A Customer Community is a necessary investment for brands in our current digital world. As peer reviews and customer voices take over brand identity in the digital space, it’s important for brands to create places where the organization can respond directly to customer feedback in an open way and help guide conversations forward rather than responding to them as they happen.
But simply building a Customer Community is no guarantee that your customers will use it or find value in it. At Paladin Group, we’ve learned several ways to make a Customer Community that will encourage your customers to engage (you can read more about that here). We also have developed best practices for launching a new Customer Community (or re-launching a rebranded one) to better ensure its success.
- Launch in Person. Human beings respond better to other human beings, even when they’re all working around a piece of digital real estate. While larger companies can hold launch events centered specifically around their new communities, not every brand has that opportunity. Luckily, there are hundreds of in-person events at any given time, including conferences or hack-a-thons, where small or medium businesses can take advantage of existing hype to launch communities of their own. Make sure to stay connected after the event and keep the momentum going in your new virtual world.
- Use the Community. Don’t just expect your Customer Community to be led by your fanbase. Assign staff members from deep within your organization to give feedback to customer ideas, stimulate conversations, and start conversations. If you are rejecting an idea, have a programmer or developer explain exactly why. Conversely, have staff members explain why any user-driven ideas have made the cut, and make sure you’re ready to promote those ideas far and wide.
- Make it a Hub. From its very beginning, the Customer Community should be a central hub for all of your company information, including release notes, case access, and information about webinars. You can keep certain information behind a registration wall if necessary, but make sure a customer from any level has access to everything they need in one place. This will reduce frustration while also generating more buzz to drive users to participate even further.
- Try Gamification. If you start your community with a reward system in place, users will be more likely to participate in it. Many enterprise organizations use a point system to allow users to cash in on prizes or branded giveaways, which is great for a company with a large marketing budget. But even smaller businesses can use the psychology of gamification to reward users just for participating.
As the leaders in online communities, we have years of experience launching successful Customer Communities for organizations of all sizes. If you need additional help or have questions on how to make your Customer Community a success, contact us today.