Over the last decade, a lot of big-name companies have built online communities to create a space for their customers. This gives customers of shared interests an easy way to interact with the community and gain knowledge. However, many business owners tend to think that an online community would mean extra expenses and more manpower to manage. But that’s not true at all!
In this article, we look at why online communities are important for businesses of all kinds. We have also showcased some of the most relevant online community statistics for 2021. So let’s jump right in!
Listed below are some of the most important reasons to build an online community
It’s 2021! Everyone is building an online community for their brand. Are you still thinking if it’s worth it? Read on!
1. Helps to connect and belong
In today’s world, it is important for everyone to make connections in the digital world. Online communities serve as a great platform to connect with people of shared or similar interests. This helps the members of the community to have meaningful conversations about various topics, and also a sense of belonging and also gain knowledge. The discussions happening in such communities facilitate strong bonds and ensure connectivity even in the longer run.
2. Lower costs
Creating an online community is extremely easy and cost-effective. When you offer customer support online through your community, you save a lot of money that you would otherwise spend for customer support. Furthermore, by creating an online community and focussing more on what your customers need, you can also save up on marketing costs. The members of your community can also help each other by giving tips and solutions, and increase their knowledge about a certain topic, thereby supporting each other.
3. Gets the organization and customers closer
Online communities are a great way to build relationships with your customers. With an interactive online platform, you improve your customers’ experience with your company and also increases your credibility. Business owners can ensure that they are available online by answering customer queries, giving them updates on the current events of the brand, and providing various coupons and discount codes to certain loyal and long-term members of the community. Online communities help build trust within customers and retain them for a longer period.
4. Organic feedback
Receiving customer feedback is probably one of the most important things for any business. Online communities are a great way to receive organic feedback from customers without even asking for it. How? By simply looking at the discussions customer have with each other and the questions they ask the brand. Online communities are also helpful in receiving organic feedback about blogs, or other content that you are creating. Such feedback can help you improve the brand, and by letting the customers know that their opinion is being valued and acted over, you can gain more trust and brand loyalty from the customers.
5. Customer advocacy and referrals
We have seen that online communities are an easy and cost-effective method to build a brand, help the brand be visible in the digital world, and also enhance customer relationships. When the customers feel heard, they become the strongest advocates of your brand. This will lead them to refer your brand to more people around them and bring new customers to your business. By regularly letting the customers know that they are an integral part of the brand, they can become brand advocates in the longer run, which in turn helps your brand sustain the competition.
Here are the relevant online community statistics for 2021
Now let’s get to the most important part. What are the crucial statistics that help us understand the importance of online communities?
- As compared to offline communities, the use of online community statistics has substantially increased. About 38% of communities operated by business owners are online-only communities, on the other hand, 58% of communities exist both online and offline, and only 4% of all communities are operated offline.
- On average, online community members receive a 9.16X ROI on the value they contribute, and organizations get a 4.46X return.
- 88% of community professionals agree that communities play a vital role in achieving the organization’s missions, and up to 64% admit that online communities have helped them improve the decision-making process of the organization tremendously.
- Online communities also impact the organization’s revenue directly, as customers tend to spend 19% more after joining a company’s online community.
- Communities also help organizations in their marketing strategies, as 77% of organizations believe that online communities helped them improve their marketing for current as well as potential customers.
- In a survey of brand managers at Fortune 500 companies, 54% of managers mentioned online communities helped them change how they think about collaborations, and about 46% of managers stated that online communities helped them change how they think about their customers.
- Furthermore, 27.3% of customers use online communities while considering purchasing a product or service online.
- 55% of internet users don’t mind the anonymous nature of communities, while 40% consider it to be a positive thing. In addition, 60% of users think that people tend to be more honest in online communities when they are anonymous.
- Online communities also serve as a great platform for learning new topics. 94% of online community members admit to using communities as a platform to learn about new subjects and gain knowledge.
- 55% of social media engagement happens over mobile phones, which suggests that the growth in usage of mobile phones also plays a vital role in the popularity of online communities.
- Most of the communities being run by companies are customer-center everyone needs to make. About 43% of all members of the community turn into customers. Moreover, about 12% of the members are developers, 8% are industry members and influencers, and 6% are volunteers.
- According to the 2020 Community Industry trends Report, about 88% of community professionals believe that community is an essential aspect of the organization’s mission.
- According to GlobalWebIndex report, members of a community prefer online communities rather than a social media website for the following purposes –
- Meaningful conversations (36% higher)
- Feeling themselves (24% higher)
- Being appreciated (21% higher)
- Being heard (19% higher)
- Sense of belonging (18% higher)
To sum up
The concept of online communities has been around for many years now, and since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, more and more companies are looking to increase their online presence through such communities. There is no doubt that online community statistics can help a company gain loyal customers that will stay with the company for the long term and also bring new customers to the company. Online communities have many advantages and these statistics just prove it.