Growing An Online Community
In today’s world, the most important digital asset you can have is a platform that harbours an online community. If you don’t have this you are missing out on a not so well-kept secret. Take a leaf out of the tech giants’ books. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube… all these companies provide a platform where people can share thoughts, ideas and media. Media is the currency of today’s world and if you can find a way to allow people to share media with like-minded individuals, they will gravitate towards your platform. Once you have a bubbling community, it is your choice to leverage that as you please. Some use marketing to target these communities and generate revenue, whilst others see it as an opputunity to educate and innovate. We at Beem are big fans of the latter. We believe in building an online community for our partner companies, that can then be leveraged to educate the workforce in a efficient and easy manner. Here is a quick guide from us on how to grow an online community for your company.
Find or Develop a Platform
The first step can be the easiest or hardest step, depending on the context. For example, if you are a local coffee shop that wants to bring in new business, it would be easy to create a coffee lovers page on Facebook targeted at locals in a 10-mile radius. Once you have got a small group of people exchanging ideas concerning coffee, you can then begin advertising to them through different channels to convince them to pay a visit to your coffee shop. However, lets take a look at the other side of the spectrum. You might not be a coffee shop owner but instead a C-level executive. You might be trying to determine how best to use tech to promote communication between 30,000+ employees. In this case, you can’t simply use another platform as this has many issues including data breaches, inefficiency, comlpexity and a lack of control. You don’t have the same freedoms as a small company. This is where an internal comms platform comes in. You need to be able to manage, track and leverage your communities’ online platform so that it caters to your specific business objectives, whilst also mitigating any potential data issues.
Post Content on the Platform
You have your internal comms platform. Now you need to provide content and usability features on the platform so that there is an incentive for employees to use it. This could be many things but we found that what works best for our clients are articles, blog posts, videos, polls, quizes and games. This is a great oppurtunity for employees to give feedback on working conditions, learn about new products and access vital workplace information. It is worth providing essential workplace knowledge such as benefit programmes, health and safety, workplace procedures, etc. However, in order to truly ensure usage, you need to provide a HR usability feature such as a work login portal or an interactive rota manager. This ensures that employees understand that this is their digital workspace. After that, they will naturally branch out into other areas of the app and begin interacting with the community you are building.
Encourage Users to Post Content
You have got your platform and you have an incentive to attract your users. You now need to encourage users to post their own content. This can be done in many ways. At Beem, we do this through a social channel where users are free to post anything related to their work day. This usually harbours comments, likes and responses from other employees, both local and around the world. We also work on digital projects where employees are incentivised to submit content. The most recent one we did included organising a digital talent show for a major automotive company. Engagement is the number one way to measure a platform’s success. Encourage engagement to build a community of people who are exchanging information regularly. Once you begin to see growth, keep repeating with the strategy that worked best for you. Keep doing this until you have a community that accurately reflects the size of your workforce.
Leverage Your Community
Well done. You´ve developed a platform, posted content, received content and scaled-up. It took a fair amount of time and effort, but you got there in the end. Now you can reap the rewards. You can now leverage, influence and mold your community over time as you see fit. Now would be a good time to provide different ways to educate and inform your employees so that they can see eye-to-eye with you. Make them understand why the company is making certain decisions, harbour trust and create brand ambassadors. The ball is in your court.
Can Beem help me with this?
Short answer… yes absolutely! We at Beem can take this tricky, laborious and fustrating task list off your hands and do it for you. We would begin by providing you with a white-label internal comms app designed specifically for you company. We would then provide you with server space to run the platform seamlessly. After that, we can implement a pilot-launch focused on a small number of employees. These employees would be used to test and refine a strategy that works. We then scale-up, using our knowledge accumulated through 6 years of working with clients such as Nissan and General Electric. After the scale-up phase, we leave it upto you to determine how to leverage your online community of employees. What works best for us currently is gamified experiences to educate the workforce.