Online communities tend to be dynamic in nature and that has resulted in some myths surrounding them. Myths can deprive a community of its expected outcomes and weaken the efforts of networking as well. The primary goal of any online community is to serve its members with quality content, collaboration, and solutions to their problems.
According to Gartner, 70%[i] of online communities are destined to fail. When you build a community solely based on myths, the possibility of its failure rises.
Let’s quickly take a look at five common community development myths and their counterfacts.
Myth 1 – Creating Your Community on a Widely-Explored Subject is Not Beneficial
You are thinking about creating an online community that offers solutions to your potential customers’ problems. For instance, you are a web development service provider and want to offer web-development solutions to your potential customers. Naturally, a lot of similar spaces exist. So, what is the point of creating something similar?
Just like businesses face competition, communities face it too. You gain a competitive advantage by creating a community with a friendly environment that is specific to your business and your target audience. Push useful content that complements the core community goal and fosters quality engagement. Keep working on ways to keep your members engaged. Just figure out your ‘reason for being’ and stick to it.
Myth 2 – Only You Know What’s Best for Your Community
You created a community by assuming the interests and expectations of your target audience and how it will benefit you financially. But does that necessarily mean that only you know what’s best for your community?
Granted you have an idea about the ultimate goal of your community but you can’t always be right about your members’ interests and expectations. It’s definitely a good thing that they are often vocal about their requirements. So, listen to them. When you offer a platform to people, you give them a space where they can openly share feedback, interact, and ideate to improve the community. Therefore, you need to respond to their collective voice to show that they are being heard. Also, acting on their suggestions and feedback might help you get there faster.
Myth 3 – Building a Platform is Enough, Members Will Join Organically
Creating a space that offers meaningful interactions and adds value to the participants’ purpose of joining your community will bring a massive audience on its own in no time. And that sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
Acquiring and retaining members in your online community takes a lot more than just content creation. You probably have come across many abandoned message boards on the web. They are usually populated with a variety of useful topics but do not get responses. To avoid ending up like them, you need to come up with effective promotion strategies. Spending strategically on your community’s marketing is a great way to promote it and gain new members, as opposed to spending a lot on member acquisition alone. You can then use resourceful content like FAQs, quick-tips, how-to’s, etc, to keep your members hooked to your space. Lastly, use community moderation to keep the interaction flowing without causing conflicts.
Myth 4 – Determining the Cost and Benefits of Community Development Beforehand is Not Essential
In a world where brands are focused on reaching out to a wider audience, they often fail to analyze other factors like cost. The belief that brands need to spend blindly is driven by peer pressure that comes from marketing agencies.
If you don’t have an accurate cost-benefit analysis for your community, you might end up wasting resources like time, money, and effort while building your community. You need to weigh operational costs against customer satisfaction and financial benefits through members’ engagement metrics from the very start. Clearly outlined costs associated with community development will empower you to reap community benefits, including:
- Effective branding
- Better customer retention
- Accurate member preference capturing
- Enhanced responsiveness
Myth 5 – Communities are Limited to Message Forums and Chats
Most community managers use their platform to broadcast news and information among their members. If you are also limited to this and not providing any unique value, people may not want to continue engaging, ultimately defying the purpose of creating a branded community in the first place.
The primary goal of your online community should be to recognize the interests and expectations of people and form an interaction around them. A successful community needs a range of activities that offer something for everyone and with the right amount of frequency. Some of the activities involve:
- One-on-one interactions
- Blog posts
- How-to videos
- Interactive chat threads
- Chatbots for support
Monitoring the success and failure of your previous activities will help you analyze the right activities that will keep your community members engaged in the long run.
With the evolving business landscape, communities need to evolve as well. By busting these myths and taking their counterfacts into consideration, you would be on your way to building a successful brand community that brings in quality engagement and ROI.
Wish to come up with a fact-driven strategy to build a stellar community? Talk to us!
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