5 Facts about Online Communities
You are already aware of the increasingly crucial role social platforms play in drawing followers to your brand, not only to steer them to purchase but to engage with them to learn their opinions and, if possible, earn their advocacy. Since January 4 is National Trivia Day, it seems like an appropriate time to examine some other little-known facts about online marketing and managing your social presence.
64% of companies state the brand community has improved their decision-making
Actively engaging with members in your branded online community can help you better understand what they are seeking from you, providing associations with the opportunity to not only market to members but interact with them in a meaningful way. It’s a mutually beneficial situation – members feel their opinions and needs are important to you; and your association gains the insights necessary to move in directions that members will find attractive and useful.
Your online relationship with your members affords you the ability to, in essence, use them as a focus group or crowdsource for garnering immediate feedback that can positively impact your decision-making.
80% of marketers indicate that building brand communities has increased traffic
Building a successful online brand community can be mutually beneficial to both associations and members. An open, accessible community draws members by providing them with a “home” for discussion and interaction not only with the association, but with fellow members who may have invaluable insider advice for them – while associations gain a forum for learning which tactics will keep members coming back for more. Making the right content readily available to your brand community can keep them coming back.
And making that content available to everyone can not only increase traffic but draw new members. If a potential member finds your online community but can’t access information without subscribing, they might not stick around. We all know the frustration of clicking on a teaser bit of data, only to find we have to pay for the most basic intelligence. Additionally, content that’s not hidden behind a paywall will be more likely to come up in search, possibly attracting new members and potentially increasing traffic.
53% of Americans who are part of a social brand community are more loyal to the brand
When you created your association’s social presence, one goal may have been to acquire membership, but the primary role of any social brand community is the retention of existing members. People frequently join organizations when their interest is piqued, only to decline renewal of membership if they’re not consistently and actively engaged. The interactions members have with each other often create a feeling of fidelity to the brand as well as a clubby sense of exclusivity for members – which can actually be attractive to potential members even as it’s fostering loyalty from existing membership. And members feel gratification when they feel that the association is interacting with and reacting to them. According to a Texas Tech University report, followers on social media like their voice to be heard, so associations that run well-managed and consistently maintained online communities can expect to experience greater loyalty from members.
Customers spend 19% more after joining a company’s online community
People have a general tendency to want to support their communities, both physical and virtual. This 2012 study by the University of Michigan showed that revenue will likely increase as a result of members becoming part of an online community, and they are more likely to spend money for attendance at association events and to make other purchases due to this relationship. So it’s a no-brainer that associations should cultivate a closely engaged online community. It’s an invaluable way to gauge what members are thinking – positively or negatively – about your brand, as well as to know what it is that excites their interest, opens their wallets and gets them championing your brand.
70% of online communities fail
The measures of online community success can be difficult to calculate or categorize. While we all know solid member engagement and retention are the goals we hope to achieve with our online presence, there are infinite variables at play in the determination of what constitutes the success of a given online community. The real determinant of your community’s success or failure is how much you invest in the management of it. You can’t just set up your community, then walk away as if the work’s all done. By crafting a sound strategy and consistent voice and presence in your online community, and by continuing to regularly nurture it post-creation, you can cultivate a true sense of community among members – your best bet for achieving a loyal and thriving online community.
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Written by Christian Britto
Christian is the Operations Manager at rasa.io
We created rasa.io because we fundamentally believe that up to now, the approach most associations take to online community building has been far too narrow. Networking, resource sharing, and Q/A are just a part of the online community experience, so we created a platform the puts member engagement where it should be - at the heart of your association’s community.