What is an online community?

Jon Allen April 4, 2022

Globally, the online communities market will reach $1.2 billion by 2019*. This impressive statistic alone displays the power of the online community in today’s digital landscape. In an environment full of interactive applications that allow us to connect with each other and share information, many different types of platforms can be seen as community-harboring and connectivity-influencing. But just what is an online community? What defines it?

From public social networks to private social intranets and community forums, they take many different forms and serve many varying purposes. Some serve as business-related, private communities, and some as open, informal interest-led networks.

Put simply, virtual communities are social experiences, they’re exactly the same as real-world communities, only digital versions.

Online communities as a business-driving tool

According to a University of Michigan study, customers spend 19% more after engaging with a company’s social community. This is a testament to the commercial benefits of online brand communities. In other words, they are not only social, living, breathing digital spaces, but they’re also business-driving tools.

When users, or customers, feel like they have a place to overtly ask questions, request support, and general knowledge share with like-minded individuals, it creates a safe space to test the waters on new purchases, as well as ask the right questions to other customers, rather than customer service teams. All-in-all it allows users of social communities to gain more balanced insights from a company, rather than having information closely guarded behind the high walls of a big brand. In short, online communities make big brands accessible to customers and facilitate two-way conversations.

Online communities as a content-building traffic drivers

Another benefit of digital communities is their ability to act as content-building traffic drivers. As a place where, over time, fresh user-generated content is continuously published, you can expect this to have a beneficial impact on your website in terms of having the ability to bring in extra traffic. After all, the product or service-driven questions your community is asking are likely to be similar to the search queries prospective customers are asking in search engines. This user-generated content then becomes indexed by search engines and, as a result, part of your website’s organic SEO strategy.

Online communities as a productivity enhancer

Not just simply a tool to benefit the community outside of your organization, online social communities can help bridge the gap between your employees and customer base, forming collaborative relationships that help to move your business forward. Having an environment in which users can share knowledge and ask questions means you have free access to that information. This can supplement market research and removes the need for guesswork, helping to increase your organization’s productivity internally.

Want to find out more about how Verint Community can benefit your organization? Speak to one of our experts today

Online communities have many different functions and purposes, and as a dynamic, immersive social environment, they can benefit your organization in a number of different ways.

Verint Community is a feature-rich, API-first, white label social community platform that provides tailored, immersive, interactive experiences. Utilizing Telligent can enhance productivity and drive your business forward. For more information on how Verint Community can benefit your business or organization, get in touch with us today.


*Statistic provided by advisory firm IDC.