to be thinking about what you can give to the group. The more support you offer, the more you’ll receive in return.

“Don’t shy away from reaching out to other people,” he recommends. “Everyone is one supportive statement away from not giving up. That’s what forms bonds that can lead to lasting success.”

Two women in an online group looking at social media

How to Build a Group That Thrives

The key to building a thriving group is to create an environment where people can make genuine, positive connections.

By fostering a sense of “this is your tribe,” current and new group members are more likely to continue to participate in the long term.

“Some companies try to skip over community for social media, thinking that they’re the same thing, but there are important distinctions,” says Trager. “While social media is the best way to market and reach new customers, community supports the most important metric in any business: lifetime value — for the business and customer.”

Trager manages the Beachbody On Demand: Members Only (BOD:MO) Facebook group, which started with about 1,000 Beachbody On Demand customers looking to connect with other people trying to get fit and lose weight.

“Purely through word of mouth, BOD:MO now has around 80,000 members, with more than 60,000 members actively participating years after it was created,” says Trager. “It’s extremely rewarding seeing everyone’s progress. The community inspires each other and newcomers to get started and shows them that their goals are possible.”

Strength in Numbers

Support, accountability, positive connections are all essential ingredients for a successful long-term group experience.

The power of a group lies in its ability to amplify these ingredients so that everyone is empowered to achieve personal success.