There’s a wonderful expression: You have two ears and one mouth and it’s best to use them in that proportion.
It’s a valuable lesson to practise, especially when it comes to building a channel. But what’s even more interesting is who else is listening. In today’s uber-connected world, communities are seeking out each other for advice and more often than not they are turning to the convenience of online forums to find the answers. In fact a 2015 survey by Pew Research Centre found that 15% of all internet users read or comment on discussion forums.
Here’s 4 Advantages of Adopting a Community Forum:
1. Encourage discussion
Yes, we are starting with the obvious. There is no doubt that this is what immediately comes to mind when considering the pro’s for online forums. Creating a welcome space for your partner community to connect over shared experiences can only lead to good outcomes for all.
You could even consider creating separate communities for different audience groups so they can easily find topics that are relevant to them. For example technical forum vs sales forum. This is a great way to ensure that they stay engaged with the conversations.
2. Improve communication
There’s no doubt that today email is considered by many to be a drag. An online forum instead offers many the chance to avoid searching through a packed inbox of emails. They can simply ask a question within the forum and see everyone’s responses in a clear, chronological order.
Those involved in specific posts will be kept up-to-date with the progress of the discussion so no-one misses any key statements.
3. Increase collaboration
Forums are ideal to provide your community with a way to connect to each other.
In today’s modern world the demands of providing real business outcomes to customers, means having a significantly broader set of resources and skills (both technical and non-technical) than in the past. Having all of these skills, capabilities or resources in house on a full-time basis is just not practical or profitable for a lot of partners. So, those who are savvy are starting to “outsource” or partner when required.
That’s not all though. Collaboration can help to bring out the creative sides of your channel, as they can work closer together and bring new ideas to the table.
4. Help drive usage of your Engagement Program
Your forum doesn’t have to be a standalone entity. In fact it can form a key part of your existing Engagement program.
Adding a forum to your program gives your partners a reason to return to your website, especially if they need help or advice on a certain subject. Start by posting relevant topics that people want to actively participating in. This will encourage partners to regularly login, engage with your website content and ultimately help you to achieve success.