by Editorial Staff| Last Updated:January 6, 2022
Forrester predictsthat eight in ten consumers see the world as completely digital by 2023. People have started using technology differently during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than half of the adults surveyed participated in online activities such as group meetings and sports lessons. Forty-four percent improved their technology at home. Consumers have high expectations of digital experiences and as a company you must be well prepared for this in 2023. But how do you build a good community for your target group? A place where they like to gather for the activities you offer?Kim Buing, community expert, shares her tips with you.
A good community
The group feeling
Finding the right platform
A good community
What makes a good community? To start with, it is important to look at the question: what is a community. A community is an online community of like-minded people. For example, your sports class via Zoom or the French lessons that you normally take at locations, which you now receive via Teams. There are countless online groups to which members belong. A good community ensures that people stay within the group because they feel at home there and get out of it what they are looking for. Actually just like a physical group, only digitally on a (social media) platform, from your own home.
Someone who is trained as a community manager conducts extensive research into behavior within the group at various levels and responds in an agile manner.
Community manager is a highly sought-after position in companies. That is not without reason. Every organization is visible online through social channels because they want to (continue to) serve their target group online. Those platforms need attention from a professional. Someone who creates content and takes care of its management. But is it really that simple? Or does the key to community success actually lie in other things?
Kim Buing:“Entrepreneurs often do not know how to get the most out of, for example, a membership that they offer. What content do you create and how do you ensure engagement and interest? Even though that is extremely important. Because no one is interested in a contentless post that is posted at the wrong time and therefore no one responds. A waste of your time and your image.”
The group feeling
In an earlier article we wrote that thecustomer experienceis very important. A report from McKinsey shows thatB2C companies receive a rating between 65 and 85% in terms of customer experience, while B2B companies only average below 50%. How can one work on this? By simply guiding the customer from A to Z in the purchasing process and giving them a positive experience. That is exactly what community management is all about.
Kim:“Take a paid business community with a few thousand members where no one actually posts. That happens quite often. Because there are no messages, no one watches the group and people end up leaving the community because they don't feel connected to it. People need a group aspect. But just creating a group is not enough. You won't get there with superficial content either. On Facebook you can sometimes get away with questions like 'what are you doing this afternoon', but not all groups feel the need for this. Many groups ask for unity, support, togetherness.”
A community manager really looks at the group. What do people need? What needs do they have and how can they be met within the community? That makes a big difference. Good community management ensures that people are seen and that retention increases. In this way, the community becomes a fan base that people want to belong to. With a group feeling that goes deeper than marketing.
Kim Buing:“In communication courses you often learn to define a target group and to portray a benchmark person. You will then create your communication messages for this purpose. But that's not how it works within groups. There are so many different people in there with different wishes. Moreover, external factors also influence members' thoughts and reactions. This cannot be recorded in advance in a marketing plan.”
“Someone who is trained as a community manager conducts extensive research into behavior within the group at various levels and responds in an agile manner. This way you can give members what they want and what they need. Friends also look at each other's behavior in order to be there for each other.”
Not everyone can manage a community. Because reading data is different from analyzing data. Just look at Google Analytics, they are just numbers, but to really understand and analyze those numbers you need the right knowledge and experience. That is exactly what a community manager does for your online membership.
People need a group aspect. But just creating a group is not enough.
Finding the right platform
A community manager ensures that you can be found on the right platform. Nowadays there are dozens of places online where you can connect with people, but where is your target group?
As Forbes writes: Not all social platforms are right for a business and honestly, there are too many to use them all. Choose one or two that suit your target audience, the type of content you want to share, and a strategy.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn is an excellent place to share long-form content and connect with potential partners and customers. You can create special groups on LinkedIn in which you maintain your community.
B2C companies can turn to Facebook for direct consumer reach. This can be done via a public page of the company or a closed group, which makes it more exclusive because not everyone can access the content
As an organization, you want as many people as possible to stay in your group, membership or community. This ensures that you can easily convey your message, new products and/or services to warm leads, namely your own fan base.
That is why it is so important to build a strong community and maintain it well. Some happy fans share this with others and your company will successfully grow organically.
Therefore, ensure you have an online platform that suits your target group, message and strategy. Ensure that all members feel seen and heard and that retention remains high. Then look at developments within the group and gauge where you could possibly expand. Or look for a community manager for this.
Kim Buingis a community expert focused on entrepreneurs. She started her career as a social worker, trained to analyze behavior and rose to become a community manager. Kim has written a successful book: a successful Facebook group in ten steps and offers a course to train community managers. She followed her great love to the United States, but her business heart is still in the Netherlands.
Photo byMatheus BertelliviaPexels
b2bmarketeers writes daily about topics surrounding b2b marketing, sales and entrepreneurship. The goal of B2B marketers is: to help the B2B marketing professional.
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The article touches on several crucial concepts related to building and managing online communities, especially in the context of businesses adapting to digital landscapes. Let's break down the main concepts:
1. Transition to Digital
Forrester's prediction about the majority of consumers perceiving the world as entirely digital in 2023 is a significant insight. It reflects how the pandemic altered technology use, leading people to engage in various online activities like group meetings and classes.
2. What Constitutes a Good Community?
Understanding the essence of a community is fundamental—it's an online gathering of like-minded individuals, such as a sports class on Zoom or language lessons via Teams. A good community ensures members feel at home and gain what they seek, akin to physical gatherings but in a digital realm.
3. Role of a Community Manager
A community manager's role is pivotal, involving in-depth research into group behavior and agile adaptation. Their task extends beyond mere content creation to maximizing engagement and interest, crucial for sustaining a community.
4. Creating a Sense of Belonging
The article emphasizes the importance of fostering a sense of community. Just establishing a group isn't enough; meaningful engagement and content are key. This aspect significantly influences customer experiences, a central focus of community management.
5. Behavior Analysis and Management
Community managers delve into understanding group dynamics, catering to the diverse needs within a community. Analyzing behavior at multiple levels helps ensure members feel valued and boosts retention rates.
6. Choosing the Right Platform
Selecting the appropriate platform is crucial. Not all social platforms suit every business. Understanding where your audience resides and tailoring content and strategy accordingly is vital, as highlighted by Forbes.
7. Organic Growth
Nurturing and maintaining a strong community lead to organic growth. Satisfied members tend to spread the word, aiding in the natural expansion of an enterprise.
8. Expert Insight: Kim Buining
Kim Buining, a community expert with a background in social work, emphasizes the importance of understanding and catering to diverse community needs. She offers insights into successful community management through her book and training programs.
Related Articles and Resources
The article also references various interviews and articles related to B2B marketing, emphasizing the significance of content, customer focus, account-based marketing, and the evolving landscape of digital interactions.
Understanding these concepts is pivotal for businesses aiming to establish and nurture thriving digital communities, enhancing customer experiences and fostering growth.