3 Social Software Vendors Well Worth Your Attention

Online communities are designed to connect business data and social activity in sales, service and marketing, or any other business area that could benefit. Today’s communities deliver:

  1. Social collaboration
  2. Branding and customisation
  3. Business processes
  4. Social intelligence
  5. Mobile access
  6. Security and reliability

Online communities are good for both customers and partners. Customer communities are best for service and marketing, while partner communities are perfect for sales and service.

The hottest topic in business last year was online communities and communities have now become an easy and popular way to organise people and to accomplish working goals. No wonder there are a number of platforms that allow the creation of an online community.

LITHIUM ONLINE COMMUNITIES

Lithium online communities were created to attract visitors and to support customers. With a Lithium community, you can turn your website into a social destination and reduce the cost of delivering great customer service.

According to the official Lithium website, Lithium community features are:

  • Forums
  • Crowdsourced ideas
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Q&A
  • Knowledge base
  • Photos and videos
  • Contests
  • Blogs
  • Groups
  • Gamification (social reputation, rank, badges and privileges)
  • Value analytics

In a Lithium community, registered users can receive and read private messages, start their own topics, write blog posts and comments, and receive replies from other registered community users. They can also post ideas and comment on ideas that were posted by other community users. For discussions, comments are also enabled. A community Q&A service allows users to post questions and answers, or simply comment on the Q&A section. On their profile page, users can view statistics for all their actions, like how often they’ve signed on and the number of minutes spent online within the community.

JIVE SOFTWARE

The Jive software company has created solutions for communication and collaboration to help people to organise their work better. Jive community is their own product to work with customers. It has a nice UI and rich functionality. To show their presence within the community, registered users can use a “Create” menu, which contains three sections: Content, Places and Apps.

The Content Section offers a number of standard actions which are typical for online communities. Community users are able to start discussions and cases, upload files and documents, and embed videos and links from the web. There are also many ways to share content with other users – use Status Update to share what’s on your mind, write a blog post (which will be visible on the user’s profile page and in the feed to a user’s followers), create a Poll to find out community opinion on a topic, or send a private message to ask something specific.

Interesting features of a Jive community in its Content section are Idea and Event:

Idea allows users to create an idea for other community users to see and vote on – perfect for brainstorming and customer feedback.

Event allows users to schedule a gathering. This is an extremely useful feature when it comes to organising events, like conferences, meetings and parties. The owner of the Event states the date, start and end time, maximum number of attendees, location and other event info (type of event: party, meeting, conference, webinar, etc.; event visibility (open, closed or private); and a description of the event. It also offers the option of attaching files and apps, or just mentioning someone.

The second section in the quick menu tab is called Places. This contains a feature called Project, which allows users to set a goal and track its status and tasks. This feature is really powerful and fully customisable. Project allows users to involve other community members and assign tasks to them, attach different files, and create or embed videos. The project owner chooses start and end dates, as well as providing the description. It’s worth noting that the owner of the project can add stream integration – this means it is possible to integrate content from external resources, like Salesforce Chatter, Dropbox Folder, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is a very convenient and easy way to provide important content and resources to the members of the Project.

SALESFORCE COMMUNITY CLOUD

This is a cloud platform that connects customers, partners and employees directly to the information, experts and apps they need.

Salesforce community provides:

  • Business integration: integrate data from any third-party resource right to your community.
  • Personalisation: Community Cloud suggests content based on a member’s interests and behaviour.
  • Customisation and branding right out of the box.
  • Engagement: reward your community members with personal scores and badges.
  • Lightning Community Builder and Templates to quickly build a custom community on the online platform.
  • E-commerce: the online community can be transformed into a place to do business.
  • Topics: collect and present the most up-to-date content on any popular subject. Allows ‘to do’ posts, as well as the ability to ask questions and give answers. It can be used to suggest groups and experts, relevant files and resources.
  • Salesforce files: to place and share documents, videos and presentations.
  • Groups: create groups to manage discussions and share information with the right audience.

Registered community users can access the community anytime, anywhere and on any device. Users can have access to articles and discussions, plus they are able to contact the community manager directly, if they can’t find the information they are looking for. The Chatter feed within the community allows users to participate in discussions and shows a list of Cases with questions and comments.

Salesforce has a huge advantage over other software platforms, because it grows dynamically and has a flexible pricing policy, which is attractive both to small businesses and to large enterprise companies. In addition to online communities, Salesforce has a number of products that were created for business needs in the areas of sales and marketing. And what is more important, Community Cloud is already integrated within the other Salesforce products. Thanks to Salesforce, it is easier to control working processes and to work with partners and customers.

How to Improve Your Community’s Success and Better Engage With Your Customers

In this article I wanted to share my thoughts on the most important factors that every community manager should consider when creating a successful community.

  1. Starting Points
  2. Key Audience
  3. Strategy and Tools

The very first thing is to think about future community users. Depending on their potential needs, there are different priorities:

Audience Goals
Customers –        Ability to self-serve (core for customer community)–        Fast solutions

–        Multi-device capabilities

Partners –        Quick access to info (marketing, product, news)–        Immediate access to experts

–        Access to opportunities

Employees –        Get help when needed (HR and IT mostly)–        Collaborate with their teams

–        Find experts and knowledge

How to Build A Community

WHERE DO YOU START?

Imagine a typical customer self-service journey and build your community with the functionality that will satisfy those steps.

Sample customer self-service journey step by step:

  • Customers need help
  • They discover the community
  • They look for answers, then ask a question
  • They can log a case
  • The case is resolved
  • They thank members of the community

What does that mean for you as a community owner?

  • Case deflection
  • Faster resolution
  • Lower case volume

Building a Community requires a plan and a strategy:

  1. Create a vision that ties back into business objectives
  2. Identify an executive sponsor who will champion your vision
  3. Determine goals and objectives for prospective members

And finally, launch and deploy your community with confidence:

  • Roll out in phases
  • Identify and motivate early adopters
  • Define change management processes
  • Build meaningful engagement by including business processes