What are online communities?

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The question “What are online communities?” gets typed into Google 74,000 times per month – that’s a lot of people who are interested in online communities! To some, it might seem obvious what this phrase means while others want a bit more of an explanation. Here’s a quick overview of online communities: 

Why (and how) people connect online 

Have you ever wondered how Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become as successful as they are? It’s because many people have lifestyles where they want to connect with friends, family, colleagues and people of interest online. People no longer use their phones to make phone calls; today they post updates, share photos and information about their lives online. 

It is for precisely this reason that companies have started to build their own online communities. These communities can be targeted at their customers, employees, executive teams or sales people – the choice is endless. Brands are then able to share niche information, conduct research (by sending surveys) and engage in closed-group discussion forums in a safe environment where people feel comfortable voicing their opinion. 

One of the problems, however, is keeping these online communities closed to other people. Information that you would want to share with your staff and sales people, for example, might be very different to the information you would want to share with your customers. ConsultaPanel has the solution: 

Invest in a branded online community for your target audience 

ConsultaPanel is what’s known as an online research community, where anyone can sign up and take part in market research. Over the past few years, we have been creating branded online communities for a number of high-profile clients throughout South Africa and Africa. These clients use their branded panels to engage with clients, colleagues, customers and staff as they deem fit.

As a market research-oriented company, we are able to help with everything from research projects and research analysis to branded communication, feedback engagements and online forum moderation for your online community. Give us a call to find out how we can help you. 
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