What is Community Software?
Community software is a platform to help users create and manage their digital space with individuals who share common interests and goals. It enables users to create a network, build relationships, and collaborate by sharing information and engaging with other members. It assists businesses and customers to exchange information related to products and services within a single platform.
Community management software automates all administrative processes and also allows users to measure the reach and engagement of their online communities.
Why Use Community Software?
Community platform software is useful for organizations in many ways such as:
- To create and host live events.
- To create and maintain members' directories.
- To manage community members' memberships.
- To analyze the effectiveness of their online communities through data analytics.
- To find the top contributors of the community by studying site interaction.
- To customize the online community platform’s interface.
How Does Community Software Work?
Community automation software work by providing users with necessary tools to create and share data with other community members. Online community software enables organizations to create an online platform and enhance their members' engagement via discussion forums, sharing relevant content, and gamification.
Moreover, the promotional content shared with the audience helps in reaching out to wider audiences, thereby enhancing their marketing campaigns.
Different Types of Community Software
There are four different types of community software for users:
- Internal Business Software: This type of community software is used by employees of an organization to resolve internal business issues. Employees can also use it to get reference materials, group meetings, etc.
- Business to Business (B2B) Software: It is used by businesses to engage with other businesses in the same industry. It enables them to create business profiles, share marketing strategies, post promotional videos, etc.
- Business to Customer (B2C) Software: This type of community management software enables businesses to directly engage with customers. All users can post promotional content, create forums for discussions, member's directory, etc.
- Customer to Customer (C2C) Software: This type of software is used by consumers to connect with other consumers sharing common interests. The users can manage content, privately message other members, create discussion boards, etc.
Key Features of Community Software
A few key features of community engagement software include:
- Discussion Forum: The discussion forum enables members to interact with others. It allows users to follow threads, share or like a post, post comments, queries, reply to comments, etc. By signing in the new account, users can easily join the forum.
- Community Management: Individuals can easily create and manage their online communities via this software. Users can easily label categories and tags to every group. Moreover, they can also remove or add members on their community platform with this tool.
- Content Creation: The users can easily create, edit, and monitor the web content of their community space. Moreover, it enables users to share promotional blogs, podcasts, videos, and other web content with other users through tags.
- Alerts: Community management software enables users to send alerts and notifications to community members. With notifications, businesses can quickly notify community members about the latest updates, events, product launches, etc.
- Gamification: Gamification helps users in improving customer engagement on the community platform. Users can reward their community members with badges, points, and bonuses for active participation in various forums and discussions.
- Directory: The directory feature of community building software enables users to store members' information within a single database. Information like the name and email address of a member can help users to learn about the number of community members and top contributors of the community.
- Analytics: The collected data of community members helps users in analyzing and improving the platform’s engagement. Users can study site interactions, track community activities, and learn about ongoing trends related to their business.
- Rewards and Recognition: Organizations can easily provide perks and discounts to its members who are top contributors of the community. This will help drive loyalty and improve community engagement.
- Events: Organizations can create events for their community members in the system. All these events can be easily managed through software. Community members can easily join these events to engage better with the organization.
Benefits of Using Community Software
There are multiple benefits of using community software, such as:
- Better Community Experience: The online community platform enables organizations to interact better with their members via discussions, boards, posts, and threads. It helps in improving their overall experience and allows them to connect with your brand in a better way.
- Improve Brand Visibility: Community software helps businesses reach out to a wider audience through engaging discussions and online events. This enables users to make their brand visible to the wider audience.
- Generate Feedback: Community software provides organizations with an opportunity to obtain feedback and ideas regarding their services directly from community members. It helps users to get insights on their services that could help in improving them.
- Accelerate Marketing Strategy: Community software enables organizations to connect with a wider audience via their posts and forums. It provides them with an opportunity to promote their goods and services by posting promotional content and advertisements.
- Enhance Members’ Engagement: This software enables communities to improve members engagement by distributing badges, coins, and bonuses to members. Moreover, it also allows members to post and share their achievements on the system and other social media platforms.
Factors to Consider While Buying Community Software
The users need to keep the following factors in mind to choose the right community software.
- Integration: Software must integrate with existing software like customer relationship management software and social media management software for easy data transfer.
- Scalability: The system must have scalable features to smoothly manage the growing online community in future.
- Customizable: It comprises customizable modules to create a community platform aligning with the brand goals and improve community engagement.
- Analytics: Analyze community-related data to create posts and content aligning with the customer’s requirements.
- User-Friendly Interface: It should have a user-friendly interface to easily navigate through multiple sections.
- Cost: The cost of community software must be within the budget of the users.
- Features: The system comprises all the features to fulfil business goals and requirements.
Trends Related to Community Software
Here are some popular trends related to community software.
- Coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI):
The incorporation of AI into community development software is helping users improve their online community engagement. You can create automated messages and quickly respond to customers’ queries. Automated replies and messages enable users to keep the conversation and engagement going within the community.
Many such software also have chatbots and virtual assistants to help users find answers to their queries easily in the coming years.
- Coming of Augmented Reality (AR):
The incorporation of AR in social community software is helping businesses communicate with their customers from anywhere in real time. It also enables brands to gamify their customers’ experience and rope in new members.
In addition to that, the geolocation feature enables brands to understand the choices of their customers residing in diverse geographical regions. It helps businesses cater to the demands of different demographic audiences in a better way.
- The Coming of Community Management Tools:
The incorporation of community management tools within social community software will assist users in managing their online community in a better way. It will help in keeping track of all the activities across social media communities and learning about the top contributors.