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Why you should build a B2B online community

Why you should build a B2B online community

Your community—your customers, users, prospects, developers, partners, designers, and champions—are key to building great products and growing your business. Investing in your community (and your community team) is a crucial pillar for successful B2B companies.

Activating the power of your B2B online community will help you to better understand your users, amplify marketing efforts, and build better products.

B2B communities can take many forms. You can think of communities as groups of people who are all connected by their shared experience with your brand.

Online customer communities are a great way for B2B marketers to better understand their users and improve customer experiences.

⭐ The benefits of B2B community building

The benefits of investing in your community span across your whole company. Online customer communities can positively influence everything from your product to your marketing strategies. You can grow your business faster by using community metrics and insights as a strategic advantage.

Get closer to your users

At its core, communities connect people across multiple platforms and forums. They connect community members both with your team and with each other. These connections foster relationships and inspire conversations that can have great benefits for your whole organization.

Personal relationships are the backbone of any successful business, so it’s important to invest in the right channels and programs to foster them. By creating opportunities to directly connect with your community, you can get valuable feedback and insights. This will help you better understand what your users care about most to nurture customers and prospects.

Amplify marketing efforts

Successful online communities often have “product champions” or advocacy programs that recognize their most impactful members. These members are frequently experts on your product and can supercharge your community growth by helping others.

By nurturing and recognizing your champions, this relationship creates a community-led flywheel of education to grow happier, more successful customers.

You can leverage this flywheel in your marketing strategy by amplifying and sharing relevant content. Through your community, B2B marketers can better understand the product adoption journey, including how community membership relates to and impacts product adoption.

Build better products

Your community is likely invested in your products and services, which makes them a powerful resource for gathering product feedback.

Users will often turn to community channels to report bugs or request wish list items.

By investing in your B2B community, you can gain insights to inform your roadmap, improve existing features, and address customer needs.

Your community is also a great place to find beta users, conduct user research, and proactively get product feedback.

Nurturing and deepening community relationships enables internal teams to more quickly deliver products and features that users love. By building with your community, you can create superfans, attract prospects, and increase customer retention.

👷 B2B community building

Building your community can be a daunting task, and getting support from internal stakeholders can be difficult. It’s important to start with a clearly defined strategy, find ways to scale your efforts, and create measurable goals.

Seeding your community

There are a lot of different types of communities, all with different purposes, goals, and desired outcomes. Similar to creating a marketing strategy before creating content, it’s important to first determine your community strategy. This should focus on what your members will get from joining your community. It can also include your goals, desired outcomes, and planned engagement programs.

Once you have a strategy, you can begin seeding your community. This often includes choosing your tech stack and community channels (like social media platforms and online forums), setting community standards, and creating success metrics.

Scaling your community

There are a lot of behind the scenes efforts that go into building a thriving online community. Community managers wear a lot of hats, so it’s important to focus on practical, feasible steps to scale your efforts.

Scaling your community is easier said than done, but you can start small by activating your community’s biggest advocates.

Give your champions opportunities to participate and empower other members, and acknowledge and amplify their contributions.

Proving the ROI of your community

As a community manager and leader, your job is both to build external and internal communities.

  • An internal community is a group of stakeholders who understand that supporting community initiatives supports business initiatives. This practice of creating an internal community is often called “internal advocacy.”
  • Your external community is anyone outside of your organization that interacts with your brand. This includes your users, customers, partners, investors, prospects, developers, designers, and champions.

To do this, you need to prove the ROI of your community to stakeholders to show the positive impacts your community has on your business.

You can do this by measuring community attribution and sharing insights across your organization. Using data and qualitative reports to show the impact of community on product adoption is key to getting internal support.

🔮 Community-led growth is the future

Community is more than a place that people gather to learn and share; it’s how modern B2B companies build, grow, and create loyal, happy users. Online communities can benefit every team in your organization, like marketing, product, sales, customer success, and support.

Communities are an untapped resource that are key for growing happier customers and building better products. Companies that are community-led are those who center their decisions based on their community. These companies look to their online community members for insights, feedback, and inspiration.

Your community is out there, but it’s up to you to activate the power of your users, champions, contributors, creators, and customers.

Encourage engagement with your members by creating shared spaces to connect with your members. Scale your efforts by uplifting and amplifying your superfans, and prove the business impact of your community to key stakeholders. Users who are community members are aggregately happier and longer-lasting customers.

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If you’re interested in learning about how community growth platforms can help magnify the impact of your community, check out Common Room. Looking for more about building a community? Join Uncommon, the community for community builders.

Learn, share, and connect with community leaders.