Businesses throughout the world are looking to scale up and increase their clientele. However, despite offering so much, not every brand is willing to invest in establishing their online community.
Starting a forum or a group has never been easier. You have a plethora of plugins that simplify the creation process. For instance, HeroThemes lists WP themes compatible with BuddyPress and explains how to use BuddyPress to create the ultimate online community.
But the question of why businesses need one remain. The advantages you will find below ought to be more than enough to persuade you. Continue reading and find out about all the benefits that a forum community would bring to your brand.
Advantage #1 – Improve Customer Support
Ensuring the best possible customer experience should be one of the priorities for any business. If you are not at the top of this game, it will not be too long before you are out.
Forums allow businesses to create threads that answer the most common problems. Instead of waiting for an email or direct message response, customers can go and look for a solution themselves.
The answers are provided by not just the staff members but other customers. Moreover, the downvote and upvote system create an environment where the best answers are at the top and visible to first-timers.
Advantage #2 – Identify Problems
Brands have to face many challenges, and the sooner they identify the ways to overcome these challenges, the sooner they can move on to the next step.
A forum can become a hub for reporting problems so that the reps can get to finding solutions faster. Immediate access saves time and is a more efficient method than having to go through multiple platforms.
Having everything in one place is an ideal scenario. And the more members are in the community, the better off the brand is going to be.
Advantage #3 – Encourage Discussions
Forums are moderated and create a better environment for constructive discussions. If you compare it to social media, it is harder to control what everyone comments under a post. Meanwhile, a forum is a place where members can report content that is against the rules.
It is also worth mentioning that people who participate in discussions are likely to get attached to being part of a community. It will give them another reason to visit the website and remain loyal to your brand.
Advantage #4 – Drive Innovation for Ideas
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Stagnation can get out of hand, especially if your business is about producing new products on a regular basis. And even having a lot of people in the brainstorming session could not lead to fruitful results.
Relying on luck is also not a good piece of advice as it is bound to run out sooner or later. So who else can help with the product innovation? The answer is the same again – your online community.
Discussions among users and people behind the brand can lead to a breakthrough and fresh ideas for the next big thing. You can even create a poll and allow the users to decide whether they think a new idea is interesting or not. Or have them choose between multiple proposals and pick the best one.
Advantage #5 – Build Brand Trust and Raise Awareness
Creating a sustainable business without establishing good relationships with customers is more or less impossible. An online community allows brands to interact with the customers directly and show them that there is more than just the goal of trying to sell products or services.
Word of mouth about a friendly community can also spread quickly and raise brand awareness. More brand awareness will attract more customers.
Advantage #6 – Boost SEO Rankings
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Search engine optimization is one of the cornerstones for a business’ success. Brands are fighting for a better position on Google and other search engines and investing resources in their SEO strategy.
Forum discussions are content, and this content boosts the rankings without your realization. It may sound a bit unrealistic, but posts by users are indexed by search engines. If there is an answer to a specific question, you can expect to see the result by entering the said question in the search engine.
SEO takes time, especially if you are not willing to hire someone who is a professional. Every bit helps, and in this case, a forum will also serve toward boosting your standings on search engines.
As you can see, there are more than enough benefits that solidify why every brand should look to establish an online community. Even if it takes to grow it since not a lot of people will be keen on joining at first, it is still worth the effort. Also, be sure that there is a team of moderators that keeps everything in check.