Community Management

How do I convince my company we need an online community?

Whether you like it or not, you are apart of many different communities. Where you live, — continue reading
Posted by Taco Potze
December 13, 2019

Whether you like it or not, you are apart of many different communities.

Where you live, your age group or what sports team you support. Consider if you are from Slytherin or Gryffindor? Perhaps you identify with House Targaryen or as a Stark? In the broadest sense of community, you are a human being on earth!  Wise words from Barry Winbolt  suggest that where you work is (hopefully) held together by your shared interests and your mutual respect for one another.

The way we work has fundamentally changed.

The way we work in the modern world has completely changed, and it’s your job to help your business stay up to date with the best ideas on how to do this. Many companies now operate in these ways:

There has been an incredible shift to cloud-based services. We live in the cloud, and if you don’t, it’s time you should.

We work more flexibly. We don’t have to be desk-bound. We work anywhere, anytime and anyplace.

men working on laptops at cafe

A community is held together by shared interest and respect for other members.

Internal hierarchies are being flattened. Any employee can communicate with anyone else at the company regardless of seniority. Information is being opened up instead of being locked down.

We also expect to be able to find information instantly. We want to be able to connect with experts or colleagues (even if we haven’t met Karen from accounting in the satellite office, we should be able to have a meaningful relationship. More than just receiving your payslip and the exchange of the odd dancing cat meme.) We don’t want to wait for anything anymore.

Transparency is really important. Our behaviors at work are changing. Sharing information and ideas, quickly being able to find people and information, and collaboration are the new norms.

One of the most significant shifts in worker mentality is that work has to be meaningful. Only earning a wage doesn’t cut it anymore, especially for Millenials who make up over half of the workforce today.

These ways of working and thinking didn’t exist ten years ago.

These ways of working and thinking didn’t exist ten years ago. These ways of working were reserved for highly innovative, savvy and cashed-up companies. Now, this highly collaborative way of working is the new norm, no matter the size or revenue of the company.

If your business is missing any of the above, your business is destined to fail. (And not in an exciting TED talk kind of fail. The fail where you have fire good honest working people and shut your doors for good.)

group of people fist bumping

If everything has changed, how do we move forward?

There is good news.

If all of the above sounds daunting or challenging, do not despair. Purchasing out of the box, community solutions can be the first step at being able to bring your company into the future.

The idea of being part of an online community

You are apart of communities in the real world and you have recognized the ways of working have changed. By bringing these two ideas together, you can convince your company you need an online community. 

You are apart of communities in the real world and you have recognized the ways of working have changed. By bringing these two ideas together, you can convince your company you need an online community.

Being apart of any community fulfills a person’s primal need to feel accepted and connected. Putting a community online gives you easy access to meaningful interactions, gives you a place to share your opinions and have them validated, and of course, a space to enjoy, consume and share content.

Imagine being able to fulfill these desires for your customers or your employees? Or both at the same time!

group of people watching on a laptop

The benefits your company can enjoy from an online community are:

  1. Your business will thrive because you have modernized your workplace
  2. The community generates traffic to your website
  3. More traffic equates to more business
  4. A dialogue is created between employees and they create solutions inside the company
  5. Stand out as thought leaders in your industry
  6. Save on research costs
  7. Improve customer satisfaction and extend the customer experience
  8. Improve employee satisfaction and have more productive employees
  9. Generate more income from retained customers
  10. Breaks down barriers of time, location, proximity, language
  11. Connect all links of the supply chain
  12. Keep the correct information at hand for all employees to use
  13. Privacy is more important now than ever, public groups on regular networking sites don’t cut it when keeping your data private
  14. The divide between remote workers and office staff have a place to connect
  15. Customers feel the extension of their purchase. It helps align them to the brand, increase customer loyalty and promote customer advocacy

These 15 points are solid arguments to put forward as reasons to start using community software.

What does each stakeholder get out of being apart of an online community?


text table for benefits per stake holder

Improve communication, improve business

Above all else, online communities promote better and more open communication. It also centralizes all communication, and rather than having different answers prepared by different people, knowledgeable and credible persons can answer questions from the community, but also be self-regulated and monitored by a community manager.

Poor communication causes huge business problems and is a costly affair when done poorly.

David Grossman reported in “The Cost of Poor Communications” that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.

Debra Hamilton asserted, in her article “Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money” that miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.

Joe Procopio writes that CEOs have even reported that with numbers as small as 25, things can start to go incredibly wrong inside the business.

These figures only cover the relationship between employees and employers, think about all the missed conversations with customers.

Using community software can solve communication problems.

Remove the emphasis of your communications away from email, newsletters and the occasional business update.

Create a more personalized form of communication, forget the top-down model but a diverse and user-driven experience.

people coffee meeting team

Still not convinced?

We’ve given you:

  • The reason why being apart of any community is so important
  • Fifteen reasons to download community software now!
  • The benefits for the individual, the customer, employees and the business
  • Highlighted how ways of working have changed (and why you need to adapt!)
  • Introduced how clear vital communication is in business and the cost of doing it wrong

It’s a no brainer!

Realistically, the conversation you should be having with your superior is not why you need online community software, but which one! With this arsenal of information plus our guide to buying community software, you have everything you need to convince your decision-makers that community software is the solution you are looking for. Better yet, sign up for a 30 day free trial of Open Social and start your community today!

We would love to hear your stories about how you convinced your boss you needed community software. Don’t be shy! Leave a comment, or tweet us @OpenSocialHQ 

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