How to attract an audience? How to convert better?
That’s the dilemma most businesses face when relatively new or in the scaling phase. But have you ever thought about what actually will reap the desired engagement and conversion?
Enter – Online Communities.
Undoubtedly, buyers have become savvier today as they prefer conducting their own research, reading reviews, and then finally making a purchase decision. And online communities are playing a pivotal role in boosting ROI by converting better.
But to make your online community thrive and recognizable, what should you consider doing in its initial stages? All this and more was answered by community enthusiasts in an intriguing session on ‘Community Development and the Power of Engagement’ at Community (re)Focus, 2021.
Our distinguished guests for the session were:
- Ryan Rutan – Senior Director of Community, Synack, Inc.
- Christina (Mattoni) Brashear – Community Builder and Strategist, Dentsu International
- Piper Wilson – Community Manager, Grazitti Interactive
Let’s dive right into the key insights that were covered during the session and understand all about the nitty-gritty of building engaging online communities, shall we?
Launching an Online Community and its Common Challenges
On being asked about the most common challenges that organizations come across while launching an online community, Ryan explained that budgeting is one of the key factors of consideration.
He mentioned that to grow and nurture a community, it is essential to have a proper budget allocated. And that’s exactly what brands miss out on. Community managers will be able to map out the initiatives and plan their activities according to the assigned budget. And if that’s not sufficient, it won’t guarantee the desired engagement numbers.
Furthermore, Ryan explained that it is crucial to work on your community in the first few years of its development. Community managers must ensure that the numbers are consistently growing. After this, they should focus on building and strengthening their relationship with the community members.
In response to this, Christina added that community managers should set a community vision. They must ensure that the community members are well aware of the community goals and guidelines.
Engaging Your Community Users Without Overwhelming Them
Moving on, Piper asked the community specialists about what brands should do to engage their community members without overwhelming them. To answer this, Christina explained community managers should take the initiative of explaining community goals during member onboarding. This helps maintain transparency between community objectives and expectations.
Also, it is important to limit the options that members have in the initial phases of the community. When the members have limited options, there’s clarity about what their next step of action will be. Brands should keep adding new features and building on the current features in the community in synergy with user behavior and acceptance.
Ryan discussed that online communities are a function of business plans. To boost engagement in a community, brands should highlight the achievements and progress of their community members. He also mentioned that all community programs should be measured using the same metrics. The goal of a community manager should be to channel the user’s needs and fulfill them to create superlative experiences.
Identifying Your Community Vision
Talking about identifying community vision, Christina explained that community managers should set a vision for the community and make it clear amongst the members. They should strategize to solve any challenges that the community members are facing.
Adding to this, Ryan discussed that it is crucial to understand user demographics and then personalize their experience accordingly. That’s what makes it easier for them to log back into the community.
‘The beauty of a community is that it touches every facet of the business’. Saying this, he mentioned that every action that takes place in the community should be intentional and thoughtful. Only then will community managers be able to grow their community and locate what’s working for them and what’s not.
Concluding the session, Ryan explained that community managers should only pick up goals that they can execute. Too many activities can kill a community by distracting the community members.
Setting community goals after you’ve developed your online community serve as the building blocks for community growth. Ensure that your community is solving challenges that your users face. Online communities are a validated channel to build brand awareness, convert leads, and boost ROI. With well-defined goals and right moderation practices, online communities can become a strong marketing channel that encourages repeat business.
Learn more about creating advanced online communities. Talk to us!
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