With over 27%
of U.S. consumer’s time on the internet spent on social media websites (source
) it's obvious that social media changed how businesses have to market themselves online. The sheer quantity of time that consumers spend using social media provides a great opportunity to connect with users for customer engagement and support. Businesses can take this to the next level by starting a community on their own websites.
You Still Must be Present on Other Social Media Websites
I'm commonly asked, "If you add a social media platform to part of your website do you still have to use other social media websites?" The answer is yes, you will still need to use them. You can leverage the traffic from sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to get more users on your community, and then retain them with a quality environment for interaction.
Building your Online Community
Depending on the quality of your online community platform and how well you promote it, your social network can grow quickly and provide immediate short term results. On the other hand, if your platform is poorly made and missing features that are crucial to user experience, you can easily sputter out early and miss the opportunity to improve your bottom line.
The good news is that you don’t need to build an online community platform from scratch. The equation for a quality experience has been solved for quite some time now by companies interested in helping businesses improve their online prescense. For example, DNN Social is one such platform that makes the process painless but more importantly has a smooth and effective interface to make sure your customers are having the right experience.
One of the reasons DNN Social is popular among developers in comparison to other platforms is because you will not have to pay per user, which means when your community grows to be large you will be saving a lot of money relative to the alternatives.
Engaging Users in your Community
If there is one thing that just about everyone likes, it’s playing a game. So what if you could turn the customer interaction experience into a game? One of the great features of DNN Social is that it comes with a useful set of features for gamification, so you can set things like badges and points, which can be tied in with a leaderboard where you can receive prizes for more engagement from your users. These features can be used in a Q&A, forum/discussion, scoring/upvoting platforms, all of which are popular in social media sites now.
In conclusion, online communities are an integral part of business in the modern consumer-business relationship. You can take the communication within your team or your customers to a higher level with a well-built, branded social network. This gives you an outlet to direct the massive amount of traffic on other social media sites and get them involved with your business. As long as you select a robust and flexible platform, your online community has the potential to significantly improve your results.