Posted 05.18.2022 by Tomori Uriel
Imagine getting a 6,469% ROI for adding just one element to your B2B social media marketing strategy.
That would be terrific, right?
According to Higher Logic, that’s the average ROI that brands can generate from online communities.
Whether big or small, regardless of your goals and social media KPIs, every B2B business should have an online community that lets them share and communicate with their audience.
But increasing sales isn’t the only advantage of establishing an online community.
For marketers, online communities are crucial for getting customers involved, to gather important feedback, and to strengthen brand-consumer relationships.
Brands like Apple, HubSpot, and Adobe already leverage online communities for all the reasons mentioned above.
For example, the Apple Support Community helps customers by providing a platform for feedback, self-service, and knowledge exchange through user-generated content (UGC) and gamification to incentivize consumers’ involvement.
You can never go wrong with an efficient, well-thought-out community.
In this guide, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about B2B community building, and how to start, build, and grow your own B2B community in 2022.
B2B communities are taking off as more businesses see their benefits.
One of the best places to build and grow a strong B2B community is on social media. Options include Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Quora, Slack, Discord, and YouTube, among others.
If you want to start building a community for your B2B brand, we’ve laid out the steps to follow:
Before you launch an online community, you need a plan. You would obviously plan for any marketing strategy, and building a community is no different.
The best way to start is to determine the why of your brand community. And your goals need to be clearly defined. Your community also needs to offer clear value to its members.
An example of a community built on a specific goal is Salesforce’s Trailblazer. The purpose of the community is to bring users together to learn and collaborate with other Salesforce users (Trailblazers) to get the best out of Salesforce implementations.
A clear purpose is essential because, without it, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
As successful as they can be, 70% of online communities fail. And the reason a community is likely to fail is — you guessed it— lack of strategic planning.
Examples of community goals and purposes include:
According to the CMX Community Industry Report, the most popular objective for communities is providing support (CMX Community Industry Report 2021). When you set goals, it’s easier to provide ongoing value, and see and measure results.
Once you’ve determined the purpose of your online community, choosing the audience for your community is the next step — and choosing your audience stems from understanding their needs. People want to get value from communities when they join.
Users join online communities for different reasons. Some of them are:
An online community provides a platform for peer-to-peer communication. Understanding your audience helps you curate in-depth content to keep them engaged.
In a survey conducted for #SmallBusinessWeek, Verizon found that 60% of small and midsized business owners struggle to fill open positions. What are you doing to attract & retain talent?
— Verizon News (@VerizonNews) April 27, 2022
For example, Verizon manages a Twitter account that’s dedicated to the Verizon Enterprise division. It provides IT cybersecurity and enterprise news for its large-scale business customers, and Verizon does an excellent job of presenting in-depth knowledge that is directly related to the company’s target audience. They deliver in-depth knowledge, from the newest cybersecurity news to how technological advancements affect communication networks.
Social media groups are a great place to start online communities. But your social media community needs a place to reside. Thankfully, you’ve got lots of options, but you need to choose the right one.
It’s important to ask the following question: Do we want big, open to all, public forums? Social media platforms that are especially useful in this case are:
Or are you looking for private, conversational communities? Consider:
Looking to connect on a smaller scale? If what you need is a 10- or 20-person community at most, then a WhatsApp or Telegram chat will suffice. While these platforms aren’t designed for community building per se, they can come in handy.
But if you’re looking for something bigger that has the potential to keep growing with new members, then you may want to consider Facebook groups, Reddit, or Discord.
While these platforms are controlled by third-party apps, you have the option to customize your B2B community and promote it on social media.
As another option, you could build a community platform on your website where customers can visit and get information or connect with other users.
Here are things to look out for when choosing a platform:
You’ll need to do this for each new member. To help users connect, build genuine relationships, and feel a sense of belonging right from the start, you can use:
It is possible to extract email addresses from Facebook groups. Welcome emails have a 50% open rate. So, they’re a great way to kickstart relationships with new members.
