If you are a brand selling a product or a business operating with a wide customer base, one thing that you can do to improve your brand visibility, site’s engagement, communication is to create an online community of your audiences where they can have vibrant discussions around your brands and other core values. For example, brands like Sephora, Nike, and Apple have powerful online communities.
If you think Facebook is way too overrated and is not impressive anymore, then you can also create an online community website of your own. Yes, it’s possible and pretty much easy. In today’s article, we will let you know the importance of creating your own community website online and how you can create one with the help of the WordPress platform.
Why Should You Have An Online Community For Your Brand
Online communities can prove to be a powerful tool for your business. An interactive community can be of a variety of benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should build an online community for your brand.
1. Improved Brand Awareness And Loyalty
Making your customers a part of your brand community no longer makes them distinct and separate from your brand. Thus, with an online community, you can help your customers build an online identity related to your brand. You can allow them to communicate with each other, share their preferences, likings, and dislikings. This can result in greater brand loyalty and awareness among them. This can encourage visits and interests in the site. Moreover, your community can help your brand grow via word of mouth and online sharing.
2. Reduced Customer Support And Lower Costs
When you have a community website for your customers to share information, you will reduce customer support costs as members will help each other solve problems and answer questions. Also, with an online community, you can provide fast customer support by helping customers in the community itself. This will help lower the costs significantly.
3. Social Media Engagement
Creating an online community can also help in increasing engagement of your products on social media. With the help of a community website, you can make your social media posts go viral. You can post videos, images, polls that are engaging and allow your customers to take part in. Your community members can be your best brand promoter online as well as offline.
4. Helps You Understand Your Customers
One of the best ways to better understand your customer is to know what they are experiencing. An online community website can help you learn about your customers, preferences, likings, dislikes, and many more. You can ask for their reviews, engage them in attractive polls, send them feedback forms to find out about their behavior. Furthermore, user-generated content offers more credibility in supporting a company’s trust than the one created by the employees.
5. Relieve Your Marketing Expenses
An online brand community can help you save your cost on expensive marketing activities. According to a survey, 49% of companies said adding communities has been a cost-savings for their support operations which is as much as 10 to 25% annually. This means you can save a lot of expense on customer acquisition by creating an online community. In addition, you will be able to get repeat purchases and higher sales by focussing on your current customer base.
How To Create An Online Community?
Since you are now well aware of the importance of creating an online community, let us now move forward with creating an online website for your brand.
Decide The Type Of Community Site
The first and foremost step is to decide which type of community site is right for your brand. Options for community sites can be split into two major categories.
If you are a small niche business or are a first-timer, or have an eCommerce site, creating a forum the only website can be a great option for you. With a forum-only website, you can offer simple post-sale support to your customers under one roof.
Social Networking Websites:
Undoubtedly Facebook and Twitter have proved their mettle as social networking websites giving a platform to a mass audience to share their opinions online. But when it comes to creating a community for your brand, you will require a niche-based website to gain real engagement. Thus, the best way is to create a social network of your own.
Regardless of which option you go, it’s important to understand your potential users and how you want to accomplish your overall objective.
Creating A Forum-Only Community Website
If you plan to go with a forum-only community, you should go with WordPress as your preferred platform. This is because WordPress is the most popular and flexible platform to let you create any niche website with full ease. You can know more about creating a WordPress website in detail here.
WordPress comes with various plugins that you can use to extend the functionality of your website. For example, to design your website, you can go with a featured WordPress theme that provides you with the required design.
For a forum website, you can go with the bbPress WordPress plugin, which allows you to add a straightforward community option to your site. This plugin is easy to install, offers seamless integration with WordPress, and is completely free.
In terms of adding additional functionality to your WordPress website, there is a range of bbPress dedicated addons which you can use on your WordPress website. In addition, you can check out this article on Best bbPress Plugins Of 2020.
Creating A Social Network Website With WordPress
If you are planning to create a niche-based community website for your brand and offer more comprehensive community options, you can go with creating a community website for your brand. To create an online community with WordPress, you can go with the most popular and so far the best plugin of all time- BuddyPress.
BuddyPress is a great solution for running a fully functional community website with the WordPress platform. This plugin lets you create a community website like Facebook with features like activity streams, user groups, member profiles, private messaging, notifications, and many more.
If you also want to integrate a forum functionality on your social network, you can use bbPress with BuddyPress to offer great support for each other. Again, the standard BuddyPress plugin is free of cost.
You can also add additional functionality with the help of dedicated BuddyPress addons. Some really helpful dedicated addons for BuddyPress include BuddyPress Polls, BuddyPress Profanity, BuddyPress Hashtags. You can also check this list of some essential BuddyPress Plugins in detail.
When designing your online community with WordPress, you can choose a dedicated theme for that purpose. We would suggest using Reign BuddyPress Theme, which offers dedicated integration with BuddyPress and various incredible features to give your community the design it needs.
Give Your Business Wings With An Online Community Website
Adding a community feature to your brand or business can prove to be an incredible way of engaging your customers and promoting your business. Not only it reduces your marketing expenses, but it also lets you know your customers better.
That’s why you should focus on building an online brand community and focus on its long-term growth.
We hope this article helped you understand the importance of creating your own community website online for your brand. If you have any suggestions for us, let us know in the comments below.
Interesting Read: Secure Your Private Community Website By Adding Privacy Features