An online community Platform is a gathering of people interacting and collaborating toward a common goal. These days, companies are investing in building communities on open social networks like Facebook and Twitter, while also building their own community properties. While similar, there are fundamental differences between a social network like Facebook or Twitter and an owned online community destination like the Apple Support Communities.
Whether you post on Facebook, tweet your latest news, or share videos on YouTube, social media is an excellent and proven way to connect with potential and existing customers. But it's not the only option. Online communities for small businesses provide a powerful platform for small business owners yearning to build brand awareness.
An online community platform gives small business owners tight control over design and Employer branding. Rather than uploading the company logo to a Facebook page, for example, an online community gives small business owners an opportunity to create a space they can make their own.
While social networks have their value, owned properties provide elements that social networks like Facebook cannot. They provide a tailored design, enhanced access to data and more options for control. A well-rounded social media strategy likely will include social networks such as Facebook in addition to owned online properties. When a company builds its network on a collaboration platform like Twitter, they are subject to that technology company’s business model. The user experience and available data are based on what the platform is willing to provide—and that will probably have little to do with a company’s own objectives and needs. This can also help by Sharing of knowledge.
Consider Facebook, a Collaboration platform that has routinely changed its business model. In 2010, it leveraged Wikipedia to generate automated company listings for their launch of community pages, which resulted in many duplicate search results for those businesses that had already created a Facebook page in their quest to drive ad revenue. The change confused users and frustrated businesses that already had an established
The following highlights some of the key benefits of using online collaboration
Results can be gathered quickly
Ad hoc research projects can have a lengthy timeframe from project kick-off to the delivery of the final report, and projects may take several months. With this type of Loyalty program in which online communities depending on the size and level of member engagement, a research question can be answered in days rather than weeks or months.
Results cost less
Online communities allow costs to be lower. After the initial costs of the collaboration tool and recruitment, numerous projects can be run within a community in place of several ad hoc projects.
Companies can instantly connect with their customers
Branded communities allow a brand to tap into one of its most important resources: the customer. And this is their brand strategy to attract customers due to its Brand. Care Customers who join the community are interested and invested in the brand name and provide a range of feedback. Some members may be extreme brand loyalists, while others may be less willing to champion the brand. In either case, feedback from these customers is extremely valuable in order to assess Customer loyalty.
Richer data can be obtained
Depending on the size of a community, both surveys and discussions can take place within a community platform. A survey can be sent to community members, and then, rather than relying on open-ended questions alone, follow-up questions can be asked. This allows the researcher to the opportunity to reveal the “why” behind quantitative data.
Organic feedback can be gathered
Corporate communities that have engaged members may contain discussions regarding the community brand or topic. Without implementing any specific research questions, unique insights can be obtained by listening to and observing the community.
Demographic profiles can be explored
Online collaboration app allows researchers to compile and track community members’ demographic variables. Given a community where both customers and non-customers are recruited, profiles of each group can be created and explored to understand target demographics more fully.
An online community can develop around articles, information and news about your product or general topic on interest.
· According to Information Age, nearly two-thirds of companies with online communities report seeing an increase in total revenue due to strong community engagement.
· When people feel connected to brands and to other customers who use them, it breeds retention.
· A thriving social network can also save money in support costs because community members tend to solve each other’s problems instead of contacting a company’s support department.
· By reading the discussions among those in the community, businesses can also get an idea of what they need to improve about their product.
Branded online communities exist to help customers use a company’s products more effectively. The more familiar customers are with the product and the more adept they become at using it, the more likely they will stick with it and invest in upgrades.