For example, the first post you see when you join Later’s online community is the one that welcomes you. Adobe also sends a ”Welcome to Adobe” email immediately after people join.
Another way to welcome new community members is by tagging all new members for the week in a post and encouraging other members to make them feel welcome!
Hashtags are a huge part of branded communities. Hashtags help you to build a community around your customer base. Your users can connect with your brand and other users by simply using branded or niche hashtags.
Hashtags improve customers’ experiences because they make it easier to find the topics they’re interested in.
For example, HubSpot uses the hashtag #GrowBetter to celebrate accomplishments, while Apple uses the hashtag #ShotoniPhone to showcase video and photographic work shot on the iPhone.
Other examples of successful community hashtags include Lomography’s #heylomography, GoPro’s #mygopro, etc. Using industry or niche-specific terminologies helps you create more profound connections with your users.
Your community can quickly become redundant if you don’t provide the value you’ve promised regularly. Consistent content management is key to social media marketing success. It’s a way of showing an in-depth understanding of an issue or concept and helps you communicate effectively.
By showing up regularly, you’ll achieve the ultimate benefit — you become the brand that people trust. And people always buy from the brands they trust.
Some benefits you’ll get when you post regularly include:
Without interactivity, social media is just media without feedback.
Interaction is the most important element of social media, and it should be critical to your B2B online community, too. In 2019, CMX found that external engagement was the most popular objective for online communities (CMX Community Industry Report).
Your audience will likely not appreciate being talked to — most audiences prefer to join conversations. That’s why a social media strategy that only involves advertising is unlikely to be successful.
People use social media to interact. Then, when they join communities, they want to engage with like-minded people. Make it a habit to post community-focused and entertaining content that invites discussion.
One tool that can power your connection to your audience is Slack. Slack is a business collaboration tool that more than 600,000 companies use daily to reach out to B2B clients.
For example, when you go through Slack’s Twitter pages, you’ll see different instances where they engage with followers.
HubSpot does this too — across multiple platforms.
If you’re stuck, and trying to come up with ideas that generate engagements, here are some ideas to help:
Here’s another reminder: If community members feel that they are only being spoken to rather than engaged in a discussion, they will perceive your company as self-serving.
Engaging your audience in a genuinely helpful way through your content humanizes your brand and strengthens your bond with your customers and potential customers.
While it’s important to post content regularly, listening to your audience is equally important. Social listening is the fastest way to get feedback from your community, and it’s one of the best ways to grow customer retention.
No matter what (or how much) market research you do, you can never be 100% sure of what your customers want. But your customers are sure of what they want — so if you listen closely, you’ll recognize their pain points.
Through social listening, you get to see what they’re struggling with first-hand, and you can resolve it quickly before they move on to a competitor. Personalization is king.
According to research by Salesforce, 84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. And when you adapt to their needs, you’re strengthening customer-brand relationships. It’s also easier to get brand ambassadors and advocates when you listen.
Let’s consider an example. Back in 2017 on Twitter, a Tesla owner asked for a change to the steering wheel once the car is parked. (Tesla’s business model is both B2B and B2C.)
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX responded himself and made the requested change a reality:
Good point. We will add that to all cars in one of the upcoming software releases.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 19, 2017
A quick look at that owner’s Twitter page shows he’s essentially become a brand advocate for Tesla over the years.
Listening also makes you a cool brand.
For example, Slack took a lighthearted approach to social listening by promoting one of its products through a popular meme among social media users:
The Facebook post reads: “It could’ve been a huddle,” which is a twist on the popular “It could’ve been an email.” The post adds a human feel to their brand and shows humans are posting to their social media, not bots. The post was their second most-liked post on Facebook in August 2021.
One secret to a thriving online community is keeping things fresh.
Your audience craves newness. It’s one of the reasons many people join communities in the first place. They want to get the latest information and to see what’s new and how to jump on it.
Not only should you post regularly, but you should also change things up. What you post shouldn’t be the same thing over and over again. Mix it up with user-generated content, polls, contests, and compel people to want to check out what’s new.
So look to offer new ways for your audience to interact with your brand.
