[i]88% of community professionals credit that communities have a positive effect on the improvement of customer experience.
For marketers, the growing span of online communities has proven disruptive to say the least. And the fact is that brands now realize that they no longer have direct control over their reputation. Customers play a vital role in determining their market position. Now that there are multiple channels where customers can share their voice, it’s more important to be actively involved in the discussion.
That’s why brands must know how online communities work and what key trends continue to shape their development.
Organizations can identify customer preferences, understand their needs, address their queries in real-time, and grow through communities. Having said that, let’s take a look at the 4 trends that we think will rule the community space in 2022.
4 Online Community Trends for 2022
Online communities are essential for brands to collaborate, learn, and share insightful information with their potential customers. Now that the majority of organizations are aware of the significance of an online community, it is important for your community to stand out from the rest. Following are four emerging trends that can help you gain more community members and keep them active as you go:
1. Community-Led Hybrid Events: With in-person events taking a U-turn due to the digital shift, attendee-driven online communities became the holy grail for brands to conduct virtual events and stay connected with their customers. In the future we’ll see more hybrid events – a mix of both worlds – digital and traditional. And to foster the same sense of connection, communities will play a vital role. Connecting your on-site and virtual audience with your online community will enable you to create a unified event experience, ultimately, leading to better audience satisfaction and retention.
2. Customer Success Through Communities: Earlier, the main motive for a brand to create an online community was to highlight their products and services and promote them with a variety of marketing techniques. However, with changing customer preferences and needs, this focus is shifting from marketing and moving towards customer success. Brands are now promoting self-service in their communities and strategizing to make their customers successful by catering to their needs. This is a step towards delivering impeccable customer service through online communities.
3. AI-Enabled Communities for Real-Time Assistance: AI is an emerging technology with powerful capabilities. Its global market is expected to reach $190.61 billion market value in [iii]2025. With customers’ way of interaction evolving and their need for instant answers and support in real-time on a rise, conversational AI can be implemented with online communities to provide personalized assistance. According to a report, it is estimated that 95% of customer [iv]interactions will be powered by AI by 2025. So, for 2022, you must get AI in your community corner.
4. Gamification for Community Engagement: The gamification market size is predicted to snowball an impressive growth rate of 27.4%, reaching $30.7 billion by [v]2025. Gamification provides community members with the feeling that their efforts are being acknowledged. This not only provides an incentive for member participation but also enables community managers to increase engagement and keep their community vibrant. Therefore, incorporating gamification in your online community can help you boost the engagement rate significantly.
Active community members are a community manager’s best friend. You must figure out what makes them associate with you and nurture that connection. Once you meet your customers’ expectations through your online community, you are likely to significantly cut down on your marketing expenses, all while strengthening trust and credibility.
With new growth opportunities, 2022 is surely going to be an exciting year for online communities. So, let’s get strategizing!
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