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Community Management Software 2020: Ultimate Guide

What is Community Management?

Community management is the way in which businesses grow their customers, employees, and/or partners using interaction on various channels and platforms. It is about leveraging brand relationships by interacting with an interested community, most likely over a digital channel.

The objective of Community management varies tremendously from business to business and can include product offerings, support, service, feedback, and innovative discussions all pertaining to your brand.

This provides businesses with an effective forum to manage multiple conversations, and showcase a personal and human face of the business to the community.

What is Community Management Software?

Community Management software helps businesses to manage communications between businesses and customers. This software offers brands the ability to moderate, support and interact with customers using a set of tools that facilitate and centralize community management activities.

Community Management software enables businesses to create and manage digital spaces for community members to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns with each other, and the brand directly.

Community Management software can be used in a variety of ways across industries to offer specific community-related features, such as user-driven FAQs, product glitches and patches, chat rooms and support groups.

What is Community Management Software?

While there is a wide variety of Community Management software available in the market today, the most commonly accepted capabilities include:

  • Offering an internal system for employees to collaborate
  • Enable an easy way to manage larger communities centrally
  • Offer tools that can help monitor and measure metrics such as engagement or satisfaction

9 Benefits of using Community Management software

According to a Higher Logic survey of Community Managers, 63% of communities empower members frequently by asking questions (76%), providing solutions (68%), connecting (65%), being heard (61%), being seen (60%) or leading (35%). A Community Management software can, therefore, be a powerful tool in the hands of a proactive manager.

Test Market Before Launch

By introducing new product features to an engaged community, businesses can save tremendous time and effort in fine-tuning their innovations and test marketing it in front of an ideal customer set. Australian grocer ALDI has a Testers Club that allows customers to review items online and let ALDI know what they enjoy or what needs to be improved. This will not be possible without software especially if you’re dealing with a large community.

Easy Access to Quality Feedback

Community Management software can help you overcome product development issues by opening a clear channel of communication with customers. The software makes it easier to listen to feedback and direct valid product suggestions towards your product development team.

Grow Brand Loyalty

A Community Management software enables businesses to stay in control of conversations, which in turn empowers customers to become more emotionally vested in the success of the product.

Attract More Customers

Global Web Index states that one-third of internet users follow their favorite brands on social networks. By using Community Management software, businesses can ensure these engaged prospects are receiving content that can move them further along the customer journey.

Gain More Sales

A business managed community showcases authenticity in a brand. When researching a new product, 27.3% of users check online communities that are dedicated to product or service, indicating the potential influence communities offer. A Community Management software helps brands professionally own their communities while at the same time, pick up on conversations that merely require a nudge to convert into purchases.

Metric-based Attribution

Reading of customer’s positive or negative sentiments towards a brand, can at times be influenced by human perception. Community Management software offers tools that help measure the volume of engagement and interactions, as well as satisfaction.

Innovate & Reward

Communities can also put forth ideas on what they would like to see or buy from their favorite brand. Community Management software can enable brands to use those ideas to further their relationship while improving their products. An example is the ‘My Starbucks Idea’, which has a community of over 150K users. Starbucks gives its members constant updates on ideas that have been generated by their own community, keeps track of those ideas, and rewards members for their participation all through the use of a Community Management software.

Cost-effective Marketing

A software helps businesses proactively manage conversations with its communities and keep the mood positive. Active and happy customers can help promote products and services to reach larger groups of people, quickly and effectively, while reducing ad costs, and improving conversions.

9 Benefits of using Community Management software

Minimize Support

Businesses can save time and money in support services by leveraging the Community Management software to optimally handle customer complaints.

Which industries use a Community Management Software

Depending on the industry looking to deploy the Community Management software, the type of community for which it is being deployed can vary tremendously.

And this can extend from personal relationships to business relationships, including relationships between brands and customers, or companies and their employees.

Industries including technology, medical, healthcare commonly deploy community management software for their employees, or specialized users to interact, such as a CIO or pediatric community.

Retail brands, gaming, and CPG brands are more likely to deploy Community Management software to bring together their customers and prospects.

What are the business problems solved by Community Management software?

What are the business problems solved by Community Management software?

Deal with Negative Publicity

Community Management software ensures your brand is always a part of the conversation. This allows businesses to quickly respond and manage negative feedback or bad publicity in a cost-effective manner.

Everything you do as a community builder should be about the community, Everything

C K

Caty Kobe

FeverBee

Avoid Repetition

Community Management software can help make publication of common content requirements (such as manuals and support issues) easier, saving time and effort in duplication and updates.

Unify the Brand Voice

With the brand communication shifting from one-to-many to a one-to-one mode, community Management software gives businesses the capability of developing and analyzing deeper relationships without sacrificing the quality of its messages.

Engage Instead of React

Community Management software allows you to keep your ear to the ground to listen, track, and analyze community activity, to help your brand stay relevant to the customers’ needs.

