Here at inSided, we talk a lot about online communities and the benefits they bring to SaaS companies looking to reduce churn, increase retention and boost customer engagement.
But one thing that we’ve talked less about in the past—and that we believe is really important to cover—is how you can actually go about this. What’s involved in managing an online community? What makes one successful? What kinds of resources do you need? Are there best practices to follow?
We’ve put together a cracking eBook for you: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Successful B2B Community. The guide details pretty much everything you need to know if you’re responsible for launching, managing or optimizing an online user community, and we’ve created it with B2B SaaS providers firmly in mind! There are plenty of tips, tricks and examples of best practices included in the guide, some of which you can read on our website too.
We could talk for hours here about why online communities are the bomb for SaaS organizations looking to boost engagement and product adoption, but we’ve covered that elsewhere. If you’re interested in understanding more about the benefits of online community for customer success, support and product innovation, check out some of our other blog articles.
Let’s kick off today with a look at some of the most vital elements of creating and managing your online community:
1. Get your launch right
We highly recommend running a ‘staggered’ launch approach; that is, not launching with a ‘big bang’ and expecting overnight success. If you want a sustainable community that’s successful in the long-term, then you need to build it with the right ingredients: brand advocates, super users, a strong content strategy and active and engaged users. Check out our full community launch checklist.
2. Grow your community membership base
There are a number of ways you can expand the number of users on your community: obviously, the more active and engaged users you have, the more likely it’ll be that your community members will engage in peer-to-peer conversations, problem solving and best practice sharing—which is exactly what you want, from a customer success, support and loyalty perspective. We touch on a number of ways you can work on growing your community in the eBook.
3. Keep community content up-to-date
Content auditing, or ‘pruning’, is going to be vital if you want your community to serve your company as a customer support and success tool. Users are looking for the correct answers, the most up-to-date information and the latest recommendations. But it’s important to maintain your community content in the right way, otherwise you could be shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to Google ranking, which can be a huge traffic driver to your community (and may even funnel prospects through to your sales cycle).
4. Drive community engagement and activity
We’ve all stumbled across one before: those dreadfully out of date user communities where the last post was three months ago and nobody answered someone’s burning question. Don’t let that be your community. Inciting user interest, enthusiasm and engagement is really key if you want to see business benefits. So don’t let this point slip. There are numerous ways to drive engagement, like using gamification strategy to keep users on their toes and rolling out a super user program that becomes the lifeblood of the community. We dish the dirt (in great detail) on just how to action these engagement strategies so that your community stays fresh and alive.
5. Avoid common mistakes
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 10+ years of building and running communities, it’s what NOT to do! We bare all in the Ultimate Guide so you can learn from our mistakes and start out with your best foot forward.
Of course, all this is barely skimming the surface. In the eBook we delve into the real detail—a community management bible, if you will! It’s packed with actionable ideas and examples from some of our B2B software customers. Check it out and get inspired!