It has come to our attention that online communities, well, are just a waste of time and money. We understand you may have spent months or years building your community. Let us help you destroy it in just a couple of days! Here are 3 ways to destroy your online community in no time flat.
You have a product, resource or tool you know the world wants but they just don’t know about it yet. Old fashioned marketing efforts are dead, and rather than telling your potential buyer/user what they want, you listen. Listening is a key contributor in how companies direct many aspects of their business efforts and road maps. There is no better way to listen than by creating an engaging online community.
Listening helps you:
- Gain information from your users on how they perceive and interact with your product.
- Develop trust by interacting and letting the user know that you are present and communicative.
- Maintain your reputation. If a customer is not receiving the level of quality or service expected regularly, it can tarnish your brand's reputation.
- Reduce conflict by being proactive. Spotting a potential issue whether it be product related or within the community helps enforce your brand's presence and integrity.
Listening is incredibly important, but so is engaging, sharing, creating conversation and letting others (your customers) advocate for you. But they need a reason to do so. Senior Reporter, Marisa Peacock shares, “Anyone can set up an online community, but what will make it worth joining is if it accurately reflects the culture of your organization and provides meaningful incentives to members.”
Inversoft would like to share with you Creating & Engaging Online Communities 6 Key Elements of Successful Communities Infographic.
There’s one fact that all successful forum owners will immediately agree upon: Forums require moderation. The success of a forum relies on the quality of content contributed by the community. User retention suffers when inappropriate or irrelevant content is posted. Plus, this type of content creates poor search engine results which hinders new user acquisition. Moderation is essential to ensure the long term health and growth of forums.
A Sense of Community
The other day, an experienced community moderator who follows developments in her field told me she was seeing significant growth of interest from all kinds of businesses not just in protecting their brand online but also in protecting their customers online. They see safety as part of brand protection, of course, but more and more, community safety is becoming a concern in its own right.
She made me think of the city metaphor. Sure, if a neighborhood isn't safe, well-lit and pleasant to be in, people won't hang around, but there's more to it than that. The appeal of the neighborhood isn't just the city's responsibility. City services play a major role, of course, but so do the residents, businesses and visitors. We really are talking about "community" in the strictest sense – lots of participants and roles, each playing an essential part in the overall feeling of the place. No matter how pretty a physical or digital space is, it doesn't appeal if it's not safe, and it isn't any one thing, such as the police, that makes it safe or anything else.
(If you're wondering what she and I mean by "safety," it's a whole lot of things, but – online – mostly safety from hate speech, social cruelty and other behaviors that threaten people's emotional or psychological wellbeing.)
Understanding the inner workings of an online community is important for various reasons. When it comes to identifying where the potential community exists (industry, hobbies, events, recreation), it can be easier to identify who the user is and how as a whole the community can develop based around it's parameters. It's very interesting to think about the term "ecosystem" and how reflective it is to an online community.
Scientifically an ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water, mineral soil... internet?), interacting as a system. These biotic and abiotic components are regarded as linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. As ecosystems are defined by the network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment, they can be of any size but usually encompass specific, limited spaces ...