Why an Online Customer Community is a Gamechanger for Your Brand
Own Your Customer Community
Social media channels are great places to connect and engage with customers. The problem is that you don't own those communities. You don't have a say in any design or functionality changes. And, what happens when everyone jumps ship for the newest and coolest social media network? You could be left with no community.
To avoid platform changes and to have complete control over your brand's community, consider launching a customer community on your website. Customers can interact with each other, which builds a stronger connection with your brand and allows customers to help each other. Here are three benefits of a branded online customer community.
Having a dedicated community online for your customers can foster collaboration and cooperation between your customers and your brand. As millennials continue to gain status in decision-making and purchasing power, it will become more and more important to develop this type of environment because they expect it. According to Alex Castellarnau, Head of Design at Dropbox, millennials' perspective on brands and products is this: "A new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it's finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge." (source: Forbes)
Another benefit of a branded customer community is that it can actually save you money in the long run in your delivery of customer support. That collaborative and cooperative spirit of millennials - or anyone that is drawn to a community - inspires them to help eachother with issues they may run into when using your product or service. An additional benefit of a branded community is that your customer community can become a constantly evolving and SEO-friendly knowledge base over time. All this crowd-sourced support can reduce customer service overhead and allow your support team members to focus on critical and high priority support tickets.
Sales & Marketing Opportunities and Feedback
A customer community is a centralized meeting place for your customers and advocates to call home, but it's also a place for sales and marketing to uncover new ideas and opportunities. An effectively run customer community can . . .
- Support lead generation and sales (including upgrades and cross sells)
- Give brand and product managers a flow of product feedback and new feature ideas
- Provide new product and service ideas
- Improve your brand's reputation
A customer community is often made up of people who are more likely to be your fans, so their proclivity to buy again, advocate on behalf of your brand, and their desire to provide relevant feedback are all high.
The Branded Online Community Playbook
These are just three of the many benefits of a branded customer community on your website. In our latest Social Business Journal: The Community Playbook created in cooperation with Vanilla Forums, we provide a complete guide to developing a branded community online. Download The Community Playbook for in-depth insights and case studies to discover why a branded online community is a game-changer for almost any brand.
Follow Bernie Borges on Twitter