A rising number of businesses are creating their own online consumer communities. 50% of companies can now turn their online customer service portals into dedicated social networks, where staff and customers can ask and answer questions, exchange information, get product updates, arrange events, and more—all without the drawbacks of utilizing a public social network. In the past, businesses or user groups might create Facebook or LinkedIn groups to encourage engagement. Those platforms offered a wide range of social features (at no cost) as well as easy access to enormous audiences that already used them.
Customer communities are much more than just online help. Basic customer care features such as searchable knowledge bases, email/chat assistance, and message boards have been present since the dawn of the internet. Traditional support features, as well as a lot more, are usually included in today’s community tools.
Apart from standard help desk and online assistance functions, community development (also known as customer engagement) systems often include the following:
Blogging: Customer platforms provide a richer ecosystem of separate blogs depending on product, industry vertical, subject matter expertise, or a combination of these factors.
Events: For total event workflow coordination, companies may build and promote events, share material and schedules, and link event management tools and backend CRM systems.
Discussions: Customers may ask inquiries and discuss concerns in forums divided by categories and themes with corporate workers as well as other customers.
News feed: Users get relevant updates depending on who they choose to “follow” and the engagement platform’s algorithm, just as on Facebook’s news feed (but you get to play as Mark Zuckerberg). Support for attribution (@) and hashtags (#), comments, likes, pinning, and the ability to share photos and videos are typical social media features.
Companies gain from establishing an online community for employees from various departments:
Customer communities may thrive in both B2C and B2B situations, but they aren’t required for every business.
That isn’t to say that only major businesses can create communities. Smaller businesses may do the same if they can establish and nurture a compelling brand purpose that extends beyond their products and services. Customer communities are widespread in 45% B2B industry for complicated, costly systems that are critical to a company’s operations (or a specific function within it).
The keys to a successful customer community are to give users power, keep marketing content to a minimum, and remember that the community exists to serve consumers, not the brand. According to the Harvard Business Review: Managers frequently overlook the fact that customers are individuals with a wide range of requirements, interests, and responsibilities. A community-based business generates loyalty by assisting individuals in meeting their needs, rather than by driving sales transactions. Members see brand communities as a means to an objective rather than an end in and of itself. Putting the brand second is difficult for a marketer to accomplish, but it’s necessary if the objective is to build a strong community.