Online communities have changed the way people communicate.
They have become a key medium for members to exchange thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. Not just this, it is a channel for brands to strengthen authentic relationships with the customers and gain deeper insights into their preferences and needs.
But in order to do that, should you keep your community open or closed? Many brands struggle to find the right answer to this question.
So, to make it easier for you to understand the key difference between an open and closed community, let’s deep dive into each concept, shall we?
What is an Open Online Community?
If your aim is purely marketing, then an open online community is your best bet. We say this because open communities are a great way to boost SEO rankings.
Typically, such communities follow a Q&A model that is a delight for SEO engines! The open community model is generally opted for by B2C companies. The reason being that consumer companies don’t really foster deep relationships with their customers. They pay less attention to customer conversations taking place in the community publicly and the information being shared.
The main goal of such communities is to provide customers with easy access to abundant information, while spreading brand awareness. This is why these communities are social login ready. Examples of leading open online communities are Quora, Reddit, and Blue Jeans.
An open online community is where –
- Anyone who has internet access can be a part of the community and view all information.
- Users use their credentials only when they wish to contribute to the community.
What is a Closed Online Community?
Closed or private online communities come with their own set of benefits. The participation in closed online communities is higher, due to repeat member contributions. A private community fosters a safe environment for members to collaborate. This is why members feel more comfortable sharing their genuine opinions.
The main advantage of an online community that’s closed is that the engagement rate is usually high. A private community is full of informational content in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, GIFs, memes, and more. Members have access to all this information which they can share within a closed-knit group and seek genuine advice.
Brands also get an opportunity to know their audience better by adopting a humanized tone and building authentic connections with them. Some examples of such communities are IBM Corporate Social Responsibility Community and New Holland.
A private online community is where –
- Knowledge can be exclusively accessed by registered members.
- Login credentials are mandatory to access information.
- Administrators can deny access to members based on a set criterion.
What Should You Choose?
Whether it’s an open community or a closed community, the decision completely depends upon your target audience and the primary goals that you wish to achieve from your online community.
Pro tip – Before deciding if your online community will be open or closed, ensure that you weigh the pros and cons of each type. Also, choose a community platform that is feature-rich and in alignment with your business goals.
Wish to Build a Dynamic Online Community for a Stellar Brand Presence? Talk to Us!
Team Grazitti has extensive experience in building dynamic online communities that empower you to take your business to the next level. To know more about our CMaaS expertise, drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll take it from there.
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