Evolving Your Online Community Beyond A Support Forum

Evolving Your Online Community Beyond A Support Forum

Gone are the days when brand-building was just one-way communication. The key nowadays is co-creation and enabling customers to build your brand with you. And the smartest way to go about it is establishing a branded community.

With online communities on the scene, brands are able to onboard customers, house answered support questions, and deflect tickets effortlessly. However, times are changing, and so are customer expectations. To keep your customers truly engaged, you need to bring your A-game and take your community beyond simple “break-fix” solutions.

Establishing A Future-Ready Brand Community

Brand community is merely a platform for providing “break-fix” solutions — members come in, get an answer to their queries, and leave. Communities that unleash a platform to connect on a deeper and more insightful level seldom fail to deliver a rewarding experience for both creators and members of the community. The ultimate goal should be to create a network of customers who can brainstorm together to provide strategic help, best practices, and extend beyond the scope of a support forum. Let’s see how you can achieve that.

1. Listen & Act Proactively to Stand Out From Your Competitors

You and your competitors might look the same on paper but the way your communities operate can be the biggest differentiator. Online communities play an enormous role in delivering exceptional customer experience.

Ensure timely responses on threads and discussions to make your members feel valued. Additionally, pull off sentiment analysis to discover how people are talking about your brand and explore the most powerful way to engage with them. Provide proactive support and guidance accordingly to ensure those moments of delight and surprises, thus establishing unwavering credibility for your brand.

2. Facilitate Ideation & Crowdsourcing

Customer engagement is a two-way street. To encourage users to engage with you and each other, you need to ensure that they feel heard. ‘How to do that’ is what you are wondering? The thumb rule is acknowledge and take into account customer complaints and feedback to upgrade your products and services.

Track the most common complaints and new feature ideas in your community to influence your upgradation pipeline. Whenever you implement a change based on the community member’s feedback, do let them know. After all, humans love when their recommendation (or frustration) is taken seriously and spurs action.

By and large, use online communities to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with your customers, leading to greater brand loyalty and cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

3. Drive Customer Loyalty & Brand Advocacy

A well-thought-out community strategy enables you to find, nurture, and reward customer advocates. Based on your users’ activities, identify the potential customers and help them mount the advocacy ladder to better engage and grow your community.

Leverage smart apps like Community Helper and Knowbler to recognize the top contributors of your community. Acknowledge their efforts with gamification, badges, ribbons, etc., and guide them towards a journey from user to advocate.

4. Contribute to Lead Generation & New Member Acquisition

Lead generation is the key to business growth. Since brand communities make you discoverable and provide value propositions right away, it can be a great source to generate leads and acquire new members.

Through discussion forums, articles, new feature ideas, etc., communities create tons of user-generated content. The greater the community grows, the bigger the pool of this data becomes; boosting leads and ensuring higher brand awareness.

5. Enable Hassle-Free & Seamless Training

One of the smartest ways to make members linger on your community is by incorporating training and enablement materials into it. Share your KB articles, irrespective of whether they are shared by a third party or curated right in your community, so that your customers have access to all useful content at one place. Additionally, integrate your learning tracks to onboard customers seamlessly.

Looking For Ways To Quantify Your Online Community’s Success & ROI?

Despite incorporating all the must-have elements of a foolproof community, are you struggling to prove its worth to the C-suite? If yes, then this e-book is for you. Download it now to learn how you can quantify your online community’s worth and get an easy approval for all your resources and initiatives.