The most visited online communities are those that offer members a truly engaging experience and value for their time invested. But creating such engaging destinations requires careful planning.
Anyone who has created an online community and has had the chance to maintain one knows it is a tough nut to crack. It might be easy to create an online community, but maintaining it, keeping up engagement, retaining customers, and upholding the community’s progress is not.
To make a community thrive, it is a lot of work for the community manager.
Let’s take a look at some key points to keep in mind while on your journey to create cutting-edge online communities.
1. Make Customer Onboarding a Part of Your Community Building Process
Building authentic connections with customers is one of the best ways to brace customer loyalty. To foster this trust, here are a few things you can do to make them feel valued and more like a part of your community.
- Set up community guidelines to provide your users a safe space to interact and share their thoughts.
- Create an FAQ page to provide immediate general information.
- Create a community introductory video to make your customers familiar with your community.
- Give them a warm welcome in the community and let other members know you have new onboarding.
- Create a space or activity where they can get introduced to your entire community members.
2. Listen to Your Customers
The voice of your brand is the content that you post. And to avoid writing content that does not add value to your company, you must actively listen to your customers.
Listening does not mean hearing the problems and answering them. Listening means connecting and paying a close ear to their needs and understanding it all to help them achieve their goal.
To be specific, figure out what your customers want through analytics tools like Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot, Eloqua, and more. Consecutively check the content performance, track what form of content gets more engagement, conduct polls, surveys, or create discussion threads. Get hold of what your customers enjoy, and create content around it.
When you are an attentive listener, determine every detail, and reflect everything into your work – you consistently get in-tune with customer emotions. That reduces churn rate, improves interaction with customers, customer loyalty, increases opportunities to upsell & cross-sell, and improves retention.
3. Iterate Your Community With Something New and Interesting
Analyze your demographics and see what your audiences like including videos, small posts, long-form articles, short how-to videos, conversational blogs, or infographics – and produce more content in response to that. Ensure that you post at least two or three times a week, as consistency is the key to engagement.
The more content you create around what your customers like, the more it will engage your audience.
4. Pay Attention to Feedback
An online community is a space where members can share their views about your products and services. This feedback serves as a goldmine of information for the brand to gain insights into the member’s needs and perceptions about their products and services. And this feedback, when acted upon by the community managers, can pave a constructive and progressive road for your community.
Also, remember, the one who leaves the feedback wants to get heard. So, when you receive feedback, do not forget to acknowledge the critique, and thank them for helping you make improvements in your community.
Choosing to acknowledge feedback and working upon it will help you create a blooming community, all while fostering a healthy culture.
5. Lead Your Community to a Bright Future
One thing that deflates the customers’ interest in your community is – when they do not get an adequate response to their queries.
Acknowledge conversations that need your attention. The activities, discussions, or conversations that might need your lookout can be – people disagreeing on something, a controversial talk, a conflict between the community members, and similar situations.
Be a thought leader, a problem-solver, and a provider of your community – because that is the best way to build a thriving and vibrant online community. Leaders, contributing to a community by coordinating and communicating with the members, offer a better customer experience. Having said that, you want people to know that you are a go-to place for all the solutions your customers need.
By doing so, you will know your customers better, serve them better, and reduce the friction between the community. Not just this, you will also be able to sustainably fulfill the reason for creating the community, such as:
- Collecting data
- Fostering relationships
- Improving engagement
- Generating ideas and innovating
- Boosting brand awareness
- Increasing user trust and loyalty
- Curating user-generated content
- Improving customer support
But, if you fail to entertain your customers and keep them engaged, you will lose the connection with your customers sooner than you might have thought.
So, to overcome the challenges of running a community and fostering real and genuine interactions, remember to act upon the points mentioned above. You will witness an excellent start to your community building journey.
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