The team at Inversoft is pleased to announce the Early Access Program (EAP) for Gather – The Future of Forum Software. By joining the Gather EAP, you will be able to download a full version of Gather, install it, and kick the tires. You’ll also get access to pre-release updates that will include new features and fixes. This gives you the chance to try new features before they are released.
How to Join
It’s easy to join the EAP – just complete This Form to create your account and get access to a EAP license and the Gather downloads. Once you download Gather, read through our Installation Guide to get it setup. You can also check out our API Documentation to learn about the Gather’s API that will change the way you think about forums.
Facebook is no longer a viable option for companies looking to foster a strong online relationship with their customers and prospects. In a previous blog post we discussed the diminishing reach of Facebook for companies trying to engage their users and grow their businesses. The natural next question will be – “Great, so if Facebook isn’t working, what is the solution?” Increasingly, companies are creating their own branded online communities.
Return on Investment (ROI) will be a factor to consider, as with any business decision. Building a community will take time, resources and money so a company will need to see a return on that investment. There are a variety of factors that can be measured depending on the focus of your community. For example, many companies establish a support community to reduce support costs through call deflection. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Inversoft, 46% of respondents indicated they consider ‘reducing support costs’ to be a major benefit of forums. If the focus of your online community is increasing your sales, how much more business could you gain by having your customers participate in your own branded online community versus a 3rd party platform like Facebook?
It’s common knowledge that online communities and online games have loyal fans and critics alike. Many web sites utilize social media management tools, moderation services, as well as profanity filters to weed out as many inappropriate comments and behaviors as possible. But when it comes to online games, the stakes get even higher for performance. Usage stats from various sources report that online game players spend 22 hours a week playing the game, despite the fact that half of the players have full-time jobs, are married and nearly one-fourth have kids. Surprisingly, only one-fourth of players are teens. The majority are college students, early professionals, middle-aged homemakers and retirees. Sixty percent of players have reported at least 10 hours of continuous play.
You would think this kind of fanatical devotion to online games would mean loyal customers for life and customer satisfaction levels through the roof. However, companies have to work more diligently than ever before to keep performance as near to 100% uptime as possible in order to avoid massive backlash from their fans.
Double - Edged Sword
Online game producers need to deliver content patches faster. Players have become much more adept at finishing new content and many gaming companies have struggled to keep up. This may be a double-edged sword - the need for speed of content development may improve user satisfaction in the short term, while at the same time increasing the probability of bugs and poor performance. Satisfying customer demand for content could contribute to a company’s downfall since poor game performance directly correlates to negative player experiences and ultimately abandonment as a subscriber.
Inversoft is pleased to share the following guest blog from Jaime Morocco, "Why Community is Essential in the B2B SaaS World." Jaime shares insights on how a community builds value for brands and their customers and also offers some questions to consider before building a community for your brand's following. This post originally appeared on the Bluenose blog and is reprinted here with permission.
In an age where we have the ability to be more connected to each other than ever, it can also often seem that we are missing the human part of connection. No matter how advanced technology becomes, or how dependent on technology we are, we will never lose our need for human-to-human interaction.
We are living in the age of the empowered consumer. This is an age where a consumer will almost always ask for advice from peers before making a purchasing decision, and an age where a dissatisfied customer will let the world know their state of unhappiness over any and all social media platforms. We value our peers, their opinions, their approval, and ultimately, we seek a feeling of connection to things/topics that we consider to be of high importance.
Is Facebook Doing the Job?
When many businesses think of establishing an online community the platform that comes immediately to mind is Facebook. With well over 1 billion users, that seems to make a lot of sense! But how many of those people can you really reach? Even if you get a million people to “like” your company’s Facebook page do they see your content? Recent research: Has Facebook become too big for its boots by throttling organic reach? - shows that you may only be reaching 4% of your Facebook fans. That has to be a very sobering thought for any business.
So is Facebook really the place you want to put your online community?
Branded Online Community
An alternate solution is to create a community on your company’s website. Your own branded online community. You can still do all of your regular social media interactions to engage with your community (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest,…etc). Rather than including a link to your Facebook site, replace that with a link to your company’s website.