Online communities have become established and widespread. More and more users appreciate the exchange with like-minded people who share their passion for a certain topic. Users have the need to share knowledge, get information and have a lively exchange, both on private topics such as hobbies or freetime activities as well as career topics. Companies in the B2B-sector in particular can benefit from a well functioning online community.
How do online communities work in the B2B-sector?
Online communities came more into focus due to Covid-19. They have existed before too, but customer management mainly took place in face to face sales meetings or on trade fairs. Online communities were booming in 2020 as companies had to find digital ways to get to their customers, such as digital trade fairs. It quickly became clear that online communities are an ideal way to continuously reach customers, bring them together and encourage an exchange.
B2B-sector online communities work best because of reciprocity: both company-to-customer and customer-to-customer. The company becomes the moderating part and offers the community and thus the (potential) customers a platform, structure and topics. Members benefit from exchanges with other customers, and every customer within the community can be a potential influencer.
In addition to outposts like social media, your community should be a home base. Here you can offer thematic and current information as well as useful functions.
- section “tips and tricks” – reduces customer service efforts
- section “customer experience” – authentic customer feedback can raise your sales
- section “knowledge base” – position your company as an expert
- and many more
No matter what functions you offer your community, they should always be interesting for the users and match to your defined goals. But remember: less is more. Too many features and goals take the focus away from the community and can create a mess.
What are the benefits of a B2B online community?
You can greatly influence potential leads when customers confirm the quality of your products or services. Dedicated customers also have higher levels of loyalty.
In addition, B2B communities can have a positive impact on the customers lifespan. The community can answer questions of interested parties in advance and give feedback based on their experiences. After the purchase, the community can increase customer satisfaction and reduce support requests through mutual exchange. In addition, the online community is an excellent resource for gaining important insights, optimizing products or getting ideas for new products.
A B2B online community can have an impact on many areas of a company and even relieve their employees: From sales and marketing to service and support, a community offers important insights that need to be used.