Community Forum 101: Basics, Benefits, and Brilliant Strategies

As companies continue to face ever-changing consumer behaviors, investing in customer service extensions that last is key. A great example is a community forum which can help brands accomplish goals at minimal cost.

Published on October 3, 2022
Last Updated on October 10, 2022

A space created by an organization dedicated to fostering valuable interactions with and for its base market—that’s essentially what a community forum is.

Visibility can only take a company so far in today’s increasingly crowding digital landscape regardless of industry and scope of service. Companies need to increasingly dive deeper into understanding their market, listen to their customers’ voices, and create meaningful bonds that last amidst rapidly growing competition. They also need to do this at scale at a sensible cost. A community forum is a great place to start, no matter what type of business you’re in (B2B or B2C).

Before we dive deeper into the purpose and benefits of a community forum, here’s a quick overview of why it holds so much potential for unlocking enormous value and growth:

  • Almost everyone is a part of a community forum.
    • More than 2/3 of all internet users participate in a community forum who more often than not, consider these communities as a place where they can create meaningful connections with like-minded individuals and brands.1
  • Consumers love their online communities.
    • The majority of community forum members say the main reason they love their communities is the ability to connect with others with similar interests.2
  • The competition has a community forum.
    • 75% of big corporations have a community forum, and even 40% of small businesses have at least one online community.2

What is a Community Forum?

At its root, a community forum is a dedicated space where online users can raise questions, concerns, and ideas about a shared interest and expect a good amount of engagement from like-minded individuals and brands. There are public community forums that can be found on social media, and private ones that can only be accessed by invite or login.

A community forum is a lasting, always-on self-service resource that enhances customer experiences by giving customers a platform for their voice. 78% of community forum activities consist of members asking questions, the next being members helping other members by answering these questions, providing solutions, and exchanging ideas.3 A community forum is an excellent customer service tool that supports customers to self-resolve queries without having to contact a customer service team. Either way, a community forum is a great way for a company to build meaningful bonds with its customers.

According to a report on online communities, customers today are looking forward to having meaningful relationships with the brands that they follow and a community forum is the place to foster that relationship.3 A successful community forum is where members feel heard and have their needs attended to. Community forum members say that reliability is the first thing they look for in a community manager. The following two qualities they desire in a brand are trendy and funny.3

what is a community forum

Key Advantages of Having a Community Forum

Investing in a community forum sustains customers’ engagement with a brand and provides many long-term benefits for companies. 

Strengthens brand loyalty and nurtures advocates that drive referrals

People love talking about their interests. So when a brand gives them a platform to express their voice like in a community forum, consumers take this as a positive sign that they are supported by the brand. Community forums help individuals feel seen and heard which is why 67% of community members feel loyal to the brand.3

Brand loyalty can quickly translate to word-of-mouth marketing, helping existing customers to re-engage with the brand while simultaneously encouraging outsiders to form an interest.

Reduces support costs while keeping customers satisfied

A well-executed community forum can reduce up to 48% of customer support costs.3 Once a query has been answered on a community forum, the topic becomes permanent, searchable content that other members can quickly find. This feature eliminates the need for customers to hop on a call, reducing the overall tickets customer service teams face in their daily operations.

Boosts brand awareness

A highly engaged community forum can dramatically increase all forms of user activity, from clicks, to views, to word of mouth. This is a great way to boost an organization’s overall online presence. 

According to some established stats, a community forum has helped 72% of companies increase web traffic, 57% experienced a boost in SEO performance, and 84% felt a positive impact on those interested in the brand.4

Drives great revenue growth

Return on investment rates for a community forum increases 70 times along with the lifetime of the community3 which means that the more you maintain your community forum, the more value you generate.

According to a report by Aberdeen Research, companies that have a community forum attain a greater return on marketing investment (ROMI), experience greater average customer profit margin, and grow better customer retention rates than those without one.5

How Key Industries Leverage Their Community Forum to Drive Company Growth

Certain industries are taking advantage of community forums to fit their needs and support their overall goals. Here’s how they do it.

Tech

Aside from looking out for the newest updates and news, tech users highly value the opportunity to be heard in a community forum. Tech companies must take their time to understand their customers’ needs and get straightforward feedback on product improvements. Community forums can be a goldmine for real-world business cases, competitive insights, and key differentiators that product developers can use to create the best services possible.

Travel

Travel-related platforms create some of the best community forums because of how highly engaging, diverse, and dynamic their market base is. Travelers love to share their stories and experiences on community forums and this has helped other travelers find relevant information that has enhanced their traveling experiences. Travelers see a community forum as an added value because it helps fellow travelers connect with each other, seek reliable opinions on certain topics, and decide whether a company is worth recommending or not.

Gaming

A community forum can be a great omnichannel extension for real-time customer support. Gamers appreciate having a dedicated space to report bugs and troubleshooting concerns that developers could find and address quickly.  Other than that, a community forum helps level up the gaming experience as it gives gamers the opportunity to share their own experiences whether through clips, images, or stories, which generate a lot of engagement among other gamers.

Retail

For retailers, a community forum can be a place to foster engagement, collaborations, and direct relationships with buyers, influencers, and even other brands. Some retailers who have a community forum take advantage of the platform to invite experts and host events like “Ask Me Anything.” These community forum collaborations are a great way for brands to expand their reach, diversify engagements, and improve retail customer experience.

Safeguarding a Community Forum Toward Success

Community forums come with a massive amount of user-generated content that needs to be well-moderated and secured for the well-being of all users. Business leaders need to find a way to review community forum posts, flag inappropriate content, and analyze the best posts to boost engagement.

To do this, businesses can outsource content moderation services with a dedicated partner that has proven success managing and safeguarding community forums. With more than 60 lines of businesses supported by our trust and safety policies across multiple verticals, you can find that partner in Us.

Here’s a quick overview of why you should consider TaskUs to safeguard your community forum towards success.

  • We bring results that surpass expectations. For one of our client partners, we reached a 109.0% productivity score for content flagged per hour vs. the 100% target.
  • We have thousands of dedicated Trust + Safety teammates who receive holistic support throughout their employee life cycle. Prioritizing our people’s wellness helped Us receive multiple awards for having a Ridiculously Good workplace and providing Ridiculously Awesome results.
  • We harness the power of AI and automation to accelerate results. With our fully scalable and customizable moderation tools, we can detect, flag, and analyze community forum content with great accuracy.
  • 1^The Rise of Online Communities
  • 2^The Era of We: Online Community Users
  • 5^Online Communities: How To Improve The Customer Experience & Boost Financial Success
Interested in starting or safeguarding your community forum?

References

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Glenn Chua
Editorial Director
Glenn is the Editorial Director of the Integrated Marketing team who is in charge of all the client-, internal-, and external-facing content of the company with the goal of generating sales and growth for the company, as well as attracting new talent to join its global growth. Creative, passionate, yet soft-spoken in person, he has extensive knowledge of fast-growing companies, industries, service lines, and emerging technologies.