Online Communities are about two things; Interacting with customers and engaging them on a personal level to help develop your products and services further. You must evaluate the value of your digital presence. Businesses have witnessed income growth thanks to their online support and customer care delivered through their website or on social media. Here are good reasons why you should consider building an online community!

Online communities are generally successful if you can ensure that customers, fans or followers have a platform to connect, interact, conversate, discuss and solve problems on.

Social media is one of the best platforms to build an online community because it provides a large base to recruit from. It also enables interesting conversations to take place. It’s common to see content being spread to broader audiences of users as a result, which is great for organic reach!

Remember, your content acts like a honeypot, not only will it endorse your business but it will be a cause for users to join your community. And, by identifying what works on social media and what’s required- you can build a loyal following, which will promote your brand or business with long term sustainability.

It’s a step by step process and you must have patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t expect your online community to be either!

Overtime, your community will help improve and develop your products and services thanks to data and analytics. This is a fantastic way to understand and study the many different social landscapes that exist online. At Cloudnames, we depend on user-driven data in order to acknowledge our target groups and their interest.

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Your followers or customers will look to you for help, and in most cases they will want to reach out to you. We recommend that you tackle this by creating a support platform proven to be the most popular and effective way to improve customer services and experience.

TripAdvisor has one of the best online communities. This American travel website company providing reviews of travel-related content, also includes interactive travel forums. TripAdvisor was an early adopter of user-generated content.

It has been described as being an amazing influence on the travelling community with their staggering collection of knowledge. Tripadvisor currently has 157,044 forums and over 57,000 photo’s of holiday destinations by their users. This is a great example of how effective community platforms are!

TripAdvisor’s successful online community

TripAdvisor’s successful online community

The best way to endorse your brand or business is through your existing customers, whether it’s through five star ratings, fantastic reviews or five thousand extra likes, when you start building new customers, they will be your true promoters.

And, in order for your community to work, you must dedicate time and effort to study your activities and truly understand what it is your customers want from you. Remember, providing reliable services is essential when trying to maintain good customer relations and when trying to adopt new ones too.

Studying organisation that have already invested in a living breathing community’s online, could reveal trade secrets that prove useful. 23% of new businesses agree that using social media to raise awareness for their community to drive more traffic is effective. The key driver for building an online platform dedicated to your customers or followers, is to provide solutions and solving problems.

For instance, Mumsnet is one of the UK’s largest websites for parents. It hosts discussion forums where users share peer-to-peer advice and information on parenting, products and many other issues. This community has been described as “Highly active, highly ambitious, highly important to members.” This online community is so popular that, they interviewed two Prime Ministers and as a result other companies envy for their attention.

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Many successful organisations will vouch that online communities provide product feedback or ideas, which help improve their overall conversion rates. To build customer confidence and credibility research indicates that over 56% of online customers appreciate being able to ask real time questions.

This is evidently the most valuable thing a community could offer. Both loyal and potential customers will want to learn more about your products and services, and the quicker the response rate, the better!

If the customer finds it hard to source relevant information (as most people like to carry-out a product comparison for example), then your online platform should be prepared to deliver support and information quickly. A support community can boost customer satisfaction, better your products and services resulting in increased revenue for your business.

If you are still asking yourself this question: But, why a community? Let’s discuss the most common attributes of online communities amongst users that show great success…

When the user believes that the community will improve their journey, reduce costs, generate indirect revenue, they have the sense of being apart of a bigger movement. Customers show longer lasting signs of relationships.

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Think of it this way; A typical business hears from 4% of its unhappy customers. Your business should be prepared to be able to change your customer’s experience. According Ruby Newell Legner in “Understanding Customers”; it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Research shows that there are more managers and team leaders that occupy community platforms, which suggests that many of the people who congregate on this kinds of forums are seeking information to help, guide or discuss with others.

This means that if you build a successful community online, your brand or business will be promoted by reliable and worthy sources. This again builds confidence in your customers and following.

Teacher’s Connect is another example of a successful online community for teachers. A great example of why forums still succeed where other platforms fail. With 4,279 posts in the last 24 hours, this community is well liked and well utilised by its members.

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Research undertaken by CMX Leader Networks show that methods of successful new member acquisition were dependent on community profiles. This is why knowing your members personas and creating campaigns that serve the needs of each member persona is important. Carrying out research on your followers or customers will help with creating content that is more desirable.

Maintaining your community is the only way to ensure its success. Often our clients ask questions regarding who should manage the platform. At Cloudnames, we believe that there should be at least one member of your staff who is dedicated to managing your online community.

Nine out of ten online communities have a dedicated community manager or professional. The most successful, long-running and largest communities have one or more members taking care of the engagement and the resources needed to keep it going.

CMX Leader Networks found that respondents who took part in their research, consider their communities very successful are less likely to report on building relationships with users as a top challenge. Instead, they report more of the challenges of gathering and organising product feedback. This suggests that product innovation is an important driver in successful communities.

Strong customer relationships are built by creating value for your members, and the best way to continue with creating or reproducing valuable content is by examining insights. The most desirable outcomes that anyone could hope for from successful communities is; user created content, increased number of members, customer testimonials, product feedback, social shares and revenue generated online.

What We Do At Cloudnames

Cloudnames can help you with everything you need to be your best online. We can manage your complete online presence, your website, Social media profiles, your Digital Marketing Strategy and all the complicated technical details to effectively grow your revenue online.

We offer a managed web design service where we not only design a website with modern mobile friendly responsive design, including the services your customers demand. We also manage your website and keep it updated and secure on a regular basis.

We can also take care of your Search Engine Optimisation, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Accounts and SoMe Marketing and all other Digital marketing campaigns, including email and banner ads. We also deliver all your graphic design, photo, video, curated text content or any other service you will need to maximise your online revenue generation.

Please contact Cloudnames if you have questions or need help! You can reach us by email hello@cloudnames.com or just leave your contact details below and we’ll get right back to you.

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