One of the most important aspects of an online presence and customer relationship management is community. Community building has become a rising trend as the need for tracking the conversation, working with loyal customers, and bringing in new ones has increased. While building one is a complex task, there are some wonderful social media tools that can help.??First, before you think about what tools you’ll need to build a community, you need to answer an important question: do we need a community or community tools? Not every product or service is powered by consumers. For example, business-to-business applications such as inventory software don’t require the management of a large amount of customers, but targeted focus on a few bigger ones.
However, if your company follows a business-to-consumer model where customers can easily fall in love with or become dissatisfied with your product, you should build a community. It’s a key tool to creating brand evangelists, increasing customer retention, and helping calm down disgruntled customers. And of course, it helps you gain customers and keep them.
So if you’ve decided that you want to build a community, here are a few useful tools to use alongside social media essentials like Facebook and Twitter:
Ning: Ning is a tool for building your own social network. With it, you can create a fully-functional social media experience that includes message boards, videos, photos, profiles and more. It’s easy to maintain and very customizable. Brands like Saturn use it successfully to manage their community.
Message Boards: If you’re looking for something a little less flashy, you can turn to message board software. It’s ideal as a customer service platform – many times, your other customers will address user problems for you! Plus you can add social aspects as the community grows. Check out Phorum, phpBB, punBB, and bbPress if you’re looking for reliable message board software.
WordPress Blog: Creating a company blog can be the starting point of any community, especially if you turn on and encourage comments. Perhaps publish a user blog post every month on how they’ve used your product to a positive end, or just recognize some of your most active members. Be sure the blog is installed on your own domain.
Facebook Fan Page: If you’re looking to start building a community fast, one of the quickest options is to set up a Facebook fan page for your product. Every time you post an update, your fans can comment, talk about the product, add photos, add videos, and more. It’s an easy way to create a community that leverages the viral power of Facebook. It’s especially useful if your customers are younger.
There are many tools that work, but community-building will never work if you aren’t authentic, don’t engage your customers, and forget to provide exemplary customer service. With these tools and some dedication, you can build a community that can propel your business to new heights.