How to Make the Power of Digital Communities Work for You

The demand for hyper-connected digital experiences continues with a shift in how organizations are approaching communication and brand interactions but many brands are still missing the mark. This means more than just having one-way marketing coversations with your audience on Facebook and Twitter or infusing mobile apps. Companies need next-generation experiences that are directly plugged into core business processes, systems of record and systems of engagement.

What innovations exist today that deliver next-gen digital experiences? Digital or online communities. Communities are the connective tissue linking customers, partners and employees to brands.

Why Build a Community?

According to new research from Salesforce, digital communities result in 48 percent faster case resolution, 48 percent increase in employee engagement, 45 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 43 percent increase in partner sales, according to recent research from Salesforce. So how can you build and grow successful communities with customers, partners, and employees?

5 Ways Communities Are Defining the Future of Business

Communities not only facilitate social collaboration for an organization, this next-generation of enterprise technology platform is a core component of digital transformation linking marketing, sales and service business processes. Below are five specific use cases to help you reimagine every interaction your organization has with customers, partners and employees.

Communities as a Marketing Engine

In an age where customer experience is one of the most powerful elements of corporate strategies today, and a fundamental business driver, brands must put customers at the center of their business model. Digital communities are a great way to tap into the power of building deeper connections with others, share news and announcements, and most importantly, enable your customers to amplify your message as brand ambassadors. Some of the best results we’ve seen with communities have required little to zero spend on marketing.

Communities Power Channel Sales

Traditionally, companies managed partner relationships enabled by a partner portal. These solutions are often disjointed, one-way conversations and lack a seamless partner experience that keeps partners engaged and connected with your business. Communities not only take marketing conversations to another level but can accelerate channel sales. A community allows you to quickly onboard new partners, provide a single place to submit sales opportunities, access campaign materials, and offer a forum for collaborative selling and training.

Crowdsourcing Ideas with Communities

What better way is there to help give your product team ideas to make your product stand out from your competitors than opening up the conversation through online forums and communities to gain direct buy-in from the user community? Apple is a perfect crowdsourcing community success story. Apple evangelists and avid users definitely played an important role to make their products what they are today. Customers that feel like their opinion truly matters builds customer loyalty and retention.

Omni-channel Customer Service with Communities

Social, live chat, and mobile are quickly becoming essential components of successful customer service strategies. The biggest challenge for today’s service teams is integrating all these channels into a single support experience for customers. One of the strongest business use cases for communities is around creating a a rich, seamless, and consistent omni-channel customer service experience. Service teams can explore untapped business opportunities with self-service capabilities, increase case deflection using integrated public knowledge bases, and empower customers to help others through peer-to-peer support.

Communities Transform the Workplace

One of the biggest drivers to become a socially connected enterprise is collaboration. Collaboration is the key to inspiring innovation for an organization. Connecting employees directly to the information, tools and experts they need (whenever or wherever they are) empowers a workforce to effectively do their job and grow the business.

Learn More

To help you kickstart your collaboration success with communities, download our complimentary e-book, “The ‘Secret Sauce’ to Create an Engaging Online Community”. After all, simply making the decision to build an online community is not enough. Our team of community experts has extensive experience building communities for companies of all sizes and we’re here to help you along this journey. We’ve not only shared our secrets for defining a successful vision but are giving you the tools and strategies to manage a thriving community to elevate your business.

Tags: crowdsourcing, customer service, Marketing, omni-channel service, PRM, social business, Social Engagement

Originally published at on June 8, 2015.

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