Leveraging the power of a community encompasses more than just an individual’s talent. The biggest reason people belong to a certain community is the chance of learning from one another. A community of like-minded people presents an increased chance of meeting someone who’s willing to take you under their wing and provide mentorship. A community enables an individual to have a chance to improve their professional and personal network. Naturally, communities contain a diversity of opinions, ideas, and knowledge from others that one would never encounter alone without their inspiration and resources.
Types of Online Communities
There are several communities in the world, and among them are the digital communities. These digital communities can help consumers understand a product or service and it’s potential role in that individual’s daily life.
A support community provides technical support to the consumers of a company’s products or services. A strong digital support community can reduce the customer service call volume and increase the service’s resolution. This is done by having a collective of knowledgeable users and customers answering the other customer’s questions.
An internal community boosts productivity by allowing employees to locate information and connect directly with people who can help them on issues related to work. Duplicate effort can be reduced by a strong internal community, apart from facilitating information sharing. Users of this community use collaborative features like the chat room, blog, online collaboration, file storage, and integration with existing business systems.
A media community allows users to share news and content around a company. Eye witness accounts, news events, and news leads can be sourced from the media community (but they should be verifiable). It acts as a source for eye-witness accounts of the news event and for other news leads. The media community allows participants to comment and share opinions as current events.
A topical community is used to address a specific subject or related topics. It allows members to voice their opinions on the specific topics. The typical feature of a topical community involves FAQ and “locally sourced” expertise providing expert advice to spawn conversation.
A developer community empowers developers to find quick-solution paths on technical issues. Developers post direct and involving questions and answers in the same tone. Through this platform, the community is enabled to discuss and engage in targeted topics associated with technology development.
With a gaming community, members can share gaming experience, game plans, and team forming. This is a hybrid group of topical and developer communities with a large social aspect and with highly technical discussions. Companies create these communities with the intention to build brand loyalty.
Establishing a relationship between the consumer and a seller through the emergence of the above communities has become a new science. It is a new market to be tapped by companies, and to do so requires an understanding of the relationships built within online communities.
According to Social Hubsite, 53% of brands claim social media is the top driver for relationship building and brand engagement, twice as much as email and four times that of traditional websites. This implies a likely familiarity and active engagement with the concept of social communities. Digital communities create opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences in a way that is natural and personal. Digital communities make it easy to gauge customer feedback and satisfaction levels. Through targeted community interactions, you can generate excitement, launch products, or announce events, without all the traditional hassle. Loyalty that leads to long-term business relationships, increased referrals, and lowered marketing costs results when customers feel connected to a brand.
Research on Budget and Time
Keeping costs under control is important for any business. Travelling to the central location and dealing with all of the associated travel costs and logistics needs proper cost management. However, conducting a series of business hubs in multiple regions and cities or even countries makes your investments grow exponentially. Luckily, online communities eliminate all of these travel and cost barriers. All participants, moderators, and observers can join the online community from any location and with any device. With a well-designed digital engagement tool, costs could be cut to their minimum. These cost-savings will leave more resources for other activities.
Online communities allow consumers to participate from their computer, tablet, or mobile phone. They can share their opinions and insights anywhere, anytime and with any device. Unlike in-person conferences, feedback doesn’t stop immediately after a few hours in a conference room. This offers multiple advantages to the marketers and researchers who need to better understand their consumers’ real lives and experiences. With an online community, you can engage participants when they are using a product or service, in store or out of store.
The growth of mobile technology and social media has transformed the way that voluntary sector organizations fundraise and connect with their supporters. According to a survey by charityDynamics entitled: “The Next 10 Years of Digital Fundraising”, 50% of people think that more than 30% of donations will come in a digital form. 85% of people believe the role of social media in fundraising will increase. Online giving is an important part of donating for supporters – the average online charity donation jumped by 32% to nearly £70 in 2013 due to the benefits that social media can bring which provides networking, real time experience, and the shared consciousness of users. On that highlight, PayPal has become a default option for registered charities who can’t afford the resources to have a fully operational payments system connected directly to their bank. Moreover, Facebook launched the donate button in the US in 2013 and immediately Twitter began trialing it’s purchase button in America.
Quality Market Research
Social platforms and generally the online communities, offer a heap of information for businesses because they provide feedback that comes directly from the customer. In relevant digital communities, quality market research can be even more helpful. The feedback and conversations the business receives come from individuals who are experts in the field. They want to be in the know about the process of bettering their field of interest.
Most experts agree that at the heart of every community is a shared purpose. The 2017 Community Values and Metrics Report found that 54% of respondents endorsed it as a strategic initiative for their organization. Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks, adds that B2B online communities are professional networks that contain a blend of content and collaboration opportunities around a shared business-based experience. On his 2015 article, Simon Wakeman, the MD of Deeson, a problem solving digital agency that designs and builds useful platforms for innovative clients, said that:
“For those where customers were inactive most of the time with long intervals between purchases, online communities presented an opportunity to build a longer term relationships with potential customers.”
Online communities can be a good quick fix for many business functions and a great way to reach new audiences and customers. At Cyberius, an experienced digital marketing company, we are glad to help you with your businesses’ online community needs – contact us or visit the main site for details. Also feel free to reach out to us via one of our social media channels. Thank you for taking the time to read this article and learn more about online communities.