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How to choose your community platform?
Community has been a hot topic for years now. But are you sure you really know what community platforms are about?
- Community platform: definition
- The features you need to build and grow a community
- How to choose the one that fits your needs?
You can't build a flourishing online community overnight, which makes picking a strong community platform or community software even more crucial.
Make sure the platform you choose to host your community is adaptable enough to fit your demands and robust enough to last the test of time and it will grow with you and your business goals.
It is important to realize that there are no one-size fits-all community management tools. Every community is different, so it stands to reason that some platforms are better for certain types of communities and less suitable for others.
If you wonder how to create and make the most of an online community platform and what to consider while selecting one, we will cover everything you need in this post.
Community Platform: Definition
A community platform can be defined as an online virtual space where individuals with the same interests and mindset can meet for a discussion. They can discuss a common topic, whether it is a brand, product, service or any other topic of their interest.
What is a community platform?
As mentioned above, a community platform is an online space where people with common interests, goals, and mindsets connect and meet. In each community you will find admins and members, the role of the admins is to help the members integrate into the community. Usually, a community leader is a person, but it can also be a brand or company. However, it is essential to pick the right community software in the process of community building.
What's the point of using a community platform?
A community platform is a place where people from around the world can join and share their thoughts and opinions. It eliminates physical boundaries and allows people to interact and even meet up with the person who is in the same area or nearby.
An online community is about building a destination for your customers or members where they can have discussions on their common interests. A community platform can act as a virtual town hall for organizations and offer them the recognition, connection, and support they need to grow in today's competitive business environment.
Community platform: The features you need
Customer engagement and loyalty features
Community platforms should have the features of the customer's engagement and loyalty. Nurturing existing customers is easier than acquiring new ones. Moreover, acquiring new customers requires marketers to spend more time, money, and resources than nurturing existing customers.
So, a brand should look for customer engagement and loyalty features while choosing a community management software for business. Look for features like comment posting, open discussions, gasification, mission, and rewards to encourage customer engagement while selecting a community platform.
Discovery and acquisition features
Then there are discovery and acquisition features that you should look for in a community management platform. Features like product testing, group discussions, and on-site display of products enable businesses to discover new opportunities and acquire new customers. In addition, the community members use the product and offer reviews and testimonials that the business owners can use to improve their products.
Reviews and testimonials of existing products speak more effectively than advertisements. A community platform that allows members to leave reviews and testimonials helps brands acquire new customers.
Customer support features
Look for a community software or platform that offers customer support features like email support and answers to queries on a forum or group. Features like surveys, forum discussions, and text searches help customers to find the answers to their queries and information about your product, service, or brand. Also, the community platform software should offer features for publishing content in the form of articles, white papers, videos, infographics, and case studies that help community members and customers.
Social and discussion features
These are the features that encourage the community members to start conversations, comment on posts, conduct discussions on common topics and answer the questions asked by other people on the platform. The community management software should offer features that facilitate discussion between the brand and community members as well as between members.
Peer to Peer Messaging
Peer-to-peer messaging should be the most foundational feature of any community app. A peer-to-peer messaging feature can help users connect and engage with each other. For example, a chat feature can include facilities like sending images and audio files and communicating over videos.
Live events and streaming
The engagement levels are high in live events and video streaming. Being able to interact live with your audience in live events builds strong bonds with them. In addition, live streaming is an effective way to run immersive events and meet the participants.
A community forum is another feature that enables your audience to discuss a particular topic, product, or service. So, every community application should have a forum feature that allows open discussions.
Community platform: How to choose the one that fits your needs?
There are multiple steps to find a community management platform that fits your needs. Here are the things you must consider while looking for a community platform.
Where do your ideal members spend time?
As a community builder you need to think where your members spend their time. For example, if you are in the NFT or gaming industry, you should choose a platform like Discord. It's because your ideal members spend their time in such spaces.
Community management: what do you expect from it?
A business should have a strategy in their mind before choosing a community management platform. The decision should be a part of your overall strategy. The platform you choose for your business should support that strategy. The best way is to create a list of all your requirements and expectations and consider them while looking for a community software. You can use a community management platform for things like
- Creating Brand Awareness
- Improving Brand Image
- Engaging Customers with your brand
- Reach a wider audience
- Save time and cost
A well-built community strategy considers the requirements of its members, and the best community management practices will tend to thrive in various environments. Therefore, businesses should spend significant time on research to find the right platform that tends to satisfy their requirements and expectations.
Building an engaged community for your brand
Look for a community platform software that offers features like forum discussions, comment posting, writing reviews, testimonials, and conducting polls and events. Such tasks and events allow your members to interact with each other and actively engage on the platform. On the other hand, never choose a community platform that allows members to browse the products and services or communicate only with the brand.
Engagement comes only when the members interact with the brand and other members of the community. The benefits of an engaged community are endless, and a business can make the most of the community and grow with the members as a family. Check out how to build an engaged community for your brand.
Considering all the above factors can help any business choose the best community management tools that keeps the members engaged, holds events, and helps community managers implement growth strategies.