Online communities that grow around a brand can be thriving hubs of engaged users. These communities offer benefits to both customers and businesses. Customers can seek support, advice and recommendations, while communities that are guided by a clear strategy can allow brands to reach business goals and enjoy a deeper relationship with their customers.

This quick guide, an abridged version of Econsultancy’s Community Strategy Best Practice Guide, provides an overview of what communities mean in a business context and outlines how they can benefit the brand. It covers:

  • Definitions: Online communities exist for a wide variety of reasons, and defining the purpose of a community is the cornerstone of a successful community strategy. How should the community goals inform the strategy objectives?
  • Purpose: From providing customer support to gathering insight for product R&D, what are the six distinct community strategies outlined by the SPACES model?
  • People: Successful communities need to be nurtured. What makes a good community manager, and what skills do they require?
  • Planning: Most communities have three clear life stages: nascent, emerging and active. How do these dictate the level of resource and involvement required?
  • Proof: Which metrics can be used to demonstrate that a community strategy is working, and how can brands use SMART goals to explicitly link metrics back to the community purpose?