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06 August 2014

A Few Guidelines For Choosing Your Online Community Platform

Choosing the right community platform for your business or organization can be a tough process. If you wish to build and manage a successful online community then it is crucial for you to evaluate online community software as per your business needs and deeds. However, the challenge here is to discard the terrible platforms and select the best of a great bunch. Here are the few guidelines that might help you make informed decision about which online community platform is right for your organization.

Start with a strategy

Too often, organizations tend to skip the development requirements without trying to figure out what they actually want the community to do. Create a strategy for your organization and determine your organization’s online community software requirement and ensure your business objectives map back to your strategy. Allow your customers to connect and collaborate with your organization’s vision, in order to have a good online community presence.

Know the market

Once you know the market, what your business objectives are and people you are trying to reach, you should be able to list your requirements for your online community. Few organizations develop their bespoke and successful online community platform. But if you don’t possess the experience or knowledge to develop a successful platform from scratch, there are enough good platforms available in the market today that are capable of meeting your business needs. You don’t have to develop one, you have to just choose one.

Learn about smart features and functionality checklist

Have your requirements and checklist prioritized and have your vendor show you how their software addresses each of your requirements. This will not only help you in prioritizing but will also give you the ability to compare the features with other software vendors. When you are considering vendors ask them to show you how their software works and how the vendor’s platform will specifically address your needs. Learn about the features and functionality that comes with each system in detail. This will help you in selecting the right platform for your business mapped with key features and functionality.

Be aware of your organization’s skills and resources

The platform needs upgradation, maintenance, security and more. Does your organization have the time, knowledge and money to perform these actions? Setting up a platform is easy but managing the platform is a tough task. If you lack these resources, open source platforms aren’t a good option for you.

Be open to different types of platforms

Almost every organization ignores forums, linkedin groups, mailing lists etc. These are the most popular community platforms in the world. Now its time to put your vision for future and select and implement the right online community software that engages their members using their community both online and via email.

Seek help

You can seek professional help from various organizations that develop online community software and ask for a suitable quotation with features and functionality that you are looking for.

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