Here are some tips to keep your community fresh:
Customers who join communities generally want to discuss and learn more about topics, and the products they use and care about. But additional, community-specific benefits can add an extra layer of attraction for members, which will also boost engagement. These could be in the form of giveaways, discounts, and prizes — with special rewards for the most active members.
A referral program is another option. Give members rewards for referring new people to your community. Your members will know people around them who will be interested in joining your community. Attaching a prize or reward can be the motivation they need to spread the word.
Referral programs work — Hubspot research shows 90% of people trust a business when a friend or family member recommends it.
Several examples of B2B brands whose referral programs have excelled include:
It’s important to have an idea of the different stages community members will go through when joining your community. Setting benchmarks makes your community more interesting for new members.
For example, in the Barclaycard Travel Community, members can share their travel stories and experiences, and the brand ties participation to points. With those points, members can earn Amazon e-certificates just by engaging and being active in the community.
In Salesforce’s Trailblazer community, members can earn badges whenever they complete a project or module. Salesforce reported in 2019 that 25% of Trailblazer users indicated that a badge got them a new job. (As of this writing, Salesforce’s community boasts nearly 2 million members.)
Another way to foster a better community is by collaborating with members.
Besides wanting to learn, people join communities because they want to be a part of the brands they love. Customers feel a sense of belonging and ownership when they are welcomed into a vibrant community of like-minded peers where they can share their experiences. They want to feel connected to the businesses they buy from, and see their values mirrored in the products they buy.
For example, B2B businesses can learn from the Lego Ideas community. It’s successful because it gives users the chance to have a say in product development.
Imagine the physical realization of your idea sitting right on your shelf. You would develop an affinity for a brand that makes you feel important to their success more than the one that doesn’t.
Work hand-in-hand with some of your community’s members to create something special. Look out for active community members who genuinely believe in your brand and work with them.
None of your community-building efforts make sense if you’re not measuring your progress. Your goals determine your KPIs. We mentioned that the first steps when building a B2B social media community are to set a goal and to identify the purpose of the community.
If growth is a goal, you need to evaluate whether you’re meeting your targets, and determine whether adjustments are necessary.
According to the CMX Community Industry Report, these are the top metrics that community owners measured based on their goals:
More precise KPIs like comments, likes, and shares can help you measure whether you’re hitting the bullseye of your engagement target.
Other KPIs you can measure include:
Again, the metrics you use depend on why you’ve built the community.
Laying ground rules that all community members must adhere to is crucial to every B2B community strategy.
If you’ve used social media for the past decade, you know that trolls, abuse, hate speech, misinformation, disinformation and more can rapidly pollute interactions. Therefore, solid guidelines and moderation are crucial to growing a healthy and positive online community.
For example, banning profanity and offensive topics is usually a top priority. Advertising personal products will likely be another.
It’s also important to have a community manager. Currently, 88% of communities have at least one dedicated manager.
Lastly, include a link to your community guidelines so members can easily reference them.
Promotional one-way marketing is no longer enough. People want something more personal. They want conversations, and they want to have a genuine connection with the brands they use. Forward-thinking businesses know how important online communities are. A branded customer community offers more than just revenue or customer support.
For example, before SAP became a $162 billion business, they knew they had to do something that connected users. And they chose to create an online community. Today, The SAP community has more than 3 million members who create and share content, organize events, innovate, and help each other. Community engagement has been critical to their success.
No wonder almost 80% of founders have said community building is important to their business; 28% of founders even described a community as their moat!
With an online community, you have more chances of spotting problems early so they can be fixed faster. This means you’ve got a better and improved product, and you’ve improved the customer experience.
Happy customers stay. Communities boost brand loyalty; 60% of customers are more loyal to a brand when they have access to an online community. Online communities help your brand’s customers to explore helpful resources, network with other customers, discuss similar experiences in forums, ask questions, and get useful feedback. All of these strengthen customer relationships. They also boost the value customers derive from using your products. Loyalty leads to referrals and brand advocates, which will help promote your product or service.
