Businesses have long viewed the customer as an audience that buys its products and relied on market research to gauge how people react. The relationship between business and customer has primarily been a one-way street with the customer feeling they have no voice in how the business perceives them and their use of the product. Now businesses are discovering the benefits of developing an online community for their customers to frequent, express themselves, and be heard by the business.
Online communities owned and operated by a brand help foster brand loyalty from its customers. The customer is given a place to connect with other like-minded people, talk about the products offered by the brand, express their pleasure or displeasure, and know that they're being taken seriously by the brand. In turn, the brand can engage directly with its customer base, get immediate feedback on its products, and understand what its customers are thinking. Now the relationship between brand and customer is a two-way street and makes customers feel better about their relationship with the brand.
Small businesses can use a community platform to help them grow, and established businesses can deepen their relationship with their community members through their own community platform. Read on to learn more about how to build your own online community, why a community platform is great for customer engagement, and how it helps establish a brand as a go-to product for existing and future customers.