By working with our customers, we found that the best place to start is to define what a community driven business is, or more importantly, why it’s needed today.
Why is a Community Driven business Needed Today?
It is no secret that millennials are a hyper-connected generation. Smartphones and social media allow us to interact with friends and strangers on a 24-hour basis. According to the American Press Institute, one in five millennials say they now connect with a broader range of people because of social media. This access has provided opportunities to find like-minded people to share ideas and build bonds both online and offline.
Organizations and Influencers are investing thousands into developing social media audiences in hopes that it will result in new business or leads. However, many are learning that a robust and growing social media following does not always equate to new revenue.
They have learned that the audience is are seeking community, a safe space where they can interact with likeminded people around an experience, product, service, or a cause that is meaningful to them. Organizations and influencers are now challenged with building community around a brand, while selling exclusive experiences, products, services or building awareness for a cause.
Until today, these organizations and influencers use social media for engagement, a CRM or member management system to manage customer or member information, and various distribution channels to build a pipeline of new customers and interested members. Some are successful in Building strong social media groups but, struggle to monetize them.
Fewer have achieved, as we call it, the holy grail, or a community driven business.
What is a Community Driven Business?
A community driven business is one that has connected its brand, its people, its offering, to membership, and created a new predictable revenue stream. It promotes a cause, or provides experiences, products or services, and gives its members / customers, an online community to share openly, authentically, and connect with other likeminded people without sharing personal or social media information unless they want to. Community members receive the benefits of membership in the form of rewards, special offers to the experiences, products, and services that they love.
How to get started with a Community Driven business?
To get started all you need is an idea that’s memorable, and it’s specific enough to capture people’s imagination and attention.
That’s it. That’s all you need.
Most customers start with a website builder, email list, or a social media account to get the idea out there. These are awesome places to build a pipeline of new customer or members. They are often inexpensive and easy to get started, and everyone uses them.
At some point, you will want to spend less time facilitating engagement across the many social media channels, developing integrated content strategies, and give your audience one location to book an experience, purchase of product, book a service, and connect and share with community on a given topic.
At this point, influences and organizations look to custom software to bring it all together and create that one place were customers and members are free to interact with each other. Custom software is expensive. It can range from 50,000 to 250,000, take 6-18 months to create, while managing the risk of building the wrong thing.
The community cloud allows organizations and influences to get avoid the large capital expense of building and maintaining custom software. Instead of building an online community, it allows you to customize it and get it in your people’s hands in 1-2 months. Avoid the risk of building the wrong thing…because its already built.
What’s the best way to explore a Cloud Community?
There are 3 ways to explore The Community Cloud:
- Get started with a free account. Create a Marketplace or start a free trial with our Community Plan.
- Join the Community Center. This is a resource for community leaders. We recommend several popular articles specifically designed for people who already have a community and how-to articles to maximize your cloud community.
- Join a Webinar. Register and join our monthly webinar where one of our community experts can share the latest enhancements and helpful tips to grow your online community.