You may not realize it but we all access a community in one form or another.
For example, I am part of an online running community that keeps me motivated to continue training. For others, a community can be where they log in and check their account data and engage with someone inside the business. Other communities might help users connect with other customers, find learning enablement tools, discover product announcements, or get their questions answered (as in our Trailblazer Community).
The common thread across these communities is that they all offer ways to engage — with a fellow runner, someone in customer support, or another customer. With so many types of communities to choose from, an organization can follow these examples to truly transform their business and redefine customer engagement.
Ready to build a community for your organization? Here’s a framework to help you get started.
Before you begin building
1. Come up with a strategy
Building or transforming a community can bring massive change to your business. This is good, but it is important to lay out a strategy that will help you plan, build, execute, and measure success.
To get started on your strategy, here are a few questions to ask:
- What problem is this community going to solve?
- How will the community create value for your business?
- What type of users do you want to be part of the community?
- Who will build, manage, and maintain this community?
- What platform will you choose?
- What metrics will you use to track the success of the community? How will you link key metrics to overall business objectives such as costs, CSAT, or increased sales?
2. Map out your user experience
Next, start brainstorming what experience you want your community to provide for customers and partners.
- What do you want your customers to do in the digital experience? (Find answers, connect with experts, review their account information?)
- How do you want to reflect your brand and create customer engagement?
- How will you support customer service?
- If you want to capture leads, how will you grow and nurture prospects across the lifecycle?
- If it is a product feedback community, how do you want the community to help build the product roadmap and/or share and gather product feedback?
- If you use partners, how do you want to engage them as you scale the business?
- How will you connect experts, partners, and advocates with prospects or new customers?
3. Make sure your community is future-proof
The pace of business moves faster than ever. With so many different community platforms available on the market, it is important that you decide on a platform that is both the best decision for your company’s needs today and also for the company’s needs down the road. When considering features around engagement and moderation, as well as business integration and management objectives, you want the technology to evolve with your business’s ever-changing needs.
Here are some things to consider when it comes to future-proofing:
- Is your community platform in the cloud?
- How easily does the platform connect with other systems? Or how difficult is it to integrate?
- Is the community easy to customize? Or is the system too rigid?
- Is the reporting flexible enough to accommodate your changing business? Or are you working with one-size-fits-all reports?
- Does the platform vendor have a history of innovation? Or does it maintain its legacy tools?
Now, I know these are a lot of questions, but I want to ensure that you have taken the time to brainstorm and strategize before you start to build and transform.
Are you ready to build beautiful experiences that transform how you engage with your customers, partners, and prospects? We think you are.
You can do all of this with Community Cloud. With Community Cloud, you can build beautiful CRM-connected experiences — fast — and engage with your customers, partners, and employees from desktop to mobile.
Dive deep into how to build your community in our Community Manager’s Reference Guide and learn how amazing Trailblazers increase their brand engagement, enhance their customer experience, and connect to their customers and partners in a whole new way.