The Benefits for Your Business Before and After Online Communities

Online communities are more than a place on the internet where members share space, knowledge and time.

In terms of space i.e. infrastructure, online communities are platforms where technology should run seamlessly. What does that mean in real life? Online communities should be easy to use, and should fit the tech requirements of its members so that they can access the content from any place and any device.

Regarding access to the knowledge, the purpose of the community should be clearly defined. The community owner should be able to answer one single question every single day: what is the purpose of this community and which problem do we try to solve? In such a scenario community owners or managers become catalysts for open innovation, as well as enablers for steady information flow.

Communities should enable knowledgeable professionals with the existing reputation and those just starting out to create value together through content and connections. Those who give initial foundations to the community building will set the tone and topics for the conversations, as well as the code of conduct.

When it comes to the time spent on the platform, members will be inclined to participate over and over again only if they get a positive feedback loop and additional value each and every time. The retention of users is important and you members will interact more with you if they feel that the time spent on the platform is valuable.

Rand Fishkin in an article for Moz talks about fundamental principles you should consider when you build a community:

  1. Use the community as the best SEO tool for your business because your community becomes your own platform.
  2. Apart from not creating on someone else’s platform, you should not use a subdomain or separate domain.
  3. Your platform should be optimized so that you do not lose credibility even when it is in its early beginnings. You do not want your members to see the community as ‘‘empty’’ and ‘‘lonely’’ so our advice to start out with 100 units of content will be useful to you.
  4. Before you build the community, you should have a group of people committed to create the community and be in the group of the first active members.

As a business leader, seriously committed to the company growth and reputation, you may question the before and after effects of the communities.

Top Scenarios how Communities Enhance Your Business Profitability:

Dion Hinchcliffe believes that all the organizational levels and types of stakeholders for a professional organizations should be involved in the community.

  • The model of the digital network enables people to work in a flat hierarchy, with online tools and at the convenience of their own schedule.
  • You may organize your communities around a business function: innovation, sales, marketing, and customer care in order to enhance the efficiency among members of the same team.
  • You may use the community to upgrade your business model as you interact, learn, share, and transact. Well-designed communities function from vertical to horizontal and the leadership is encountered at all levels.
  • Likewise, you may use the community as the focal point for generating demand for your business.

If your brand needs to raise awareness of potential customers through advocacy, if you need to handle interests of buyers in the pre-sales cycle, if you want to connect the community to CRM, there is a way to do that. You may shorten the time for customers to make the purchasing decisions or how long shall they wait in order to get the response.

  • You may provide resources to your tribe as millions of people in the collaborative economy want to share items rather than own them. Think AirBnB, Uber, TaskRabbit or eBay.
  • When it comes to engagement you may build new services around communities: you may upgrade your supply chain; you may scout and recruit sales affiliates; you may rely on the industry transformation; and you may receive partner support.
  • In our next articles we will look for the effects that communities create for your business in marketing, sales, operations, customer service, and open innovation.
    With an online community, your business is omnipresent, 24/7 in all time zones and on the weekends.

In our next articles we will look for the effects that communities create for your business in marketing, sales, operations, customer service, and open innovation.

With an online community, your business is omnipresent, 24/7 in all time zones and on the weekends.

Written by: Milena Milićević