Go Beyond Marketing

One HBR study on branded communities states that “too often, companies isolate their community-building efforts within the marketing function.” But to achieve significant business benefits, brand communities need to be guided in supporting business goals and this can be facilitated by Community Management software.

Manage Nay-sayers

A large community often brings in negative opinions, rude responses, and trolls, which if not managed quickly can derail your community and send good customers away. Community Management software can help stay on top of unwanted community behavior.

What are the features of Community Management Software?

To ensure that the goal of establishing a productive community is achieved, there must be some sort of management. Community Management software offers businesses with integrated tools to create, manage and measure online interactions effectively.

Advanced Management

Community Management software offers tools that enable company team members to interact, help, and appoint community moderators.

Omnichannel Support

Ability to support interactions of all community members across channels preferably from a single interface.

Tagging and Sorting

This functionality enables managers to tag, follow and sort through posts.

Content Creation

With the content creation feature, users can easily create and share content that is useful to others in the community.

Micro Content + Community Management = Effective Social Media Marketing

G V

Gary Vaynerchuk

Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker

Engagement Tools

The Community Management software needs to be able to offer features that encourage engagement such as discussion boards, polls, and chat features.

Analytics

Community Management software should offer brands the ability to measure the performance of its online community, monitor key metrics and autogenerate reports.

Media Libraries

In addition to storing and filing content in a centralized location, a Community Management software will also need to provide personalized user permissions and control access.

Search Functionality

The right Community Management software should enable users to search through posts and content easily with basic or advanced search functionalities.

Email Notifications

Community Management software can offer user activity notifications and email updates both to the community users and to the brand manager to stay on top of communications.

Community Management Software and AI

With the power of machine learning and AI, Community Management software can leverage enormous volumes of conversations to offer meaningful insights to brands.

AI also enables personalization of content (and conversations) for each community user, which is something that simply cannot be managed manually. An AI-enabled Community Management software, however, can not only personalize conversations but even help community members find each other based on similarity in engagement or other metrics.

Smart Assistants

Additionally, AI powers chatbots and virtual assistants to help customers quickly find what they are looking for.

Automation

AI can also help automate notifications both across the community and within the organization.

Intelligent Filters

Using AI, community managers can monitor conversations and take actions based on notifications. For example, AI tools can moderate comments and use filters to intelligently assess when the interaction has escalated to the need for human mediation, thus saving tremendous time and effort.

Buyers Guide - 5 Factors to Choose Right Community Management Software

Companies that are committed to offering their communities a direct channel of communication can reap the rewards of trust and loyalty. Before investing in a Community Management software, here are some of the factors to consider.

Customization

Your community needs to be user-friendly and to achieve this, your Community Management software should allow you to customize accordingly. This will help teams configuring content elements such as post styles, landing pages, menus, and more.

Scalability

The success of your community is in its numbers, so the Community Management software needs to be able to handle a growing membership.

Integration

Community Management software must enable seamless transfer of data between itself and other applications (such as CRM and Marketing).

Ease of Use

It is essential that the interface of your Community Management software be intuitive in order for business users and community members to be encouraged to communicate without help.

Privacy & Security

Your community user data needs to be safeguarded, so the Community Management software must offer some level of privacy controls.

Challenges in Deploying Community Management Software

Future Relevance

With technology changes happening so fast, customers could be moving on to new channels quickly and the Community Management software should be able to adapt to stay relevant in the future.

Change Management

One of the challenges to any new software is the lack of buy-in from stakeholders leading to resistance in adopting the new software. This can be handled managing by ensuring key personnel involvement and offering training processes and usage incentives early on.

Staying on the Treadmill

Keeping your community going while getting into a new Community Management software can be quite a challenge. While the difficulty may vary according to the software, it’s good to implement any community facing changes in stages rather than all at once.

RoI for Community Management Software

According to a Higher Logic survey, communities with advanced strategies are 2x as likely to be able to provide value. A great example is Rapha, a premium brand for cycling gear that doesn’t invest in regular marketing, other than their exclusive membership program. Yet this niche UK brand achieved GBP 100M in sales, with a strong membership program that grew from 600 to 10.000+ members within three years. What's even more astonishing is that it is a paid membership.

Establishing a community is an ongoing task that must be constantly monitored, nurtured and grown. This is a significant time and effort investment by a company with a specific objective in mind. The use of a Community Management software can, therefore, help brands reduce the time and effort spent in monitoring customer interactions.

With the success of an online community measured by increased engagement and conversations around the brand, the volume of managing a large, potentially global community can be staggering. In such situations, the returns of investment in a Community Management software to manpower hours can be easily measured.

Advocacy can also help businesses gain tremendous mileage in brand visibility and in turn sales, as prospects typically trust peer opinions more than brand messages. American Express reports that Americans tell an average of nine people about good experiences. There is a huge brand-building potential that can come from professionally managing a customer community.

Brand advocates are usually satisfied customers and Community Management software can leverage these voices to positively impact sales with near-zero promotional costs.

Community Management Software

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