Online communities are a hot-button topic for B2B leaders, and it’s easy to see why.
Developing an active digital space not only helps achieve greater revenue and sales—it also enables businesses to boost brand loyalty and customer retention by fostering meaningful relationships.
These relationships help uncover strategies for growth and innovation, by tapping into exactly what your customers want.
Done right, communities can drive value and boost growth through every level of your business. But for maximum impact, they need to be proactively managed, especially as your community grows.
That’s why we created this go-to guide to B2B community management—so that you know how to create a community that drives business growth.
Zapnito has delved into the art of online community launch, and has created a guide to help you get started. Check out insights and practical advice for a successful online community launch on our online community.
What is B2B community management?
80% of founders recognise building a brand community is important to business success, with 28% saying it’s critical to their success. But to get the most out of these communities, they need to be properly managed. B2B community management is the process of not only building a business community—but actively maintaining it as a valuable digital space where people want to spend their time.
Community managers can connect with customers through anything from social media pages to branded B2B platforms that not only create communities but also help businesses collect valuable data. This data can then be used to inform everything from product strategies to marketing, sales, and more.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) might employ a community manager, while larger enterprises may have an entire team.
To effectively manage your community, it’s important to first define:
- Who’s in overall charge of the community
- Member rules, regulations, and guidelines
- The type and mission of your community
6 types of online communities B2B brands can use
Online communities are suitable for B2B brands of all shapes and sizes. But tailoring the type of community to your customer base is crucial for the best results.
At a glance, here are the six types of communities you can choose from:
- Knowledge and learning communities: Focus on sharing knowledge
- Expert networks and advisory communities: Showcase the experience and expertise of your team
- Event communities: Bring customers, staff, and speakers together
- Membership communities: Offer a digital space for membership organisations, associations, and societies
- Brand communities: Demonstrate expertise and cultivate a sense of community.
- Communities of action: Combine elements of all the above
Key benefits of B2B community management
Creating well-managed community platforms can benefit businesses in all kinds of ways.
Here’s three that are critical to brand success:
Uncover brand insights
With deep knowledge of how your product works, your customers can offer valuable insights that inform development.
Through your community, you can discover pain points, get feedback, and uncover product preferences. Then drive growth by aligning your offerings with what your customers want.
Boost customer retention
Consistent interactions within your community can help boost engagement and retention by reinforcing connections and brand loyalty.
Connecting members to the right groups of people can also speed up onboarding and lower your support costs. Rather than waiting for an answer from customer support, community platforms encourage self-service and collaboration, with solutions offered by other members.
Creating a community with advanced and federated search features also means your customers can connect with external sources when necessary.
Cultivate brand advocates
Peer-to-peer marketing is powerful, with research showing that when a potential buyer is referred by a friend, they’re 4x more likely to buy.
Brand communities help cultivate brand advocates who create user-generated content that can be passed on to prospective customers.
Four ways to boost business growth with B2B community management
1. Fostering open communication & discussions
B2B communities help companies and experts learn from each other. This is because they can share industry insights, educational resources, and openly discuss best practices.
Whether you’re looking to offer opportunities to collaborate, professional networking sessions, or encourage authentic discussions, the right platform can provide space for every type of conversation.
How others made it work:
When WildTeam wanted to create a community for conservationists to share knowledge and discuss best practices, it turned to Zapnito. The result is WildHub, a space where over 1,000 members from 80 countries come together as a community.
From online training sessions to podcasts, webinars, and an active forum, WildHub leverages the knowledge and experience of its members worldwide, to accelerate conservation efforts.
Provide self-service capabilities
Customer communities are a powerful way to create brand advocates—employees and customers who already use your product and want to share their knowledge and expertise.
These kinds of organic conversations not only remove pressure from your customer support team, but research from Forrester shows that 90% of B2B buying decisions are influenced by peer recommendations.
How others made it work:
SaaS-based talent assessment company Sova needed a way to convert more leads into customers. Their goal was to develop a customer community that encouraged peer-to-peer learning.
As a result, customer support costs have been significantly reduced because many answers are already available within the community. Users can also complete onboarding asynchronously, reducing the amount of staff time needed to assist with this process.
Leverage data & analytics
Creating a brand community is one thing, but to maximise business growth you also need data and analytics to inform business decisions.
By choosing a platform like Zapnito, you can combine our community analytics tools with existing analytics to increase engagement and boost ROI.
How others made it work:
The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) was looking for an innovative way to connect with scientists and researchers. It decided to work with Zapnito to create the FEBS Network.
Using our rooms and channels functionality enables FEBS to connect with multiple audiences, with proven results shown using our data and analytics features including:
- +324% above target for the number of likes
- +221% above target on new visits
- +120% above target on new content items
- +110% above target on total visitors
Avoid overloading on multiple tools
Customers don’t want to hop between channels to find the information they need. Consolidating your communications not only saves your users time, it also creates a more streamlined user experience.
At the same time, you can easily integrate specific tools from your existing tech stack, to automate specific tasks, create campaigns, trigger immediate notifications, and more.
Harness the power of community and boost your business growth with Zapnito
Book your free demo to discover how the Zapnito platform can help you build a community that fosters business growth.