In this current year, individuals and brands alike have had to adjust rapidly to remain healthy during the pandemic, which has led more people to work and socialize online than ever before. We have discovered that online communities have aided in satisfying the simple human need for communication and knowledge caused by a lack of interaction with in-person communities. This year, online groups are doing the following.
1. Developing resilience
Intuit products are designed to help consumers, small business owners, and self-employed people better their financial lives. As pandemic-related shutdowns and outages started in the United States in mid-March, Intuit wasted no time using its branded online communities to assist consumers securely and efficiently. Intuit’s QuickBooks Group, for example, offered live support for their Intuit Aid Assist to help consumers locate government stimulus funding. Intuit’s online community also hosted a series of QuickBooks Ask the Expert hangouts. Customers may interact with experts in real-time during the hangouts to get answers to their COVID-19-related questions. Intuit is assisting its customers in developing resilience through these and other measures.
2. Growing the number of learning opportunities
PowerSchool is notable for being the first web-based student information system. They created their online communities to serve as a central hub for peer-to-peer discussions, self-help, chat, and web support for all of their customers, bringing their 30+ solutions under one roof and streamlining and simplifying the customer experience. Online learning has become increasingly important during the pandemic, particularly as the school year begins in earnest. By extending learning opportunities, providing COVID-19 tools to assist schools with online guidance, and providing a chatbot, the PowerSchool group has proven its ability to serve customers.
3. Ecosystems that are connected
Schneider Electric, innovative energy, and automation company is leading the energy industry’s digital transformation by offering digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability and working to ensure that energy is digitized, reliable, clean, and green. The Schneider Electric online group represents billions of core stakeholders and links a diverse ecosystem in which peers answer 90% of members’ questions — an impressive feat.
4. Lowering the cost of funding
Flexera assists businesses with technology optimization. More than 50,000 global customers and 1,300+ employees are connected through their online communities, which helps members achieve their goals in a supportive, seamless environment. Flexera saved $5 million in maintenance costs in the first year since launching their online community, including during the most challenging parts of 2020. They’ve also increased engagement: their search activity increased by 60% in the same year, showing that their group can accommodate increased activity while lowering costs.
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5. Assisting people in staying educated
AARP is a reliable source of news and intelligence, with nearly 38 million subscribers, a consistency that has been especially critical this year. Members have exclusive access to AARP’s online community, and this year’s Expert Series program was updated to include valuable COVID-19 content. This year, AARP added Caregiving Experts to their online community, which is especially important for the people they represent. These experts provided advice in their community’s Caregiving Tips section. The Rewards team organized competitions for the best ways to treat at home while maintaining good mental health to raise morale among members.
6. Developing stronger bonds
Airbnb had a particularly difficult year, as they rapidly adapted their business model from one that encouraged unrestricted travel to one that helps their hosts while still contributing meaningfully to the pandemic. Airbnb arranged accommodation for over 100,000 frontline staff less than two weeks earlier this year by rallying their business and host group behind a common cause. Their host communities were a critical component in that achievement. In their English, French, and German communities, Airbnb created three new boards where hosts could address COVID-19. Airbnb also aided hosts by introducing listening sessions to address any issues or questions they had, have frank and open debates about the way they felt about COVID-19-related company updates, and suggest ideas. The sessions also provided a forum for hosts to interact with one another. All of these changes helped Airbnb build closer relationships with its users, both as a brand and as individuals, and they were all made possible by their online communities.
7. Developing New Business Concepts
By lowering the barrier to creating relationships between consumers, support teams, product and engineering, and external experts, communities have expanded, strengthened, and opened up new strategies. The larger your ecosystem can grow, the more connections you’re able to make. Microsoft and Autodesk have recently discovered new ways to link their product audiences, allowing experts to share their expertise, reach a larger audience, and even develop entirely new business strategies they couldn’t imagine before.
8. Replacing personal experiences that have been lost
Another significant role that online communities have played this year is to replace missed in-person experiences with similarly rewarding but secure channels for connection. Using their online community, Anaplan Community, which connects people with data to improve decision-making in dynamic environments, moved from in-person events to fulfilling online events seamlessly. Anaplan hosted an online version of all of their live events well before COVID-19, and their community is now a center of information, learning, and meaningful connection. Anaplan is assisting with the replacement of missed personal experiences outside of their community.
Conclusion of online communities
Online communities can be a valuable resource for businesses trying to develop better solutions to complicated issues, as these examples have shown. We will accelerate out of this troubled year by gathering a community of active members who can solve challenges with greater versatility and encouraging them to do so through education and interaction.