Did you know? Advocates are about 3x more effective than regular, satisfied customers in motivating others to purchase. Just a 12% increase in brand advocacy represents a 200% increase in revenue growth! Besides generating high-quality referrals, they also help increase retention and improve products by providing high-quality feedback.
As one example, Hubspot has a section in their community that is solely dedicated to advocacy, featuring groups, advocate spotlights, and blogs. Just a 12% increase in brand advocacy represents a 200% increase in revenue growth!
Have you ever heard of the leaky bucket analogy? If not, here’s a quick explanation: Imagine water flows into a bucket (new customers), but there are holes in the bucket (lost customers). Any water left in the bucket is your customer base.
It’s difficult to have a reliable customer base if you don’t plug those holes, right?
So a branded online community is the best way to plug the holes in the bucket, because better support and improved customer experience lead to customer retention. And retaining customers is 5x cheaper than acquiring new customers.
An online community is an effective way to scale customer support without compromising the customer experience. An online community will also provide Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). A study showed that customers spent 19% more after joining the brand’s online community (UMICH). Community building will increase CLV by boosting cross-sells, upsells, and add-on purchases, through a combination of product awareness, customer engagement, and data-driven sales.
A study by Salesforce found that high-performing sales teams are 1.5x likelier to leverage data-driven insights for forecasts. Data-driven sales work when your sales team knows the pages that customers visit often, what discussions they’re engaging in, and what products they’re interested in. When they have this info, it makes it easier to understand customer needs — and when they’re ready to buy, you can offer stellar customer service that helps your customers make the best choice for them.
Having an online community creates a crucial space for customers to share ideas, resources, useful tips, and ask and answer questions. Self-service via an online community could save you up to $3M annually on utility costs.
And that’s not all — 49% of businesses with online communities record cost savings of up to 25% yearly. And a live chat with an agent can cost up to $12 per interaction. But self-service can cost as little as 25 cents per interaction.
Or nothing at all.
How? Customers can help other customers in communities with expert blogs, comments, and product documentation. The HubSpot community, for example, has several user-generated blogs. Every time a customer creates one to provide answers and simple how-tos, the community grows its useful information, and becomes a go-to resource where struggling customers can go and get solutions.
Do you struggle with support tickets?
Jama Software has experienced a 28% reduction in support volume tickets, which they attribute to their resource-filled community. According to Jama’s Manager of Technical Support, Kristina King, most of their support tickets begin with, “I searched in the community, but couldn’t find the answer.”
Feedback opportunities are endless with online communities. They provide a perfect platform for customers to report glitches, provide feedback on user experience, and even suggest ways to improve. And as previously discussed, all that gives you the chance to effectively pinpoint issues, concerns, resolve bugs quickly, and respond with improvements faster.
As an example, Thinkfic credits its community for some of its product improvements. One is the connection they made with Constant Contact which happened as a result of insights from customers.
But it’s important to keep in mind that you don’t always have to wait for feedback. You can ask for feedback using polls, questionnaires, and Ask Me Anything (AMA) forums.
If you’re making your customers happy with quick fixes, and investing in product improvements, everybody wins.
Feedback can actually help you earn new customers as well. You’ll easily win new prospects because you have better solutions. Don’t just leave feedback-gathering to customer success managers.
Did you know that the ‘L’ in Apple’s 5 Steps of Service stands for “Listen for and Resolve Issues or Concerns?
Apple is invested in hearing from customers — not just listening, but also resolving issues. Customers know what they want to experience, and their ideas will help you keep up with their changing expectations and other ongoing changes in the market, which occur faster and faster today.
What’s one way to be proactive about feedback in a community forum? When you spot a feature request and notice multiple supportive responses, that’s a real opportunity to use feedback to your company’s advantage.
Companies that have online communities create links between their customers and their employees. If open-door communication is a top priority, you can create your forum so that struggling customers can tag any relevant person up the chain — up to the CEO — in a conversation. On a more standard level, you can create a community where customers post a question and wait for a response from a customer support agent.
