As a dedicated community builder, your focus extends beyond simply listening to and supporting your community. It also entails ensuring that you align with the ever-important business needs. A thriving community must have a clear purpose, otherwise, the question arises: Why invest your time and efforts into it? You’re building communities for a reason and understanding the potential return on investments (ROI) requires aligning your community objectives with the overarching business goals.
Collaborating with teams throughout the organization becomes crucial to guarantee the attainment of those goals. Whether you aim to expand market share or foster robust revenue streams, your community must serve a purpose that ultimately fosters comprehensive growth. Depending on how you strategize, community can become your growth engine streamlined along business objectives. And what helps in making this possible is including all your stakeholders and supporters from the beginning; who you’re building the community for should also align with the business goals.
To kick-start the process, it's essential to identify and prioritize your organization's key business objectives. This could mean having open discussions and conversations with company executives about how they envision the community vs. how you think of it. There shouldn’t be roadblocks about best interests down the line because that means “forcing” your community to become something it didn’t start out as and can have an irreversibly negative effect on the members.
Clearly lay out your expectations and goals about the community. If you want to focus more on events, communicate that. If the decision-makers are keener on driving product adoption, you’ll have to strategize ways that align your goals of having more community networking events with their goals of having better product adoption.
Once everyone is on the same page about everything, it’s time to tie your goals to outcomes. And that’s only possible if you're tracking the right metrics. Although it’s okay to align community goals with the objectives of other departments like marketing or sales, you have to have standalone metrics that are appropriate for your community. Remember that a community isn’t a commitment, and members cannot always be thought of as leads or as part of the funnel.
Once you’ve identified what metrics you’d like to track, the next step is to set up those metrics. Threado gives you pre-built reports to help track important community metrics that directly tie community impact to the ROI of your business.
You can directly identify potential champions who are your potential customers or advocates that can promote word-of-mouth.
Understand retention charts to see how people are responding to your community. A good retention chart can be directly tied to having an engaged community. Otherwise, you might have to first worry about driving more engagement in the community.
Understand the sentiment of members of the community. How is your community feeling? What’s the general consensus like? A higher negative sentiment is indicative of people being dissatisfied or unhappy with whatever it is that you’re offering.
Communities serve as an effective medium for nurturing prospects and generating valuable leads. When you establish a community, you initiate an open dialogue about your product and brand, fostering a space for meaningful discussions and engagement. This inclusive environment cultivates a sense of connection within your target audience, leading to increased brand loyalty, organic growth through word-of-mouth, and the generation of high-quality leads. It's a powerful strategy that brings multiple benefits to your business.
A great way to stay aligned with business objectives is to sync your HubSpot CRM with Threado and use custom data to identify users who are also part of the community. Sync user/member data to understand which members are qualified leads, which ones are potential prospects, which one's cold leads, etc. You can leverage this data to then nurture these leads in the community. This serves as a cross-functional effort that will benefit the community and also keep your sales or marketing teams in the loop.
If your goal is to drive more product adoption across existing and new customers, structure your community and related programs around the product. There are a few things you can do to make the most improve product adoption -
An increase in product adoption is a direct identifier for your company to focus on those users as potential prospects. Prioritizing and nurturing those users who’ve become active product users because of your efforts will serve as add-on incentives that eventually play a role in helping them make the decision. So, an increase in product adoption is a direct way to influence ROI and in fact, one of the most reliable ways.
The flywheel (a self-perpetuating mechanism that spins on its own) effect has a way of naturally taking shape, but its scalability heavily relies on how you harness and give structure to it. It's important to remember that you can't force people to embrace your brand or community. However, you can connect with those who are already active contributors and express your willingness to support their efforts. Essentially, when you're creating structures or expanding programs to enhance word-of-mouth, you're not asking people to do something entirely new. Instead, you're encouraging them to keep doing what they're already doing, while providing the necessary support and facilitation.
These structured approaches can be seen as programs. Some notable brands have successfully implemented community-led programs, such as Superuser, Advocacy, or Ambassador programs. Remarkable success stories like Notion or Discourse have achieved unicorn status by effectively tying people's genuine love for their products to well-orchestrated programs that motivate them to keep driving a sustainable flywheel. However, it's crucial for you to have a compelling reason behind building a community program.
These community programs can be the initial driving factor you need to start the flywheel. Once your community starts participating in these programs, the word-of-mouth flywheel starts taking effect automatically.
As users navigate through the funnel, there are numerous touchpoints and gentle nudges that ultimately lead to success. However, with a thriving community in place, many of these touchpoints no longer rely solely on your efforts. Community managers often find that a community's true success lies in its ability to function independently, without heavy reliance on the host. When you can foster connections among community members and remove all dependencies on your team, that's when your support community truly becomes sustainable. This is when members start helping one another and none of this requires you or your customer success teams to take matters into their own hands. As a result, there are lesser support tickets and lower costs.
Threado’s support feature lets you filter out posts in the community as per your priorities allowing you to get to important messages faster. This way, you can directly filter out questions posted in the community all at once and respond to them from the dashboard, in turn helping you reduce the time and manpower needed to provide great support and reduce costs by more than 3x.
All that being said, the community is and always will be about the people. But when you build community as a part of an organization that has business objectives, communities can be the perfect platform for driving significant revenue. From being a lead magnet to helping reduce product support costs, communities accentuate the things that you can do as a team. When you empower communities to do the things you’re doing, it works as a domino effect leading to an unimaginably large impact that you couldn’t have ever achieved on your own.