Building a community: from saying it to doing it!

The community narrative appeals to many companies. It is on everyone’s lips more and more often and companies are trying to experiment, but in most cases without any real awareness or investment. In the best-case scenario, after the first events or the launch of yet another social channel, one ends up with a group of highly engaged people that one does not know where to lead, or, in the worst-case scenario, with a group of people that one does not know how to involve and on what. The result is often that people prefer to quit before they even start. The literature on communities and the various case studies tell us, however, that there is now the knowledge to experiment by structuring a conscious strategy, which first of all involves understanding why to launch a community and what benefits it can bring to an organisation.

So let’s start here: why launch a community?
What business advantages can a functioning community (i.e. one that co-designs and co-manages with the company) bring to an organisation?

Community, engagement must be based on shared value

Product innovation and the role of feedback

Customer support leverages the sense of belonging

In one week, the Spotify community produced 646 conversations, resolved 71 issues and generated 247 new ideas. Support is one of the main benefits generated by a community and also one of those that saves money and offers a better service. According to an article in the Harward Business Review, it is 72% cheaper to answer a question through the community than through customer care. The same article reports that the vast majority of customers prefer to turn to the community instead of customer care.

Business grows better with co-production

More talents through community recruiting

ScuolaZoo, a company of the OneDay group, for example, recruits young people from the community who respond directly to instagram messages addressed to the community. Another company in the group, WeRoad, finds young talent in the community to add to its workforce. “Recruiting staff is very difficult,” says Fabio Bin, WeRoad’s digital and marketing manager, “because we demand a very high level of involvement and an unbridled love for WeRoad. That’s why we often recruit directly from the community.

Benefits can be achieved only with a clear strategy

Understanding the main advantage to gain is therefore directly related to the business objective to reach. Knowing this allows putting in place a strategy that involves specific activities, functionalities, services and metrics. Only through these can one begin to understand what works and what doesn’t, and move forward. It is no longer time to improvise. To launch a community you need clear ideas and a strategy, otherwise it’s better to just forget about it.

Originally published in italian on Digital4.biz on September 14th 2021

Marta Mainieri is a consultant, trainer and speaker expert in the field of Sharing Economy, platform design and community design.