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What Is An Online Community?
An online community is a community whose members interact primarily via the internet. Members share common interests, opinions, and goals.
Building a community is a great way to make prospective customers familiar with the brand and build a stronger relationship with current customers.
There are different ways of building an online community. This post covers ideas and the best practices for building an online community.
Online Communities Key Takeaways
- For an online community to be successful, create a strategy that aligns with your vision, values, and goals.
- Involve the right stakeholders depending on the overall goal for the community.
- Nurture engagement and encourage the community member's participation by awarding users with badges, reputation points, or topic expertise status.
- Create visibility by displaying the community link on your website, blog, and social media channels.
Understanding How Online Communities Work
Online communities breakdown the traditional one-way exchange of information and open up communication to deliver increased value.
The members of an online community have a purposeful mindset and seize every opportunity to engage with other members in order to attain personal growth or professional growth.
The community members can participate in a variety of ways including:
- Asking questions about how to do something
- Read previous discussions to aid their troubleshooting
- Suggest improvements to what your brand is offering
- Sign up to become a regular contributor or become a speaker at an upcoming event
Ideally, an online community creates a destination for real people and serves as a virtual conference hall for your organization while providing recognition, support, and connection when the members need it the most.
Online Communities Best Practices
- Make the group exclusive. This may sound counter-intuitive, however, this ensures privacy and that the group will feel comfortable posting and engaging with members.
- Try to be warm and welcoming. A great way to do this is by having a "Member Monday" where you welcome new members and ask them to introduce themselves in the group
- Use polls/surveys. This is a great way to know your audience and see what people want more of in the group (more business tips, networking opportunities, etc).
- Include influential people & conduct AMAs (ask me anything). This is a great way to get members engaged
- Host an in-person event with members of the group. This will create stronger relationships and really build a community.
Real-Word Examples Of Online Communities From Successful Brands
1. How Salesforce Is Increasing Product Adoption Through Online Community
Salesforce is an example of a successful brand that is empowering users and prospects through an online community.
Salesforce Trailblazer community brings Salesforce users together to learn, collaborate and get the most of their unique salesforce implementations.
The community has transformed everyday product users into passionate and engaged community members. The community focuses on learning and collaboration.
The members have a central place where they can search for topics they need help with. Besides, trailblazers can browse virtual events to connect with peers and experts.
A study revealed that more than 80% of active community members say that participating in the community helped them increase return on the Salesforce investment, improved productivity, and increased adoption.
2. Genesys Humanizes Their Brand with Online Community
Genesys is a SaaS customer experience platform that sells call center technology to mid-sized and large businesses.
Genesys wanted to accomplish several goals with their customer community including scaling customer success through humanized experience.
Creating a users community was a unique and fun approach for addressing user concerns and sharing ideas.
The company introduced tailored communities and implements “Ask Me Anything” style discussions for the PureConnect audience. The smart move has since tripled the average daily engagement metrics.
How To Create A Vibrant Online Community
- Identify key stakeholders and define the tasks to be completed by each stakeholder
- Define the purpose and goal so that people understand why they should join
- Select a community platform
- Develop rules and norms to guide membership and participation
- Invite members to join and create membership profiles
- Promote your community via emails, links on your website and social media platform
- Celebrate active community members to encourage participation and memberships
Businesses can use different platforms to create online communities. Examples of platforms where you can build an online community include:
Social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website.
Businesses using Reddit:
American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California.
Businesses using Facebook:
An American question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, and edited by Internet users, either factually or in the form of opinions.
Businesses using Quora:
Contributors to this article:
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