A well-managed community can provide value to your customers, employees, and vendors beyond a product or service you are selling. It can help build genuine relationships, be it one-to-one, or one-to-all. Brands around the world are realizing the importance of building and maintaining engaging communities that give a sense of belonging to those who matter. As a business, it makes sense to invest in a good community management platform. When done right, it can add value to all the four major business functions viz. operations, HR, marketing, and finance.
Benefits of a Community Management Platform vis-a-vis Major Business Functions
Community management that focuses on internal engagement – among employees, partners, and vendors – can help make communication and collaboration more efficient. A good community management platform will allow you to create subgroups or channels. People with similar interests or at a similar level in the hierarchy can then communicate via these channels.
Community management that focuses on internal engagement can especially be useful for businesses that employ remote workers. It can be difficult to keep remote workers engaged, and make them feel a part of your company. A well-run community can help in boosting camaraderie among your in-office and out-of-office employees.
Human Resource department of a business is, probably, the most direct beneficiary of a community management platform. Major brands around the world use communities to recruit ex-employees. Recruiting ex-employees for another stint can be beneficial in more than one way for organizations. Businesses don’t have to spend too much time and effort on training and onboard of ex-employees since they are familiar with the work culture. In addition, ex-employees can bring an outsider’s perspective to the company, which can add immense value to an organization by way of strategy and innovation.
Ex-employees, when kept engaged through a community, can also help businesses find fresh talent. Since they are aware of company culture and work ethics, they can help find candidates who will be a great fit for their ex-organization. Moreover, community management delivers the direct benefit of cost-saving when it comes to recruiting talent. Going through traditional channels to attract talent can cost a lot of money, and time.
Community management can be a great way to build brand awareness and build strong relationships with your most loyal customers. When done right, it can convert fans into brand ambassadors. For instance, you could run a brand ambassador program where the most active users in your community are rewarded with invites to special events, an inside look into how a product is developed, and access to managerial-level employees.
It can also be used to invite and collect feedback from your target audience, which is a huge part of the modern marketing landscape. Even when you are running a community for internal engagement or talent acquisition, people can become evangelists for your brand and help with word-of-mouth promotion.
Whether it is operations, marketing, or HR, a well-thought-out community management platform can deliver direct cost benefits and help an organization meet its financial targets. By facilitating word-of-mouth awareness and enhancing brand loyalty, businesses directly save on marketing costs; by helping organizations recruit fresh talent that is a better fit and ex-employees for another stint, companies can save a lot of talent acquisition costs; and then there is the tangible cost-benefit of making operations smoother and more efficient.
The key to realizing all those benefits of a community management platform is to avoid common mistakes, be consistent, and define a measurable goal that you want to achieve at the outset.