Online communities and forums offer a level of transparency that is difficult to achieve elsewhere. The space also lends itself to building and maintaining a sense of personal accountability between customers and the organization.
For example, after SpaceX’s BFR announcement, Elon Musk hosted an AMA on Reddit’s r/space sub to provide more details to enthusiastic fans.
Once your community is set up, you’ll need to get the word out and invite new members. You can start by sharing on all your social media channels and partnering with influencers.
To accelerate your efforts, the following is a comprehensive B2B community strategy that will help you promote your new online community on social media effectively. You’ll also find examples of great content marketing ideas for B2B businesses from brands you know, such as Mailchimp and HubSpot.
People usually join online social media communities for the brands they already like or are interested in, and each one of those communities will have a social media page. So, asking community members to promote your community on their personal social media pages can significantly boost reach. Note: For this to work, people usually need to get something back in return.
Rewards are great, but the value is crucial, too. No one will proactively promote your community if you’re not offering the value they expect to get. It’s easy for people to talk about your brand community with others when they’re happy with what they receive.
To make the process easier, use branded hashtags.
Community members who promote on their pages get retweets, regrams, shares, and likes from your brand (user-generated content).
They’ll feel more connected, which fosters the purpose of a community. Connecting with those who want to participate can close the gap for those who also love your brand, but don’t necessarily feel inclined to publicly announce it.
Talk about your brand community on all fronts. Always.
Feature your online community on your website’s landing page, in emails, and in the blogs you create.
For example, HubSpot has a section on their website tagged “Resources” where people can find a link to the HubSpot community.
It’s important to let your audience know you have an incredibly helpful community of like-minded people. You can use examples of how common issues were solved in the community.
You should also email your customer base with information about how beneficial joining the community is (usually, this is done with case studies).
Additionally, consider creating a newsletter. Send out a short newsletter to your customers to let them know what’s new in the community. It could be weekly or bimonthly. Highlight new members and give a heads-up about upcoming events, contests, and promotions.
Part of growing your online community requires cross-promoting across multiple channels. Get the word out wherever you are. You could visit forums and other groups where your target audience is likely spending time.
Introduce yourself, join conversations, and be helpful (without marketing). Then, once you become an established community member, you can casually suggest a post or piece of content in your community that may be helpful. You should also mention your community’s benefits, features, and milestones in social media posts.
Here’s an example on Twitter of Later Media sharing how their TikTok community reached 50K followers:
We just hit 50k followers on TikTok! 🕺
Come along with us as we share everything we learned — the good, the bad, and the cheugy.
— Later (@latermedia) March 7, 2022
Your target audience is scattered across multiple platforms. Get through to them by promoting your community, its benefits, features, and milestones on other social media platforms where they can be found.
Sponsored ads are critical if you want to grow a B2B business with social media. It’s no different with B2B community building.
But many people are weary of sponsored ads. They scroll quickly once they see advertisements on their feed or webpages, and they can become irritated when it appears the product is being forced on them.
But if the ads are not for pure marketing, and are simply a way for them to connect with their favorite brand, have interesting peer-to-peer discussions, and find help quickly — perceptions will change.
So, add sponsored ads to your social media strategy budget. You can use them to target your audience with keywords and search terms. Then, it becomes easier to find people who want to be in your community based on the value you offer. In addition, consider using Facebook Custom Audiences and Facebook Ads Manager to promote your community page’s updates and links to your website.
An AMA (ask me anything) series, which is popular on Reddit, is a great way to educate, engage, and connect with your audience.
AMAs are simply Q&A sessions in which you can share your knowledge, experiences, and ideas.
Events like these can be engaging for both audiences and brands. They’re a way to talk about success stories, case studies, and personal challenges.
Many B2B brands have hosted AMA sessions. HubSpot hosted an AMA that lasted 6 weeks in 2019.
