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The Evolution of Community and the Customer Experience

Written by Mark Lowry on October 22, 2014 at 10:30 AM | 2 minute read

Forward thinking organizations are moving away from traditional help desk models. No longer do customers need to sit and wait for an automated support queue - they can and should expect real-time responses. An integrated service model for customers, including a support portal, social media engagement and an online community, can provide faster response times and give customers and members the option as to how they interact with the organization. In addition, the idea of crowd sourcing content for a robust knowledge base from your best experts, your customers, has taken hold.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, Online Community

5 Proven Private Online Community Strategies for Associations

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM | 5 minute read

Associations and other nonprofit membership organizations are already natural communities. This makes building a community online a common sense decision for most association executives.

However, there is more than one way to leverage a private online community. Since every association's mission, priorities, and capacity are different, their abilities to capture the opportunities that building communities presents are also unique.

How associations leverage their online communities depend on the overall purpose of their community, which are based on the organization's overall goals. This may include:

  • improving retention
  • increasing the value of member benefits
  • keeping member engaged
  • educating the public
  • boosting advocacy toward a legislative initiative
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Topics: Member Communities, Online Community

3 Easy Ways to Create Content for Your Online Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on October 16, 2014 at 9:26 AM | 3 minute read

Let's face it, sometimes brainstorming new content for your online community can feel like an absolute chore. Over time, not only is it easy to run dry on new, genius-invoking ideas, but finding the required time each day to produce both thoughtful and thought-provoking material  in mass can start to feel like your boss handed you a Sharpie and asked you to recreate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in their office. Impossible.

Content creation doesn't have to weigh down your day. In fact, once you measure the results of your efforts, it can't be quite rewarding. The solution is never to cut down on the volume of content you create to offset the agony, but rather to simplify the process. Yes, creating content can be simple!

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

What You Need to Know About Online Community Security

Written by Conor Sibley on October 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM | 2 minute read

Whether it's the lingering effects of the Target credit card breach, hackers infiltrating a Canadian government organization's website or the recent news that Russian hackers have stolen 1.2 billion Internet usernames and passwords, barely a day goes by without news of a cyber-attack. It's glaringly apparent that organizations need to be thinking about cyber security, and need to be taking action on ensuring that their users' data is secure.

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Topics: Community Platforms & Updates, Online Community

Why Creating an Online Customer Community is the Ultimate Post-Sale Inbound Strategy

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 6 minute read

At this point, you're probably tired of hearing about inbound strategies. However, there's a reason inbound marketing, sales, and customer communication has changed the way people do business. There's a reason they're so popular.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Customer Success, Customer Advocacy

Four Essentials for Creating a Successful Online Community

Written by Katie Bapple | on October 9, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

 

Private online communities are not a universal business solution. According to Gartner, at least 70% of all online communities fail.

Lack of planning, poor business integration, unattainable market share, unaligned organizational motives and unrealistic expectations are all factors that impact community viability. However, you can avoid being a statistic by ensuring your online community has a foundation for success before making a costly investment.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

Creating a Customer Community: 5 Questions That Scare the Heck Out of People

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 7, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

In most cases, when businesses start down the path toward creating an online customer community, they're doing it for the first time. Compared to other business strategies, relatively few people have developed online community strategies, managed a community, or actively tried to increase engagement in a community.

There's nothing wrong with this.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Online Community

How to Improve Customer Retention By Increasing the Value Customers Get From Your Products

Written by Joshua Paul | on October 3, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 5 minute read

A lot of factors go into keeping your customers. Especially in the case of B2B companies, customer retention can be a complex challenge. However, despite its intricacies, reducing your retention rates can have a significant effect on your profits.

Research has shown that reducing customer churn by a mere 5% can increase your profits by 25-125%. With those kinds of numbers, your current customers suddenly seem a lot more valuable.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, Online Community

Growing an Online Community: A Case Study on Social Density and Ongoing Analysis

Written by Katie Bapple | on September 30, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

A bulk of my personal experience as a full-time online community manager was spent developing sizable communities of practice. It offered a great vantage point, because the years of quantitative and qualitative data available allowed me to uncover patterns of audience behaviors and interests, as well as corresponding community development processes, over time.

What did I learn? The most notable lesson was that somewhere in the success of the online communities we had grown, we got carried away - we physically grew the communities too much.

How Taking a Step Back Can Be the Best Way to Move Forward

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Topics: Online Community Management, Online Community

Are You Making These Online Community Management Mistakes When Engaging New Members?

Written by Katie Bapple | on September 25, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 3 minute read

In last week's blog article, we covered four quick tips to convert new online community members into regular visitors and contributors.

Since this initiative relates to your online community's member engagement strategy, ”the source of our most frequently heard questions” this week, we're covering the topic again by tipping it on its head.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Member Engagement, Online Community

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