A good community management platform will always have a good UI. Community engagement rates thrive on an intuitive, easy to navigate interface. When people can easily find what they are looking for, they are more likely to stay, and more importantly, come back. While a simple UI ranks right at the top of ‘features that a community management platform must have’, there is more that can help you achieve those dream engagement rates.
7 Must-Have Features in a Community Management Platform
The specific set of features that you want in a community management platform will vary depending on your needs. For instance, if your target group is 16-20-year-olds, you will want a platform that’s mobile-friendly. However, the following features are goal-agnostic. No matter what sort of community you are looking to build, you will want these features in your community management platform.
1. Event Management
Events are a great way to foster communication between members of a community. They could be online webinars or real-world, face-to-face events. A good community management platform will allow you to make the process of hosting an event as seamless as possible. For example, Jambo allows you to announce a paid event in the community and collect payments online through third-party payment integrations. That way, you can have a list of confirmed attendees for the event, which makes the task of planning a lot easier.
Being able to manage events can be a huge plus. Before the event, you can create discussions to drive engagement. Discussions from the event can be carried forward online, thus creating a constant cycle of engagement between members.
2. Segmentation of Groups
One of the key differences between good and not-so-good community management platforms is the ease with which you can find relevant content. You can’t expect people to go digging around for the information they are looking for. Hence, any modern online community management platform should allow you to create sub-groups. Jambo, for instance, lets you create sub-communities, which can be open, closed, or secret.
3. Controls and Permissions
As your community grows, you might not want everyone to access all the information available on it. This is especially true if you are running a corporate community network where you might have vendors, employees, and partners, all accessing the same common community. You should be able to control how much information and what kind of information is accessible to members, depending on the hierarchy, engagement levels, or other such criteria. For example, you might have a community where super-users – users that are highly engaged – have access to top product developers in the industry. You could gamify your community by giving people access to this privileged group only after they have earned a specific number of badges, or engaged a certain number of times in the community.
Jambo allows you to give specific permissions to users within a community, which makes community management a lot easier.
4. Web 2.0 Features
We are used to browsing in the Web 2.0 world. To run a community that delivers value to users, it is important that interactive web 2.0 features are a part of the platform. For example, the ability to create polls, or give rewards to users in exchange for engagement. Jambo, for instance, has integrated chat that lets users have one-on-one conversations without switching to any other app or platform.
Similarly, Jambo has a media depository that lets users upload their documents, video, and images. All files are automatically compartmentalized according to the content type, which makes the depository easy to navigate.
5. Relevant Content
Any online community thrives on content. A community management platform should not only help you highlight the latest content in your community; it should also be able to personalize content suggestions based on past-user activity. An interactive feed, the ability to make community announcements, and real-time notifications are all features that are geared to make content discovery a seamless experience for users. The easier it is to highlight new, relevant content to users, the higher your engagement rates will be.
6. Content Moderation
As much as pushing new, relevant content is important, weeding out spam or offensive posts is equally important. It is crucial that a safe space is created for users where they are not under the threat of being abused or bullied, online. Being able to moderate content is an absolute must-have feature in any online community management platform. For example, with Jambo, admins can delete a post they deem offensive or block a user.
Other than admins, users should also have the ability to report posts in order to bring them to admins’ attention.
7. Cross-Platform Integration
The ability to moderate content, make announcements, manage events, etc. is great to deliver a delightful, engaging user experience. However, as your community scales, you might need to integrate with third-party services. For instance, if you are running a community of coders, it might be a good idea to integrate StackExchange when the community reaches critical mass. Similarly, if you are running a community for your customers and target audience, integrating it with SalesForce or other similar CRM platforms can be a great way to leverage customer data.
When you are shopping around for an online community management platform, check how flexible and scalable it is in terms of third-party integrations.