Online communities are a great way to humanize your brand and engage with your customers, partners, or employees effectively. Many businesses succeed in building an online community, but only a few succeed in building an engaging online community.
In this blog post, we will discuss the crucial elements you need to create an engaging and result-driven online community.
Ingredient 1. Select the right platform
It won’t be incorrect to say that the platform you choose for your online community decides its fate ahead. You can’t build a successful community without a robust and scalable platform.
As member engagement is the key to achieve community success, it’s important that the platform fulfills the requirements of community members. It should complement the objectives and goals you have set for your community.
Besides this, the platform must be flexible to support custom developments as well as be able to integrate well with third-party systems like a document management system, learning management system, etc.
Ingredient 2. Hire a full-time community manager
Most companies focus on investing in a great platform, but fail to realize the importance of human capital. Here, it’s important to understand that bringing in the best technology does not ensure success, unless you invest in hiring a right full-time community manager.
From creating content to managing SEO and testing processes to driving engagement, a community manager works as the backbone of a thriving community.
Once a community starts growing, a community manager’s role becomes more crucial. He needs to focus on the areas which are expanding as well as address the weaker engagement processes.
A community manager’s role remains obsolete in a growing community.
Ingredient 3. Make the difference with C-level executives’ participation
According to a survey, in 58% of the best-performing communities, the organization’s CEO is an active participant.
Online communities, which notice regular activities by the senior executives of the organization gain member trust, thus, higher member engagement rate. Regular monitoring or responding to members’ queries by senior management attracts members as well as builds a positive word of mouth.
Therefore, community management should not be left only to the community manager or support staff, but should be a collaborative effort of the CEO, CMO and other senior executives of the organization.
Ingredient 4. Plan for a sprint to get it right
It’s a known fact that user behavior changes frequently. This is applicable to online communities too. So, if you want to drive member engagement before their behavior changes, it’s better to set short-term goals rather than long-term goals.
The latter requires a detailed planning and takes a long time to achieve, while the former can deliver you instant results. You can set the goals on a weekly or bi-weekly basis rather than on a monthly or an annual basis.
Apart from this, you also need to ascertain that your goals are clearly defined, which complement your business as well as member interests.
Ingredient 5. Strive for customer-centricity
Most businesses set key metrics such as page views, number of posts, time on site and more to measure community engagement. Here, they fail to understand that more than setting these metrics, a customer-centric approach is required to grow the community efficiently.
You should be aware that customers don’t visit your community to view your product promotion or generate referrals for you, but to get answers to their queries. Therefore, it’s vital to address their needs before anything else. You can do this by developing content that fulfills their purpose of being a part of your community.
Ingredient 6. Establish effective & powerful integrations
Integrations are crucial to maintaining the flow of data from your internal systems to your online community and vice-versa. These systems can be your Service Cloud, CRM system, marketing automation platform and other platforms.
With integrations, you can make all your data accessible in a single system as well as reduce staff workload by giving your sales and support reps a complete picture of the customer lifecycle. Further, integrations can also help in engaging your customers more efficiently.
Leveraging these ingredients strategically, you can create a successful online community that drives a high member engagement and ROI for your business.