With the increasing demand for online communities, community managers need a platform that effectively organizes a community strategy and determines community’s software needs. A powerful and flexible platform allows communities to gather user feedback, empowers knowledgeable employees to interact with customers and provides a public space for learning and discussion. Many communities are using platforms like Drupal, Salesforce, Get Satisfaction, Bloomfire, vBulletin, Lithium and many more to build a better customer connection.
If your organization is already using a community platform software solution to provide a better user experience and still, your community is not performing up to the mark, then it’s time to move to a better platform.
With the frequent release of new technologies and applications, communities need to upgrade their own custom features to keep their audience intact and active. So, opting for a newer, better platform can be a great way to get the best of your online community and minimizing the hassle.
5 common considerations for migrating to a better community platform
Before choosing an online community platform, it is important to have a basic strategic framework that defines features and data fields present in the new community platform. Here are some of the considerations to help you find the best platform for your community:
- Effective maintenance cost: Look for a platform that can reduce maintenance cost. Cloud based data centres can save organization’s time and money they have to pay only for the resources they consume.
- Seamless upgrades: Look for a platform that can easily upgrade the existing services or monetize new ones in real time without affecting the user experience.
- Rapid implementation and integration: Look for a platform that can easily implement latest features in your community and increase the effectiveness of the community by integrating latest technologies and applications.
- Easy customization: Look for a platform that is capable of developing its own custom features like sharing files, integrated groups and the like to make community management convenient.
- License: Look for a platform that provides licenses that are pretty liberal to work with and allows you to create open source commercial applications.
Some leading online community platforms
One of the biggest challenges in choosing an online community platform is the broad range of available options. These options vary widely in terms of their cost, capabilities and complexity. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the popular community platforms that can provide several significant ways to customize a community:
Salesforce, a Cloud platform that enables rich collaboration among employees, customers, partners, suppliers and distributors to deliver a convenient and social way to interact with your front, back office personnel.
- All-in-one customer community platform with integrated community, events, CMS, etc.
- CMS features, search engine, wikis, calendars, member profiles and directory
- Social analytics, CRM integration and product management tools
- Online groups, forums and private social network
Lithium, a Saas community platform that provides extensive support for community developers and requires no additional hardware for installation.
- Capture insights from peer-to-peer conversations
- CRM integration
- Mobile optimized
- Route support requests from Facebook and Twitter with Lithium Social Web integration
Jive, a social business software platform that includes social networking, collaboration software, community software, and social media monitoring to extend a layer of social capabilities across the business.
- Out-of-the-box CRM integration
- Dashboards and reporting tools for insightful analytics
- Automatic SEO for community pages
- Social media monitoring application
Joomla, an open source PHP based community platform, enables customers to build Web sites and powerful online applications with minimum instructions.
- Inventory control systems
- Data reporting tools
- Integrated e-commerce systems
- Custom product catalogues
WordPress, an open source CMS system that enables customers to create simple websites, blogs, complex portals, enterprise websites, applications and more.
- SEO optimized
- Easy installation and upgrades
- Full standards compliance
Some other reasons for switching community platforms
- For improved customer experience
- For streamlined organizational experience
- For integrated business processes
- For leveraged social intelligence
- For single sign-on
Click here, to know more about switching community platforms.