By Shannon Abram, Relationship Manager at The Community Roundtable.
One of the most daunting tasks for a community manager is choosing a community platform. There are lots of options out there (full disclosure – here at TheCR we celebrate and support all community platform vendors. Remaining vendor agnostic allows us to focus on the supporting all community managers no matter what platform their community lives on.) for community managers to choose from. How do you decide what is the best community platform for your organization?
We can’t make that decision for you – but we do recommend starting with a requirements document, whether you are approaching choosing a community platform for the first time, or are looking to migrate from a current solutions. Defining and ranking features will help ensure that you are choosing the solution that best meets your needs.
The State of Community Management 2014 offer us more helpful advice on choosing the right community platform for your organization:
1. Find a platform that can adapt to members’ needs.
Communities hosted on platforms that can be easily changed to respond to the changing needs of the community have higher member engagement levels. A community will grow and evolve over time – planning ahead for that change (even if you don’t know what it will be) will save you time and headaches in the future.
2. Look for content management features that allow members to easily find the information they need.
Well-designed content management systems help members source their information needs, therefore more easily find value in the community. It makes sense that they are much more common in best-in-class communities.
3. Ensure the platform integrates with places the community interacts.
Communities hosted on platforms that are integrated with other places the community interacts have higher member engagement levels than those that do not. Externally this may mean integrating with social networks, and internally it may mean integration with email and business applications. Think about all the way you want your members to participate in the community, and think about all the ways they currently interact with data, information and each other – this will help you provide the integration points that will help your community thrive.
Have you recently made the move to a new community management platform? How did you make the decision? Where did you end up?
You can review more findings related to community management in the State of Community Management 2014. This post is part of a series highlighting some of the most thought-provoking data from the SOCM 2014 – brought to you via a fun poster – perfect for sharing on Twitter, hanging at your desk, or printing out and waving around your next community strategy meeting.
Want even more community facts? Check out the full SOCM 2014 here:
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