Posts Tagged: "company forum"

Social Support Is Here To Stay or Why Your Business Needs A Forum

Social support is here to stay, and guess what? The big names know this. From Dell to HP, online companies are reorganizing support channels in an effort to meet customer needs. With the ubiquitous of social media, it’s not really a matter of choice. In fact, the number of companies handling a quarter of their support inquiries on social media doubled in 2012.

Social media opens up new points of contact for businesses, and if your company has a Facebook page or is using Twitter, there is a good chance your customers will be using these channels to get information. This may be in the form of a sales question, or even a support issue. People want answers, and with the speed and availability of information online, we’ve all come to expect these answers faster.

Why You Need A Forum For Your Customers

If there is one thing that can be said about your customers is that they will talk about your business, good or bad. What you need to think about is: where do you want that conversation to occur? I’ll answer that for you — on your own web property.

You may be familiar with the term “owned media”. If you’re not, owned media is content that you own. A forum falls into that category, and for a greater explanation of the benefits and differences of paid, earned, and “owned” media, take a look below:

Paid, Earned, Owned Media

Paid, Earned, and Owned Media

Benefits Of Using A Forum For Customer Support

One of the prime benefits of using a forum for support is that any answers that come up along the way, once addressed, can be built into a resource or knowledgebase. This actually saves you time and money down the road. Instead of having to explain the same instructions to every customer that asks, you can refer them to the resource. Plus, if you structure your forum correctly and make things easy to find, your customers can find the resource directly, which saves them time.

You also have to measure the value of having a community built around your brand. A perfect example of this in action is this developer on Themeforest. As you can see, his theme has been purchased over 30,000 times, has been featured on the site, and has an excellent rating. The theme itself is high quality and designed well, but what really adds power to this developer’s sales is the level of support, and the community that he has built around his theme.

An example of a community support forum.

An example of a community support forum.

This developer handles support issues using a forum and has structured each thread to make it easy to find information. There is also an area for people to show off their websites that are using his theme, and he also showcases these on his website. Another aspect of having a forum, which you will see here, is other members helping each other with questions. This is another benefit of using forums for customer service: your members tend to help each other, making your job easier.

It can’t be left out that having a forum also builds transparency around your business, and adds plenty of social proof. If you build a community, offer value, and are responsive to your customers, your forum will not only be a support channel — it will help drive sales.

Oh, and let’s not forget the SEO benefits. Depending upon your niche, if you make the forum open to all, the content that your forum produces will get indexed in Google.

Still not convinced? Check out this infographic from HP for more stats on community forums and social support.

Social Support Is Here To Stay or Why Your Business Needs A Forum

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Keep The Conversation On Your Website: Create A Space For Customers

Keep The Conversation On Your Website: Create A Space For Customers

As a website owner, it’s safe to say that you are concerned with your site metrics. You want more traffic. You want to increase the time your visitors stay on your site. And, of course, you want to make sure that pesky bounce rate is as low as it will go.

So, what to do?

The options are limitless: let’s not pretend that the internet is not chock full of ideas for improving your website. The reality is that there are so many options it’s hard to figure out which is the right one.

Of course, there’s social media. You can start blogging more. Let’s not forget networking and using forums to build traffic to your website. While you should be using all of these tactics, an often overlooked strategy is creating a forum for your customers (and visitors).

Creating A Forum For Your Website Is A Strategy That Works

Your customers will talk about your brand online. They may have questions, concerns, or are simply looking for an answer. Whether they have that conversation on another website or your own, is entirely up to you (in a lot of ways).

First, you have to have a platform for your customers and website visitors to engage in discussions and ask questions. There benefits are well worth it:

  • Increased time on site.
  • User generated content – (great for long-tail keywords).
  • You control the tone of the conversation.
  • A community around your brand.
  • Increased engagement.

Who’s Doing It

Dell

There are a number of brands doing it, and one in particular that has led the charge — Dell. Dell changed the marketing to reinforce connectivity and community with their brand. Not only did they create a responsive social media customer support team, they also backed it up with helpful blogs and community forums where Dell customers can go and ask questions.

This presentation highlights where Dell took their customer experience.

QuickSprout

Neil Patel is also someone who has embraced the value forums can bring. On QuickSprout, a blog many of you may be familiar with, they have added a forum where readers can now interact and start conversations. This increases the time people spend on the site and also builds more engagement.

A #forum gives your community a voice and increases #engagement and brand exposure. Tweet this.

Ready To Get Started?

Building a forum for your business may seem like a daunting task, but it is not as difficult as you may think. We can help you choose a platform, install your forum software, and add any plugins or mods you may need. Just get in touch or choose your forum hosting plan and we’ll take it from there.

 

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