There are several benefits to consider here including being able to spot your top-level customers more easily. You know, the ones that bring in around 80% of all your sales! Then there is the fact that by creating an online community you can forge long-term connections with customers, as well as get some hugely important information on how to improve how you run. Indeed, creating an online community for your business has many benefits, and the good news is you can find out how to do this in the post below.
Offer something of value
‘Build it and they will come,’ may be excellent advice when it comes to ghosts, but it’s not going to cut it with your customers. Indeed, you have to remember that before you build an online community you need to have something to offer those that join.
For example, if you are a business that offers custom-made and short-run jewelry pieces setting up a community where customers can connect, compare, and even swap and sell items that are no longer for sale can be a hugely valuable endeavor.
Similarly, if you are a cleaning product business, a forum filled with professional cleaning tips, as well as peer to peer advice from those already using your product can be enough to entice people in.
Don’t over-invest your time
Online communities have many benefits for businesses but they can also be massive time sucks too. Indeed, you can spend hours moderating forums, and measuring analytics that may or may not pay off.
With that in mind, it’s a smart idea to keep an overview of what is happening in your online community but not be too actively involved in it. That may mean assigning moderators from the community itself and even keeping analytics to a bare minimum such as the number of comments a post gets.
If you want your online community to be successful, then you need to invest in it properly. This means making sure you have someone on your team that is dedicated to getting things set up, even if they take a more hands-off approach over the longer term.
It also means investing in decent online forum software and making sure that your hosting service is reliable. After all, customers won’t end up using your site, if it’s not easy and simple to do so. Remember when it comes to forums customer experience matters!
Variety will keep people coming back
Boredom is a very real threat to any online community and forum, and it can set it like rot if you aren’t careful! With that in mind, it is very important to add variety and diversity into your online communities.
That often means adding new threads and posing new questions as a discussion starting point. It also means having more than one room operating at once, where different topics can be discussed at the same time. For example, you could have the main room where talk is mostly about your brand, but then additional spaces for tips, jokes, general discussion, and the like. Thus keeping things as interesting and relevant to visitors as possible.