3 min read

Working remotely = 30% increase in community engagement

Robin van Lieshout • March 23, 2020

Online engagement drastically increased over the last week—and we can see it. At inSided, we serve the online communities for many of the largest B2C and B2B brands like T-Mobile, Gainsight, Sonos, Nutanix, Zapier and Coursera. So what does the data show us on current engagement levels?

Community traffic -1

% Increase in community engagement in the last 4 weeks

In the last week, our traffic levels have increased by 30% in the USA alone. For Europe, the increase is 19%, still a staggering number. As more and more countries are hit with travel limitations and work from home policies, our expectation is that this will only further increase globally.

Some of our customers, like ShootProof (an online tool for photographers), accelerated the launch of their community due to the crisis. As Colin Breece, their Chief Strategy Officer explains:

When so much seems uncertain, we lean on our core values such as prioritizing human connection and caring deeply about the photographers we serve. As our team heard customers' stories over the last week, we were humbled by their desire to help each other. They just needed a safe space to connect—a place to gather and offer help, share ideas, and give inspiration. That's why we decided to accelerate the launch of our community. 

Colin Breece

Chief Strategy Officer at ShootProof

For many larger brands, the community is their life blood in servicing customers. As the channel is available 24/7, it historically already drove quite a lot of traffic. However, many companies have now closed down physical retail shops and traditional phone hotline support has reduced availability due to work from home limitations and/or a reduced workforce. This means customers are turning to online channels at a faster pace.

Thomas Pel, Channel Manager Communities at KPN Telecom, sees a 30% increase in traffic and posts in the last week, and expects an even bigger increase in the upcoming period when people work from home and have more time.

Customers like Florian Eichinger, Senior Program Manager Social Media & Content at Telefonica O2 Germany, are continuously monitoring the traffic levels, and are preparing to scale traffic levels to their community even further.

UK provider ID Mobile also expects to heavily promote the community through all channels as the go-to place for engagement.

For many B2B brands, in-person events are cancelled. Companies are looking to stay connected with customers, and porting offline experiences to online. For many, the community provides the central point of customer engagement.

Wade Foster, CEO at Zapier in an AMA with Capiche said:

Online communities are powerful, but they are even more powerful given the current global situation Covid-19 has put us all in

Wade Foster

CEO, Zapier

Zapier launched their new community last week.

Jason Lemkins, founder of the well known tech community SaaStr, mentioned it was the first time in two years that he had time to search for, and discover, new applications. Because people have slightly more time on their hands, they are open to investigating new ideas. By letting potential customers engage already with relevant user & company content in your community, you can build up that relationship—right now.

All in all, success and support centers are under pressure but are also looking to make use of the opportunity to build better customer relations. Many big investment & venture capital firms are advising you focus on your existing customers first—especially now. We also see many brands giving their existing community strategy a new boost, for example by promoting the community as the go-to service & success portal or strategizing relevant one-to-many content. 

If you don’t have an online customer engagement strategy now, you have no way to talk to your customers anymore. People will spend more time online than ever—and we see it in our engagement data. If you don’t have a strategy to engage with them, you'd better figure it out soon.

Picture of Robin van Lieshout

By Robin van Lieshout

CEO & Co-Founder at inSided, with over 15 years of community experience. Robin is responsible for overall strategy, company culture and finance. Connect on Linkedin

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