How to sell your community internally and highlight its value: How to prioritize your efforts? (KB)

  • 25 October 2017
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You probably realize by now that your community can potentially benefit your company in a variety of ways. The natural question at this point is usually: “where should I begin?”

Prioritizing your efforts matters. The starting point should always be given by your community objective and your community concept. Both aspects provide you with a clear guidance about where the opportunities lie, as well as help you determine the opportunities that are consistent with the role that your community is playing within your online ecosystem.

To make sure that you are able to highlight the potential value to internal stakeholders there are several practical steps that your should consider. Begin with ensuring that your company’s digital media or website owners help you position the community towards your customers. Integrations are central in helping you bring relevant traffic to your community and to show the preference that customers have for user-generated content in comparison to sponsored or branded content. You can build smart integrations that will highlight the community by focusing on three main aspects:
  1. Make sure that activity from the community has a prime location on your company’s website.
  2. Integrate community content into your product pages,ensuring that relevant content such as product reviews or referrals appear next to product information.  
  3. Integrate from the community to your product pages for sales purposes.
Prioritize steps 1-3 taking into account the content that you already have or expect to have in your community. Keep also in mind that when people visit your community thanks to smart integrations their user journey does not necessarily end when they abandon your website. In other words, that outgoing traffic to the community is not lost traffic, but rather part of the funnel that ensures that prospects become customers and that the lifetime value of current customers increases. Make sure you use this fact as a way to ensure that you properly measure the outgoing traffic from your community that lands on product and service pages. Measuring this traffic gives you arguments to ensure that the right integrations are built and that sales teams notice the value of user-generated content. Using, for example, the community as a place to  gather product references, product reviews and even compliments can be a way to deliver great value to your marketing and sales teams.

A step further consists in identifying the challenges and opportunities for involving other teams and departments. With a starting a community your acquisition plan can help you already to target very specific groups of users. Next to this, during the registration process and when creating the profile fields you should think well about the information that you would want to gather from community members. The more you know about your audience and about the quality of the traffic that is reaching your community, the higher the potential value of your member base for your marketing and sales departments. To realize this value the key is to sell your community as a place where members will chat about the products, as well as make the decision to purchase them.

Even when a community is mainly focused on customer care and support, it may be positioned as a competing support channel next to, among others, email and chat. In this case you can highlight the value of the community as a 1-to-many channel, which can result in call and contact reduction savings that other channels cannot achieve. When pursuing a contact reduction business case you can focus on achieving a more in depth embedding of the community within your company’s customer care strategy. The value of your community does not end with successful call reduction savings. Instead, successful call reduction opens the door to further realization of value. If your community achieves higher resolution rates it is most likely to deliver higher NPS scores too, in comparison to other customer care channels. Higher levels of satisfaction are also likely to provide opportunities for greater engagement: satisfied customers are more willing to provide feedback, participate in customer research, propose ideas and, overall, deliver value to your product and development teams.   

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