Building a community gives you an ideal way to engage and delight your customers. The superpower of these online communities spur B2B businesses to create their own brand story for their customers.
And organizations that have communities in their corner, such as Cisco, SAP, and EMC have gained immensely from their customers as a result of fostering these online communities.
A community can bring in brand advocates, reduce support costs, and boost ROI. It’s not just a way to get better returns for brands but its members as well.
In fact, according to research[i], on an average, a member of an advanced community contributes approximately $67 of value per year and receives over $614 of value per year! Impressive, isn’t it?
Let’s deep-dive on how choosing the right platform for a branded online community can be a game-changer for your business growth.
How Choosing the Right Community Platform Impacts Business Growth
Creating an online community that is dynamic and thriving is not something that can be achieved overnight. Therefore, choosing a robust online community is one of the most crucial steps that brands must consider before beginning their community journey.
When selecting a platform to build an online community, you must ensure that it provides the flexibility to achieve all business objectives and is powerful enough to help you scale in the long run.
Before selecting a community platform, it is important to consider your niche industry and your ultimate business goals. Depending on that, you should choose an appropriate community type (employee, customer, or partner). Once that’s done, consider the following:
- Simplified navigation
- User experience
- Customer requirements
- Integrations with CRMs and other tools
- Data security
And Vanilla Forums is a leading community platform that incorporates all these features.
Let’s discover more about why it is a preferred choice amongst businesses to host their online communities.
Why Choose a Platform Like Vanilla for Launching YourOnline Community?
Vanilla Forums are bound to pop into your mind when you think about communities. Since 2009, Vanilla has been a leader in the community space.
This cloud-based community software platform gives you the capability to create dynamic and interactive online forums to help businesses boost loyalty, increase sales, and enhance customer service. They have created a powerful software that lets you start with something simple which can be easily configured to meet your unique needs.
With several amazing features that Vanilla has, you can significantly decrease the costs for support, engage members, create discussion forums, and have a cost-effective way to reach out and turn prospects into buyers.
How is Vanilla Different from Other Community Platforms?
Vanilla Forums is a herculean online community solution. With its easy-to-use interface, you can build loyalty, drive sales, and improve customer experience.
Unlike other community platforms, Vanilla offers deep-rooted capabilities of integration to your existing tools, flexible customization, scalable knowledge base, gamification, Q&A, and a lot more that make it an ideal choice for any organization on the hunt to create dynamic and vibrant communities. It enables you to create a customized community that encourages positive participation and supports multiple languages. Additionally, you get better control by adjusting the permissions of forums or members.
And recently, Vanilla’s power as a community platform multiplied when Higher Logic acquired it to take things a notch higher and build engaging and connected experiences for their users.
4 Reasons That Make Vanilla Forums Stand-Out
Generally, most community platforms are aimed at building communities and answering specific questions. However, Vanilla Forums centers its attention on re-imagining community engagement with its intuitive interface. It offers its customers a safe platform to exchange ideas, inspire, extend support, and generate brand advocates to ensure better user retention and ROI.
When it comes to building an advanced online community, there are four reasons that make Vanilla unique:
1. Community Building Features: This user-friendly platform ensures that your community-building experience is seamless. It offers an array of capabilities that make it easier to draw more users to your community. They are:
- Contacts Syncing: This function enables you to upload contacts directly into your organization’s database and also makes managing contacts easier.
- Integrations: You can seamlessly integrate your email with company databases (mail merge). Also, it offers seamless integration with third-party software such as WordPress, Zendesk, Salesforce, MailChimp, and HootSuite. It integrates well with popular social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and supports tools for content distribution across multiple social channels.
- Advanced Editing: Its advanced editor recognizes HTML, BBCode, and Markdown. You can easily create interactive communities by embedding images, videos, and more. Even if WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) is on your list, Vanilla supports that too.
2. Customer Analytics: Vanilla, being a user-friendly platform, enables you to get a 360 degrees view of customer data. This empowers you to make data-driven decisions that result in higher ROI. Here are some tools using which you can obtain key insights into your customer’s preferences:
- Customer Intelligence: This feature enables you to identify your target audience by analyzing market demand and establishing target markets. Based on this, you can improve the overall user experience and stay ahead of the competition.
- Customer Engagement: A major factor that drives the success of an online community is customer trust and loyalty. And Vanilla provides tools curated specifically to achieve that.
- Downloadable Reports: With this function, community managers get the option to download reports in multiple formats and gain a hawk-eye view of all ongoing community activities.
- ROI: To boost returns, Vanilla empowers you to track every community activity and get detailed reports that include data related to sales, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, retention rates, onboarding rates, service costs, and more.
3. Community Management: Community management is a crucial way to build authentic relationships to reflect how you’re a human brand that cares about the people who support and interact with them. Here’s how Vanilla makes community management easy:
- Advanced Portal Features: With its powerful tools and functions like social login, polls, ranking system, and business app integration, you can enhance community portals, such as reminders, engagement tools, and analytics.
- All-in-One Dashboard: With its intuitive and comprehensive dashboard, you get key insights to improve user experience. Also, you can improve efficiency by delegating data viewing access and report generation to specific users.
- Spammers & Trolls Moderation: Getting spammers or unwanted elements in your community is common but getting them out of the way before they create damage is crucial. Vanilla offers you robust anti-spam tools to quickly and easily remove or ban a user and all of that user’s data so that you can create a positive and secure community environment.
- User Management: It makes user management easy by giving you control to create, edit, and delete users and user use-cases. Additionally, you can set a registration method (SSO, registration form, invitation, or approval) for better moderation and management of your community.
4. Community Improvement: Scaling and growing your community requires you to optimize it with robust features. Here’s what Vanilla offers to achieve that:
- Survey Customization: This functionality enables you to create unique surveys that are in alignment with your brand tone and objectives. It also empowers you to practice effective community management based on survey results.
- Gamification: Features such as point systems, engagement meters, rewards, custom badges, reactions, etc, help engage users better by making it a fun and interactive experience for them.
Vanilla enables organizations to take their engagement and ROI a notch higher with its robust features for gamification, moderation, forums, analytics, and more. Packed with a plethora of features, Vanilla communities are the perfect fit for any organization. At Grazitti, we’ve built a few communities on Vanilla Forums for some of our customers and they found them to be absolutely game-changing.
If you’re building a community from scratch or are planning to migrate to a new one, Vanilla Forums can be your best bet to deflect support tickets, boost community participation, and deliver a stellar user experience.
Wish to launch an online community and create a stellar market presence? Talk to us!
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