So, what’s all the craze with digital communities? We’re glad you asked. Digital communities have a host of benefits for your business, which we’ll talk about in this short article and in the infographic below; But it must be emphasized that these communities are complementary to your business structure, and not a replacement of any service you may provide.
Building a digital community gives you more opportunities to connect with your audience(s) in a way that’s natural and personal. Through targeted community interactions, you’ll be able to generate excitement, launch products, and announce events without all the hassle that sometimes comes with the traditional ways of doing things.
On top of that, social media is a growing avenue for business growth. Around 53% of brands claim that social media is the top driver for their relationship building and brand engagement – twice as much as email, and four times that of a traditional website! Wow. Back in 2016, Facebook enjoyed the highest rate of customer engagement, with 63% and a 15 day engagement rate, Instagram followed at 27% with an 11 days engagement rate, Twitter at 25% with 7.5 days, and Google+ at 17% with 3.2 days. And there are other social media channels as well, such as slack, Reddit, RocketChat, etc.
Be aware that there are many different types of digital communities, and some may do better on particular platforms than on others. You could create a Support Community, which provides technical support to the consumers of your products or services. Or you could create an Internal Community, which uses collaborative features with your existing business systems (chat rooms, file storage, etc.). Still yet, you could create a Media Community, which allows users to share news and content about your company. You could even create a Topical Community, which is used to address a specific topic or related topics – this allows customers to voice their opinions. You could create a Developer Community, which empowers developers to find quick-solution paths concerning technical issues. Or you could create a Gaming Community, where members can share gaming experience, game plans, and the formation of teams. There may even be more, you have many options to choose from.
As briefly mentioned at the top of this article, there are some things that a digital community IS NOT, and should not be treated as. 1. Your digital community IS NOT a replacement of your full on customer support service. The main use of your digital community is to listen to the consumers and build loyalty with them, not to be a sole means of customer support. 2. Your digital community IS NOT a showcase place for your community manager. Successful digital communities should crowdsource answers to spark thoughtful discussions, advice, and insights. 3. Your digital community IS NOT an organism that grows by itself. A digital community must be nurtured in order to thrive. This means engaging members with fresh content and thoughtful discussions.
There are (at least) five reasons why you should build a digital community. The first is Co-Innovation – your community helps to develop the future of your company. The second is Customer Success – a community creates an environment that ensures that customers are successful. The third is Learning (2.0) – it’s a simple fact that people learn in networks and communities. The fourth is Career Opportunities – a community is the best place for members to learn, grow, and have the opportunity to start a career. And the fifth is Family Factors – some of the bonds made in communities can go far beyond purely professional relationships. Further benefits of having a digital community include: improved products and services, easy measurement of customer satisfaction, valuable insights to improve customer experience, gains in customer retention, and better customer advocacy.
While building your digital community, there’s a few things you should remember to do. First, you definitely need to create an editorial approach. Second, you also need to involve volunteers in the process. Third, you need to facilitate your community members, make their time with you easy, convenient, informative, and engaging. Fourth, you should create a long term plan of what you will do with your digital community, and how you will handle it as time moves on. And fifth, you need to recognize and reward individuals who display or show admirable deeds and behaviors within the community concerning your business.
Here’s a couple of quotes from experts on the subject of digital communities:
“The strength of the digital community has a real impact on the development of the brand.”
~ Kacper Bakczyk, Project Manager at Cyberius
“A strong community base is usually needed for the success of a venture. Rchain is a shining example.”
~ Georgi Georgiev, of rchain.coop
We wish you all well on your digital community adventures, please do let us know if you need any assistance on your journey, and please enjoy the infographic below.