Hello everyone, and hope you are doing great? I just started a case study on my specialization and hope you will love it! I decided we should discuss this case study of Amadurs Point Of View For A Successful Online Community.
But before we get started let us know what exactly is online community. According to Wikipedia. An online community, also called an internet community or web community, is a virtual community whose members interact with each other primarily via the Internet.
For many, online communities may feel like home, consisting of a “family of invisible friends”. To help throw more light, an online community is a group of people with common interests who use the Internet (websites, email, instant messaging, etc) to communicate, work together and pursue their interests over time.
Below you’ll see that I’ve provided an illustration of how and why online communities can be valuable.
Online communities are communities first and online second. By this, I mean that we all live in and around real-world communities all the time- just forget the word online for now. You live in a geographic community, you work within a professional community, you may go to worship centre with a religious community and your friends represent a social community. Wherever people share common interests, there is a community.
However, you may never feel that you are a part of these communities. One reason may be geography- it simply isn’t easy enough for the members of your community to get together in a single place. Secondly, there may not be an easy way for you to communicate and get to know the other community members. Lastly, it may be that no one else realizes the community exists.
Now, in terms of these real life communities, think about the possibilities if there were ways to overcome these obstacles.
- What if you were able to be an active member of these real-life communities?
- What if there was an easy way to find and get to know the other members?
- What if you could have discussions with them easily?
- What if you could compare notes and use other members as resources?
- Do you think you could learn from other members?
- Do you think you could expand your network of friends and associates?
- Do you think the whole community could benefit by working together?
- Do you think you would feel like you were a part of something special?
Online Communities provide real-world communities a place to come together using the Internet. By being a member of an online community, you benefit in many of the same ways you would a real world community- it’s just that you use the Internet.
- Instead of traveling to a coffee shop or hotel, you meet at a web site
- Instead of having face-to-face discussion, you post messages to one another
- Instead of picking a time and place to meet, the community is always-on.
- Instead of depending on a physical location or resource to keep track of community events and activities, a website can do it for you.
All-in-all, online communities are about people needing an easier and more accessible way to get together. In business or socially, online communities have the power to create lasting and productive relationships where none existed before. In the future, in many different forms, I believe that online communities will become a greater part of our lives.
Now allow me digress a bit. No matter how great your features and functionality are, if you don’t build your community from a customer-centric point of view, you’ll be left with a virtual ghost town. Your online community has the potential to drive sales, build trust, significantly improve loyalty, and reduce service costs.
However, the heart of a community is not profit; community is all about relationships and interaction. So instead of starting with a business strategy, we recommend that you start with your customer in mind. No matter how great your features and functionality are, if you don’t build your community from a customer-centric point of view, you’ll be left with a virtual ghost town.
To create a thriving online community, start by exploring these few features to harness the enthusiasm of your customers and build strong connections.
For A Successful Online Community: Activated Advocates
Successful online communities encourage, honor, and showcase their super users. When you empower your most passionate community members, they will develop into brand advocates, who often contribute the majority of content while also actively assisting other customers.
For A Successful Online Community: Relevant Content
Smart brands understand the value of creating an environment that encourages users to produce useful and authentic content. Because it’s written by real people for real people, user-generated content (UGC) is more likely to be trusted and shared.
For A Successful Online Community: Mobile Responsiveness
More people worldwide access the internet from mobile devices than from their desktop.1 For your online community experience to be rewarding to all users, it must be mobile-responsive.
For A Successful Online Community: Crowdsourced Ideas
Collect ideas for product innovation and feedback from your best customers by enabling features that allow customers to submit ideas, vote, and add comments.
For A Successful Online Community: Tracking User Behavior
Using analytics tools, easily keep an eye on your potential or existing customers’ interests, any shift in their sentiment, or topics they are searching. Through tracking features, analyze which users are more likely to participate in discussions and answer questions, and thank them with personalized responses from your customer care team.
For A Successful Online Community: Robust Reputation System
Attracting individuals to your community is only one piece of the puzzle. For your community to succeed;
- You must have a way to motivate users and empower them to get to know and trust one another.
- This can be done through a robust reputation system, which is a structure that recognizes users for their participation in order to build trust through reputation.
- A reputation system works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to recognize users for their participation.
- You decide (often with input from your members) what activities matter in the community, and you write those activities into the rules that govern the assignment of ranks.
- Recognizing high-quality contributors or superusers provides an incentive for them to participate more and helps users identify quality content.
For A Successful Online Community: Integration
Ensure a seamless experience across all support channels by integrating your online community with existing support processes. Be sure to tie in your CRM system as well, so that unanswered questions are auto-escalated into direct support channels.
For A Successful Online Community: Personalization
Inspire and cultivate community by giving members a curated feed that shows content that is relevant to them, motivating them to contribute more.
For A Successful Online Community: Engaging Content
Bottom line—visually appealing communities drive more traffic. Give control to your customers to add photos and videos to their galleries and in their posts.
For A Successful Online Community: Searchable Repository
A knowledge base or repository allows your customers, users, and employees to produce and share tips, answers, and advice.
For A Successful Online Community: Gamification
Gamification encourages customers and employees to enthusiastically share with each other more frequently. Automate gaming mechanics for everyday actions, like awarding badges the first time an online community member posts, replies to a post, or gives kudos on another member’s post.
For A Successful Online Community: Performance Measurement
It’s essential to be able to measure the health of communities and take action to keep them at their best. Focus attention on metrics that matter most with features that measure these six health factors: traffic, content, members, liveliness, interaction, and responsiveness.
How do you choose a community platform that will enable you to deliver the digital customer experiences your customers expect? We’ve put together a short checklist to help you analyze and compare vendors, and identify community features that will best support your customers.