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Online Community Software Posts

How to Uncover Opportunities to Leverage Online Communities at Your Organization

Written by Joshua Paul | on March 25, 2014 at 8:58 AM | 5 minute read

An increasing number of companies and membership organizations are implementing online community strategies to maintain better relationships with their customers or members. Online customer communities and member communities deliver tangible benefits to organizations"”ranging from improving customer retention and satisfaction to lowering support costs and recruiting more customer advocates.

Despite this growing popularity, many organizations are still struggling to get from the "why" to the "what" of building a successful community strategy. Often, people hear about active online customer or member communities in their industry or they see competitors launching online community strategies. However, they have trouble getting from "we should look into doing this" to "here is how our organization can leverage these type of strategies."

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

Why It's a Mistake to Compare Private Communities to Social Networking Sites

Written by Andy Steggles | on March 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM | 2 minute read

Association execs often mistakenly think that private communities are nothing but smaller-scale, social networking sites. That's why I loved Ernie Smith's article, In Defense of the Insular Social Network, on Associations Now last week. The article talks about Virtual Management, Inc's recent study, the 2013 Association Operations Survey

As Ernie points out, the study did something interesting: in surveying respondents about their use of "social media sites," it lumps together public social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with private community platforms including Higher Logic, Jive and others. While I was admittedly happy to see Higher Logic used by the highest number of respondents, I couldn't help but wonder why the private community platforms were lumped with the public social networking sites.

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Topics: Social Media, Online Community Software, Online Community

How to Create a Great Online Customer Portal

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 25, 2014 at 8:25 AM | 5 minute read

The past few years have seen a big shift in customer support as more and more companies offer self-service customer support through online customer and client portals. While a reduction in support center phone calls might seem like it benefits companies the most, a 2012 study from Amdocs suggests that today's customers also prefer an online self-service approach.

In a study conducted by the analyst firm Coleman Parks, gave insight into customer preferences when it comes to their support options. Though the survey targeted smartphone users, the findings apply to other product support as well.

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Topics: Customer Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Support, Online Community

Forum Software vs. Online Community Platforms: Which is the Best Support Option for Your Company?

Written by Joshua Paul | on February 5, 2014 at 8:30 AM | 6 minute read

Where do your customers go for support? Despite the simplicity of the question, there are several factors that make the answer unique to your organization.

The first part revolves around the behavior of your customers. Even though they may prefer to speak with a live person, research indicates that 90% of people go to the web, before calling or emailing your company. Does this stat match your experience with your customers?

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

6 Smart Companies That Believe Online Communities Are the Future

Written by Joshua Paul | on January 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM | 5 minute read

Every day, we are inundated with a deluge of information online. It comes through email, websites, and social networks. It comes from friends, family, business thought-leaders, and professional peers. And just when we think we've gotten on top of all the information being thrown our way, there's even more information to digest.

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

Software Support & Online Community Platform Selection

Written by Andy Steggles | on November 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM | 6 minute read

A common and much disputed saying about online communities is 'build it and they will come,' referring to the concept that all you need to do to create a thriving online community is launch the software. Obviously, it's not that simple.

There's a lot that goes into the success or failure of an online community - strategy, site design, integration with whatever back-end database the org is using, etc. Not to mention community management. But one facet of online community that I don't think gets enough recognition is support, e.g. help for the person/people managing the community and helping them make their platform as good as it can be.

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Topics: User Group Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Support, Customer Success, Online Community

Creating an Association Online Community that Members Will Use

Written by Joshua Paul | on September 16, 2013 at 8:30 AM | 4 minute read

At a recent conference for association executives, I overhead the following conversation between two colleagues:

"We're planning an online community for our members"

"Then, we're going to need to have a social media strategy expert on staff."

"Why?"

"The people who manage our member benefits and keep our community engaged today couldn't possibly do it online". Never mind, I realize how silly that sounds when I say it out loud."

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Online Community Software, Online Community

3 Online Community Presentations for Serious Businesses, Associations, and User Groups

Written by Joshua Paul | on September 9, 2013 at 11:23 AM | 3 minute read

The conversation has turned from "will this work" to "how do we make this work."

Increasingly, people are talking about how online communities are delivering tangible results to companies and nonprofit membership organizations. The insight is becoming more clear. The research and success stories are mounting.

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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

Online Community Software: How to Bridge the Gap Between Potential and Results

Written by Joshua Paul | on August 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM | 5 minute read

At first glimpse, many companies seem to have effectively integrated social business technologies into their marketing processes, customer relationship strategy, and partner programs. However, upon closer look, you'll find, even with the right technology in place, many organizations don't have thriving customer, partner, or employee communities.

According to the findings from the 2013 Social Business Global Executive Study and Research Project by MIT Sloan Management Review, companies struggle not with choosing the right technology; rather they lack the focus needed to ensure that people, processes, and technology are aligned correctly. The MIT study indicated that the three major culprits holding back progress in social business are:

  1. Plan. Lack of an overall strategy
  2. Focus. Too many competing priorities
  3. Value. Lack of a proven business case or strong value proposition
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Topics: Online Community Software, Online Community

Using An Online Community Platform to Crowdsource Conference Sessions

Written by Andy Steggles | on August 19, 2013 at 9:00 AM | 2 minute read

It's that time of year again - time to crowdsource sessions for Higher Logic's annual Users Group Conference, HUG Super Forum. This year is the fourth year we've done the conference, with each year drawing more attendees, and we expect this year's event to be the best yet. One of the reasons I think HUG Super Forum has been such a success is the way we pick the sessions. That is to say, we don't pick them - Higher Logic users do.

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Topics: Communications, Online Community Management, Online Community Software, Online Community

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