Increasingly, brands are finding that online communities are an effective way to engage their audience and promote their products and services. Online communities can also help improve user experience, provide marketing intelligence, and improve overall satisfaction. But what exactly are online communities? And what are their benefits?
The main benefit of online communities is the connection they provide. Compared to traditional social media platforms, they give users a strong sense of community and a feeling of belonging. This, in turn, can lead to higher engagement and loyalty. In addition, they can help reduce support costs and transactional calls.
Approximately seven in ten Internet users are familiar with community sites, including Facebook. They spend 38 minutes per day on the site. Users are increasingly looking for advanced personalization and feedback. Additionally, the online behaviour of consumers has shifted to a more authentic, supportive, and customer-focused approach. Consumers are more likely to share feedback with brands and share suggestions for improving products, which are incorporated into the development of new products.
Almost seven in ten organizations say they operate online communities. These online and offline communities are used for customer support, marketing, and content creation. A majority of communities have a dedicated community manager, a staff member responsible for interacting with members and overseeing the group. An increasing number of organizations are allocating more budget and resources to manage their communities.
However, a large proportion of online communities fail. Nearly one in three communities fall apart because of poor community management or low engagement rates. Some online groups do not employ paid leaders. Moreover, many groups have uncodified rules. Other factors, such as high costs and lack of resources, have been cited as reasons for poor results.
One of the most commonly cited KPIs in online communities is Monthly Active Users. More than half of respondents believe that this metric is useful for tracking the performance of their communities. Another metric is new user sign-ups.
Most branded online communities are used for promoting products and services, contributing to brand SEO, and building a loyal customer base. 85% of brand owners agree that a branded community builds trust among audiences and leads to a more positive impact on the brand.
While the internet communities market continues to grow at a compound annual rate of 24.3%, revenue is increasing at a quarter of the rate. Approximately 65% of professionals say that their communities' budgets will increase in the next few years.
Online communities can be found on many different platforms, and the rules regarding them are often unclear. That is why it is important to consider a host platform that has a built-in community management tool to keep group members away from distractions.