Take a look here:
HubSpot is hosting a six-week "Ask Me Anything" series with some incredible entrepreneurs and startup experts, including the founder of HubSpot. It kicks off tomorrow at 10 a.m. – check it out!https://t.co/vx377mmMab
— Startup Junkie (@startup_junkie) October 29, 2019
Why should you host an AMA? Besides giving you a golden chance to create an engaging, interactive, and thriving community, AMA sessions tick the following boxes:
The word “free” turns heads. People just can’t resist freebies. And hosting community contests is an effective way to boost ROI.
The numbers support this. According to Small Business Trends, Contests generate a 30%-plus conversion rate ,higher than any other content. And data from Tailwind shows that 91% of Instagram posts with over 1,000 likes or comments are connected to a contest.
And accounts that run contests regularly grow 70% faster than those that don’t. Those are crazy numbers!
Not only will you get increased engagement with contests, but you can also boost your ROI. Some examples of creative and successful contests from B2B brands include:
If you’re just starting, you don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars as a reward. You only need a promise of something valuable to the audience for free in return for invites to the community or engaging in posts.
We know marketing is a serious business. But by throwing in a bit of fun, you’ll stay alive in the minds of community members and prospects, stand out in the marketplace, and drive engagement.
Whimsical content can show off a humorous, yet intelligent corporate culture.
You can choose to create content that incorporates beautiful design and takes a unique approach to popular trends. A colorful, engaging image could be just the piece to entice a new follower to discover more about your company.
People use Instagram, for example, for aesthetics and to be inspired, and they often scroll passively through their feed until something catches their attention.
Additionally, consider using memes. While using memes for marketing isn’t for everyone, we all know social media is a breeding ground for satirical and humorous images.
Your audience will still see the value in artistic content even when it’s obvious the content is still marketing-focused.
Be sure to create precise and helpful content. You’ll drive more engagement if your content solves a particular problem or pain point, rather than trying to solve every issue in one post. So look for one issue, and create super-specific content that solves it.
Embrace educational content — whether it’s a video that shows your audience how to do something, or a static image that breaks down a new concept.
Here’s an incredibly helpful example from Later, raising awareness of mental health:
There's never been a better time to check in on your mental health. https://t.co/ScPCFfhvjB
— Later (@latermedia) March 4, 2022
The right content can substantially boost your product positioning and deliver value that your audience will appreciate.
Content is crucial to a thriving community. Smart marketers know creative content is crucial for anyone looking to grow a B2B business with social media.
If you’re stuck, here are some tips to create interactive content that will drive community growth and boost ROI.
Content should be relatable to people who work in that field: As a rule of thumb, if the content is not relevant to the audience, it should never go live. Your audience should be able to relate to your social media posts. Your posts should affect them in one way or another.
Here are tips on creating relatable content:
Other things to note:
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Product School is the largest community of product managers.
Since it was founded in 2014, the Product School community has grown to over 1 million product managers globally. While Product School’s major focus is educating and certifying product managers, it also conducts 1,000 events and 5 conferences yearly.
Surprisingly, 90% of its resources are free.
Takeaway: Product school chose Slack as its preferred platform. The community functions as both a learning and discussion community.
Later describes its community as a place where its users and social media movers can connect, learn, and exchange ideas.
Just three years after Later was founded, the platform announced that its customer base had grown to over one million users. The Later community is also thriving and currently has more than 4,000 members.
If you’re a Later user and have any issues, you’re almost certain to get help within their community.
The Drift Community has more than 45,000 members. That’s terrific for a community that was launched in 2020. Drift, a conversational sales and marketing company, has built a thriving community of people willing to discuss and learn.
Takeaway: Drift encourages members who want to create content for discussion to use visual content. This is because the platform recognizes the impact of images and videos in drawing engagements.
Gong is a revenue intelligence platform for B2B sales and marketing teams. And they understand the impact of B2B community building.
Gong’s community has more than 2,000 members.
Takeaway: The goal is to provide a platform for peer-to-peer interaction, and for the sharing of ideas and learning from top B2B sales marketers. Users can read any of the hundreds of educational posts available, share their thoughts, and even ask specific questions.
ProfitWell is another revenue growth platform that leverages B2B community-building effectively.
