6 benefits of using online communities

Six Benefits of Using Online Communities

The following highlights some of the key benefits of using online communities.

#1. Results can be gathered quickly.
Ad hoc research projects can have a lengthy timeframe from project kick-off to delivery of the final report, and projects may take several months. With online communities (depending on the size and level of member engagement), a research question can be answered in days rather than weeks or months.

#2. Results cost less.
Online communities allow costs to be lower. After the initial costs of the community tool and recruitment, numerous projects can be run within a community in place of several ad hoc projects.

#3. Companies can instantly connect with their customers.
Branded communities allow a brand to tap into one of its most important resources: the customer. Customers who join the community are interested and invested in the brand and provide a range of feedback. Some members may be extreme brand loyalists, while others may be less willing to champion the brand. In either case, feedback from these customers is extremely valuable.

#4. Richer data can be obtained.
Depending on the size of a community, both surveys and discussions can take place within a community platform. A survey can be sent to community members, and then, rather than relying on open-ended questions alone, follow-up questions can be asked. This allows the researcher to opportunity to reveal the “why” behind quantitative data.

#5. Organic feedback can be gathered.
Communities that have engaged members may contain discussions regarding the community brand or topic. Without implementing any specific research questions, unique insights can be obtained by listening to and observing the community.

#6. Demographic profiles can be explored.
Online communities allow researchers to compile and track community members’ demographic variables. Given a community where both customers and non-customers are recruited, profiles of each group can be created and explored to understand target demographics more fully.