The sense of community can be very important in various aspects of our life, including in the work environment. Taking part in communities can bring people a sense of belonging, as we enter a space with people who have some of the same interests as us. Creating a safe space for debate and to share ideas, a community can be somewhere we can grow in and gain more knowledge about subjects that we are interested in.
B2B online communities share this same purpose as any other type of community, being a space for professionals and businesses to connect and learn more about their professional sector.
What is an Online Community?
The word “community” and the construction of such, is something that came way before the internet ever existed. But, along with almost everything in our lives, a lot of in-person dynamics started being adapted to the digital once the online world started growing and expanding. Communities were not an exception, as what was once something physically limited to our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, etc., can now exist without any of those boundaries, going beyond borders and surpassing time zone differences.
Most of us are part of an online community, as we tend to join and/or follow groups with whom we share interests, values, challenges, goals, etc. These communities usually have their own sets of rules, but overall, an online community is built to encourage digital interactions between people, to build networks, discuss interests and share knowledge about and around a particular subject. Besides their basic purposes, online communities can have other characteristics such as being open or closed (with or without restricted access based on certain conditions). Most commonly they allow for users to post questions, knowledge, or thoughts, to comment on such posts, to interact without directly messaging a person, to share multimedia (such as pictures and videos), and even to create a debate on a subtopic.
What are the benefits of belonging to an Online Community?
Being a part of an online community can have multiple benefits.
Besides encouraging the creation of a sense of belonging by finding and talking with people who share the same interests as you, online communities allow you to build networks and gain knowledge that can be useful for different aspects of your life, such as your professional life, if you join that type of community. Some of the types of online communities that can enrich you in that way are:
Communities of Practice: a community of practice usually gathers people online with the same profession (or related interests), with the purpose of creating a space where people can learn and share knowledge about a practice, build their professional networks and create brand awareness.
Support Communities: these communities are built to support the community members with support content and support teams, where people can help each other answering questions. In the business context, as a client, joining this type of community will help you solve most of the challenges that you might face; as a company, these allow you to provide your customers with a “self-service” resource making it easier for them.
Brand Communities: a branded community is an online community that is focused on a specific brand. These are built to create engagement between people who like a specific brand and even between the brand and the customers, allowing for more customer-driven decisions, based on feedback from the community members.
Independent of the type, a good community will always help you to grow your network, support you in your needs and allow you access to further knowledge about the topics that interest you.
What about B2B Online Communities?
B2B online communities are usually part of the Brand/Branded Community type.
In this specific context, these communities can be gamechangers as they lead to innovation and culture change within the business, and can contribute largely to customer retention, as it is proved to improve customer experience and increase satisfaction with the brand.
These allow access to threads and contents that help clients with complications they might face when using a product of the brand and is a space where customers can chat with each other about topics regarding it.
Besides being communities that focus on supporting their customers in their problems, in the B2B case these can also work as a way to create connections and relationships between the clients and the people at the company.
Overall, online communities can be an innovative approach to challenges a brand may face in the B2B industry.
The Telco Sector
The telecommunications sector is not an exception in this subject, as it can grow and evolve with online communities.
Besides having the opportunity to grow the business and build on customer-company relationships, it’s also a great space to gain and share knowledge between telco professionals. Topics involving technology transformation, telco products and application matters can all be important subjects to discuss in such communities, to bring professionals together and contribute to the evolution of the sector.
Being a part of a telco online community can be extremely beneficial either for people who are looking to sell or even to buy.
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