The way people shop and buy things have undergone a massive change. The approach has changed drastically. Nowadays, people prefer doing their own research, going through product reviews, and getting recommendations before purchasing. And online communities have a big role to play in this process.
The report published by B2B Buyers Survey in 2018 has shown that about 45% of businesses invested more time and resources to research products compared to the research they did the previous year. Thus, as a B2B entity, it is wise for you to launch your brand on multiple platforms. It will strengthen your buyers’ research.
B2B communities make it easier for people to gain valuable insights from existing customers experiences. They also provide space to bring in community feedback, with the help of which, you can create trust and authenticity for your brand.
Guidelines to build a successful online community
You will need to follow some guidelines in order to launch an online community for your business. This blog will highlight some key guiding tips to set up an online community. Happy reading.
1. Select a platform for your community
There are two kinds of forums: a shared interest forum and an informational forum.
A shared interest forum lets you bring people closer who are interested in a common topic. This platform facilitates the collaboration between members and thereby help them explore and connect on a diverse range of topics.
On the other hand, informational forums offer a space where people can search and share information about your products and services.
While opting for any platform, check if it has an exemplary user interface, platform flexibility, integration capabilities, etc.
2. Define your use case
What problems do you want to resolve with the online community? You need to develop a launch framework that will help you find out the use case with your community.
You might use an online community for different reasons, including boosting your customer satisfaction ratings, minimizing the costs associated with customer support, driving more demand for your products/services, acknowledging and mobilizing your advocates and influencers, creating more collaborations, etc.
Knowing the use case behind launching your online community will help you align your efforts to your intended goals.
3. Identify key stakeholders for the community
Once you establish the purpose behind launching your community, you will need to identify key internal stakeholders for the community. You can categorize them as follows:
1. People for community management: These stakeholders include the community manager, staff for customer support, and the marketing department.
2. People who will be impacted by the community: These are stakeholders who will be impacted by your community. These are the people who will provide you with feedback for any product improvements. They can be included in product management.
3. Upper management: The person in the upper management will be responsible for overall community management. He can be an executive or a CMO who will look after key operations and all-digital experiences.
Typically, the responsibility of the community launch is vested with only one person. However, make use of related resources and other talents within your organization. Thereby make community launch less stressful and more effective.
4. Build up your community
After you select the platform where you will be launching your community, you will need to familiarise your team with the software you will be using. Consider offering some hands-on training if requires.
Once your team understands the software, you will need to make some setup decisions. They are:
- To maintain privacy with your community pre-launch.
- To display what is trending in your community on the “homepage view.”
- Thoroughly check your sign-up process before the pre-launch.
- To define the roles and responsibilities of your team members.
- To decide which features will be enabled
- To implement a theme for your community.
- To configure spam controls
5. Spread the word
Once you fix the launch date, you can start promoting your community on various channels.
- Start with inviting your contacts. This may appear basic, but it does work.
- Talk and discuss with everyone and anyone. This has significance, primarily if your community is aimed at adding value to people’s lives.
- Partner with influencers to promote your community and grab the attention of your target audience.
This blog has discussed the significance of launching an online community for a B2B entity. It also has provided essential guidelines to get started with launching a community and making it successful. Follow these guidelines and grow your business with an online community.