Online communities work multi-dimensionally and add value to every department of an organization. Majority of businesses believe that diverting community efforts to a single channel could reap them the desired engagement metrics.
But is this the right approach to follow and should businesses re-adjust their primary community objectives? Or should it be a collective effort? Let’s find out.
In our virtual summit – Community (re)Focus – we talked about the evolution of online communities and what the future of communities beholds.
The event compiled the expert opinions of seasoned industry leaders. “The primary focus of your communities” was one topic that received segmented votes. Here is Grazitti’s comprehensive take on this topic.
Below is a pie chart that projects the input of online communities across different channels. Let’s discuss each answer in detail.
Still in the Planning Stage
2.9% of people voted that they were still in the planning stage of deciding the primary focus of their online communities.
Online communities serve as a key source of engagement for organizations. Besides this, communities carry a lot of potential to help you accomplish business goals and give you adequate insights to think of strategic ideas that boost conversion. Brands often underestimate the power of online communities and restrict efforts to solely driving engagement.
However, communities can help achieve much more than that. Let alone engagement, brands can identify the latest trends by analyzing the opinions and ideas of community users and fuel product development.
Useful in Internal Communication
2.9% of people voted that the primary focus of communities should be on facilitating internal communication.
Online communities enable businesses to devise collaborative plans and achieve business goals.
Internal communities are beneficial as they enable existing company employees to follow a cross-functional approach. Employees can share experiences, problems, and solutions as and when required. Knowledge-based communities are ideal for promoting best practices and ideas within the organization.
By focusing primarily on employee satisfaction, organizations can cut down on costs as internal communities directly contribute to talent development. Also, cross-functional communities serve as a powerful tool that connects different departments so that experts can provide their valuable input. Not only do internal communities render employee satisfaction, but are goldmines of knowledge and unique ideas.
3.9% of people believe that the primary focus of online communities should be on stakeholders’ engagement.
Online communities are a great medium to keep stakeholders updated and engaged with the brand. Communities can be used as an effective tool to manage and strengthen partner relationships.
Through online communities, partners can be informed about new product launches, updates, bug fixes, etc. Any issues being faced by the stakeholders can be addressed within the community which minimizes support cost.
If partner engagement via online communities is your primary objective, ensure that you take proactive steps to keep stakeholders vested. By wrapping community efforts around partner engagement, brands can focus on increasing peer production scalability and curate a massive partner ecosystem.
21.4% of respondents voted that the primary focus of online communities should be on devising proactive marketing strategies.
Online communities have become a vital part of the buyer’s journey. Today, the informed user relies on authentic customer reviews about a product/service, conducts research, and then makes a buying decision. Online communities are of prime importance for businesses as users seek the experience and opinions of fellow community members before making a purchase.
But why should marketing be the core objective of online communities? This is because of the large customer base that online communities support. Online communities present businesses with ample opportunities to leverage their marketing initiatives. Communities can help brands scale better with “word-of-mouth” marketing.
Communities allow moderators to analyze trends and showcase information that interests users. This is where user-generated content comes into play. User-generated content minimizes the skepticism of users by empowering them to read genuine reviews, opinions, and more.
Marketing through online communities enables brands to acquaint their products with the target audience and stay with them until a purchasing decision is made. Keeping users constantly involved, recognizing their efforts by gamification, and providing unique content are all parts of the marketing strategy that organizations can leverage.
Focus on Support
29.1% of respondents vouched that the primary focus on online communities should be on offering support.
Exceptional customer journeys can be created through online communities. A major benefit of communities is that it lowers the support cost. Communities can work wonders in resolving customer issues with minimal efforts.
Communities provide users a platform where they can ask questions openly and find relevant answers in the form of user-generated content. This enables the support team to gain insights about customer issues in case they are not able to find a relevant solution which they can refer to in the future.
As a result, the community becomes a transparent platform that encourages users to openly engage and find solutions to problems themselves. However, the availability of support staff should not be entirely neglected. Creating such a space in online communities enables brands to track customer experiences and opinions and improve their products/services.
It is a Mix of Everything
39.8% of respondents voted that the primary focus of online communities should be on every aspect of a business.
Online communities empower businesses to align their marketing initiatives with their business objectives and drive growth.
From increasing customer engagement to performing comprehensive market research, communities carry all the answers. Before a community is launched, it is essential to identify the right audience, tap their needs, devise plans, invent engagement strategies. This makes communities a perfect mix of everything.
Wish to know more about online communities? Know more.
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