Takeaway: ProfitWell’s official community is on Facebook. This makes sense, due to the fact that Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform, and there’s a great opportunity to connect with their audience there.
Your goals and the type of community your audience wants significantly influence the type of online community you’ll build and grow.
We’ve listed 5 types of online communities that will get you inspired, plus examples from brands. If you’re unsure of the kind of community you should create, the following is a reliable guide.
People want to gain new information, to know what’s going on, and share knowledge with like-minded people. If your brand is focused on creating an environment for knowledge-sharing, then a learning community will allow you to engage with a wider audience while also enhancing your voice and presence in your industry.
You can use a learning community to provide in-depth research, insights, and other exclusive content.
A good example of a learning community is Wilmington Healthcare’s OnMedica community. Wilmington Healthcare is a B2B brand that uses its granular understanding of the national and local NHS to help its clients understand their audience and market better.
The community provides specialists and GPs with the latest educational resources and opportunities to share and collaborate.
The community has a unique verification process, meaning only doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council in the United Kingdom are allowed full access. This ensures the credibility of any information and knowledge that is shared. The community has become a prominent independent environment for doctors, offering a wealth of clinical reference materials and knowledge.
Another example of a learning community is Adobe’s learning communities.
This type of online community advocates for change. Their shared values are what brings them together. It’s a community where members unite to organize and achieve a common purpose.
For instance, an action community could be created for charity fundraising, political change, and so on. Brands that set up action communities are usually non-profit.
Perhaps the greatest challenge such communities have is maintaining interest from all members, especially when the change people work toward is gradual.
Here are some examples of non-profits with online communities that service other enterprises, especially small-scale businesses:
The genuine relationships and connections that leading industry brands foster with their customers are a key factor in their success.
Brand communities provide their customers with more involvement in brands and highlight their expertise.
It’s important to concentrate on consumer needs, desires, and pain points to build a growing, engaging, and sustainable community that can boost ROI.
One of the most successful brand communities is Salesforce’s Trailblazer community of almost 2 million members.
A discussion community is where members join to talk about a common interest, such as a favorite TV show, or fashion, celebrities, or sports teams.
B2B brands can also create discussion communities for clients who are genuine followers of their business and want peer-to-peer interaction.
If you have a discussion community, then engagement is the primary goal of your content.
A good example of a discussion community is the Act! Community. It allows members to collaborate on new ideas and discuss experiences.
In a support community, users can ask for and provide help on specific topics. Support communities help brands reduce customer support costs, like handling support tickets.
One of the best examples is Apple’s Support Community.
You can find service-related conversations, get help and advice on software and products from members, view product specifications for devices across the company’s history, and more.
This type of community is pretty common among brands. A Forrester Research study found that 81% of companies have at least one form of a support community.
B2B social media communities are important for many reasons. Social media communities can help B2B businesses connect with their target audience across multiple platforms, which significantly improves brands’ customer acquisition. The relationship that these communities foster also helps with customer retention, garnering first-hand feedback, gaining an in-depth understanding of customer personas and needs, and cutting support costs (such as handling support tickets), and improving brand image. In fact, community members are more likely to become brand advocates.
To start, determine your community goals. Understand why you created the community. If your goal is to get more engagement for your social media posts and in your community, then you’ll measure KPIs like:
You can also measure KPIs like conversion and click-through rate. If you want to grow your customer base, KPIs like signup rate can help you measure growth effectively for your B2B community.
Start by identifying your business’s needs, and then, determine the purpose of your community. You should also understand your audience’s needs, and choose the right platform. Next, create a plan for how to achieve your goals. Don’t hesitate to promote your community across multiple platforms, and measure KPIs to identify growth opportunities.
The best channel for your B2B community depends on your audience. With that in mind, Facebook is one of the best social media platforms for B2B marketing, and it’s also a great place for a B2B social media community (especially Facebook Groups). Other channels to consider are LinkedIn, Instagram, Slack, YouTube, and Twitter. If you have the resources, you can also consider creating your own platform for your B2B community.
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