One of the first things I do when visiting a site that I know has a community is to try and find it.
More often than not, it's hidden away in the footer links or buried in several sub-menus and labelled something relatively obscure like "Fans" or "Support".
This is a massive lost opportunity!
We all know that social proof is incredibly important when making a purchasing decision.
When I buy something on Amazon or book a holiday, the first thing I do is scour the reviews. Are the reviews mostly positive? What did other people think about the product after receiving it?
I might see two almost identical products and the reviews, not the price that'll always sway me.
It's that urge to herd to keep safe at play.
So why bury all that out of the way?
Your community should be full of fantastic social proof — hundreds of customers using your product and creating a buzz.
Is it a fear of criticism? We all have had bad experiences with clients who are less than rational with feedback, but that's OK.
The Harry Potter series of books are beloved by millions, made J.K Rowling a fortune, made a celebrated movie series and opened up several themed attractions which are always busy.
Yet, there are a significant number of 1-star reviews on Amazon.
Not everyone will get you or your business.
You always have the opportunity to reply and explain your side, and you are always in control with moderation tools.
Let's face it; if you are to handle negative feedback, it's better to manage it on your community than see it all over social media, Google reviews and review sites like TripAdvisor.
Maybe you're a little embarrassed because the community platform is old and doesn't match your branding.
If that's the case, then come and talk to us! We specialise in migrating communities from legacy platforms with poor mobile support. We offer brand matching services too.
Maybe it's just that you're unsure of what to do with your community.
I get that too. It can be hard to know how it fits in with your brand. I'm happy to help there also. Feel free to drop a comment below.
Our product has several ways to pull content from the community and feature it on your site.
We've helped big brands like LEGO®, Sega, Warner Bros. and more nurture a prosperous community that enhances their business.
The bottom line is that a well manage community should be central to your brand and website.
Edited by Matt